Fort Wayne; IN – Copyright attorneys for Aaron Suozzi of Fort Wayne, Indiana filed a copyright infringement suit in the Allen County Superior Court alleging Coman Publishing of Durham, North Carolina infringed the copyrighted work of photographs which has been registered by the US Copyright Office. Upon the request of the defendant, the case was removed to the Northern District of Indiana.
Aaron Suozzi is a freelance photographer who provided his services to Coman Publishing. On December 8, 2011, Suozzi was informed that his services would no longer be used by Coman. He immediately demanded his photographs back and that Coman cease using his copyrighted photographs. Coman continued to use Suozzi’s copyrighted photographs; the January issue of Blue and Gold Illustrated, published on December 13, 2011 contained 16 of Suozzi’s copyrighted photographs, one being the magazine’s cover photo. According to the complaint, on December 15, Coman again informed Suozzi that they would no longer be using his services. Suozzi sent a cease and desist letter to Coman to stop using any of Suozzi’s copyrighted photographs in their magazine and on their website. Coman failed to do so. The complaint alleges Coman’s continued use of the copyrighted photographs violates Indiana Code §35-43-5-3 and that Coman’s knowing misapplication of Suozzi’s property involved substantial risk of loss to Suozzi. Suozzi seeks to recover $6,000, which includes his damages and attorney fees, plus interest, and court costs.
Practice Tip: Any case filed in state court that makes a federal claim can be removed to federal court upon request. Most intellectual property cases involve a federal claim under the federal patent, trademark or copyright laws. Here, however, the plaintiff has not explicitly stated a federal claim. However, it is clear he seeks protection of “copyrighted” photographs, which would invoke federal copyright law.