Articles Posted in Copyright Infringement

Prince William County, Viriginia – Plaintiff Morgan Howarth has filed suit against Fishers, Indiana Defendant, My Sauna World LLC.  Morgan Howarth, a professional photographer, accuses Sauna World LLC of infringement under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §101 et seq. for allegedly using his copyrighted photographs without permission or authorization.

The photograph in question is a master bathroom image that Howarth claims he created and registered with the United States Copyright Office in 2011. Despite his purported ownership and licensing rights, Howarth argues that My Sauna World LLC prominently featured the photograph on its own website as part of an online product listing, thereby infringing on Howarth’s copyright.Screenshot-2024-05-31-091009

Central to the case is the question of whether My Sauna World LLC’s actions constitute willful copyright infringement. Howarth argues that the defendant knowingly and intentionally violated his copyright by continuing to reproduce and display the photograph even after they were notified of the alleged infringement.

Plaintiff, G & G Closed Circuit Events, LLC, a California-based company, has filed a lawsuit against Defendant, Pilot Pursuit LLP, along with Lynn A. Pittman, identified as its General Partner,Picture-300x169 operating the Recovery Room Lounge in Indianapolis, Indiana. The lawsuit centers on allegations of unauthorized interception, receipt, and broadcast of a televised sporting event known as the Gervonta Davis v. Ryan Garcia Championship Fight Program, which G & G Closed Circuit events, LLC holds exclusive nationwide commercial distribution rights to.

The suit alleges that Lynn A. Pittman, with her roles within Pilot Pursuit LLP and Recovery Room Lounge, had the authority and responsibility to supervise the establishment’s activities, including ensuring lawful operations. Despite this, the Plaintiff claims that Pittman either directed or permitted the interception and broadcast of the Program, leading to increased profits for the Lounge.

The defendants are accused of violating both Title 47 U.S.C. Section 605 and Title 47 U.S.C. Section 553, which prohibit the unauthorized interception, receipt, and publication of communications, including television broadcasts. These statutes aim to protect the exclusive rights of content distributors and prevent unauthorized commercial use.

Screenshot-2024-04-25-131414-300x170A legal dispute has arisen between Plaintiff August Image, LLC, a New York-based company representing over 100 contemporary photographers globally, and Indy Founders LLC, operating as Powderkeg, an Indiana-based digital community serving startups and professionals. The lawsuit alleges copyright infringement regarding a professional photograph taken by renowned photographer Peter Yang.

August Image, LLC, headquartered in New York City, specializes in representing creative photographers worldwide. Its collection encompasses various genres which are available for licensing, and the company is known for its commitment to customer satisfaction and meticulous acquisition of image rights.

Powderkeg, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, supports startups and professionals across the United States through its digital community. It provides resources and networking opportunities for over 10,000 active members nationwide.

Lafayette, Indiana – Plaintiff Aaron Rigsby, a professional videographer, has brought suit against Defendant John W. Darnell, Inc. d/b/a All Seasons Roofing for alleged copyright infringement under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C §101 et seq.

Screenshot-2024-03-25-090741-1024x453According to the complaint, Aaron Rigsby recorded and produced a video capturing the aftermath of a tornado in Sullivan, Indiana. Rigsby then secured copyright registrations for his work, establishing his exclusive rights to its use and distribution.

Rigsby now alleges that All Seasons Roofing, operating under the account “@All Seasons Roofing and Restoration” on Facebook, unlawfully copied and displayed his video on their platform without obtaining the necessary permissions or licenses. This unauthorized use, as Rigsby contends, constitutes a violation of his exclusive rights as a copyright holder under 17 U.S.C. §106.

Indianapolis, Indiana – Defendant Circle City Broadcasting, LLC d/b/a WISH-TV, is being sued by Plaintiff Christopher Sadowski over alleged copyright infringement.  Sadowski is a photojournalist from New Jersey, who has been published in numerous popular newspapers and magazines. While he holds the licenses to his photographs, court documents explain that Sadowski allows entities to purchase a one-time-use license for themselves.

PhotoForBlog-300x206According to the complaint, in 2019, Sadowski created and copyrighted a photograph titled “062219garbagetruck4CS,” depicting the bustling streets of New York City.  In 2021, Circle City Broadcasting purportedly published Sadowski’s work on their website, without obtaining the necessary licensing. It is alleged that not only did they display the image without consent, but they also cropped out Sadowski’s copyright management information, potentially infringing upon his rights.

Despite Sadowski’s supposed attempts to resolve the matter amicably, Circle City Broadcasting purportedly failed to address the issue satisfactorily. Consequently, Sadowski pursued legal action to address the alleged willful infringement.

Picture1On January 12, 2024, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in the matter of UIRC-GSA Holdings v. William Blair, upheld a district court’s ruling to award summary judgment and attorneys’ fees in favor of Blair. The issue revolved around copyright infringement claims brought by UIRC-GSA Holdings against William Blair, a financial services company. UIRC-GSA Holdings (hereafter referred to as UIRC) alleged that Blair copied certain documents used in bond offerings, which UIRC claimed copyright protection over. Blair prevailed at summary judgment, and the district court awarded attorneys’ fees under the Copyright Act.  UIRC appealed, arguing that the district court erred in ruling that UIRC lacked the requisite originality for valid copyrights in the documents and in awarding fees to Blair.

The case involved UIRC, a company managing properties leased to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), seeking capital by pooling GSA properties and offering bonds. UIRC produced key documents for this process, including a private placement memorandum (PPM) and an indenture of trust, largely adapted from documents by the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, with the addition of some new language. The legal issue concerned the originality and copyrightability of UIRC’s documents, as copyright law requires works to be independently created with some degree of creativity to qualify for protection.

The district court ruled in favor of Blair, finding that UIRC’s documents lacked the necessary originality for copyright protection. The court noted that UIRC had extensively copied language from documents prepared by the Idaho Housing and Finance Association. Additionally, the court found that the new text added by UIRC consisted primarily of facts, fragmented phrases, or language dictated by functional considerations, which are not eligible for copyright protection.

China – Plaintiff Guangzhou Shima Decoration Materials Co., Ltd. (Shima), a Chinese corporation specializing in home improvement items and building materials, has brought legal action against Shenzhen Ruimingxiang Technology Co., Ltd. (SRT) for alleged copyright infringement.

Shima, led by President Wentong Liu, claims it has carved a niche in designing and selling distinctive products. It goes onto explain that in 2004, Liu created a graphic work known as the “Diamond Tile,” a unique square or rectangular tile featuring a three-dimensional design composed of various diamond-like elements, which he had copyrighted with the United States Copyright Office in 2017.

According to the complaint, Shima is accusing SRT, another Chinese corporation (who happens to do business in Indiana), of importing, distributing, and/or selling copies of Liu’s “Diamond Tile” work on Shima alleges that SRT’s actions amount to willful infringement, resulting in substantial financial losses.

In a recent legal action, photographer Ivan Radic has filed suit against AllCity Adjusting LLC and Zor Development LLC for allegedly infringing upon his intellectual property rights. According to Radic, he is a seasoned professional photographer known for his diverse portfolio and creative styles.  He has accused the defendants of unauthorized use and distribution of his copyrighted work.

The complaint explains that the heart of the matter lies in Radic’s creation, a photograph titled “Plaster falling off the ceiling,” crafted in 2020 and officially registered under copyright law in 2021. Radic claims this work, publicly displayed on his Flickr page, was accompanied by explicit copyright management information and a denial of usage rights to the public.

Court documents state that Defendant AllCity Adjusting LLC, is a family-owned claims company aiding property owners in insurance claims and disaster relief.  Radic has accused AllCity and Zor Development LLC, the registrant of AllCity’s website, of copying and showcasing his work on their website’s blog section without Radic’s consent. Moreover, the defendants allegedly removed Radic’s copyright management information, in what he claims is a clear violation of his rights under the Copyright Act.

In the contempoSpaceJam-209x300rary digital landscape, the protection of intellectual property, especially in the realm of creative works, has become a paramount concern. Copyright infringement, the unauthorized use or reproduction of copyrighted material, continues to pose significant challenges for creators and rights holders. A recent case involving Plaintiff Watson Music Group, LLC. d/b/a Quadrasound Music and Defendant Borshoff, Inc. sheds light on the complexities and legalities surrounding copyright infringement in the digital sphere.

Plaintiff Watson Music Group, a Florida-based limited liability company, alleges that Defendant Borshoff, Inc., an Indiana corporation, infringed upon its copyrighted musical work titled “Space Jam.” The alleged infringement occurred on Defendant’s social media account ‘@borshofftalks’ hosted on Facebook.

The complaint describes an unauthorized posting of a discernable excerpt of the Plaintiff’s copyrighted musical work on the Defendant’s Facebook account. The Plaintiff asserts that the Defendant, without obtaining proper permission or authorization, reproduced, stored, and made available the copyrighted material for public performance via a digital audio transmission, thereby violating the Plaintiff’s exclusive rights as a copyright holder.

Photo-300x179Plaintiff Shoichi Matsumoto has sued Defendant Pho Real LLC, alleging copyright infringement of Matsumoto’s original work, a photograph titled “Yakisoba-4”. Matsumoto, a private chef, TV host, and photographer, claims that Pho Real used his copyrighted work without permission on their website and on a food ordering platform, Grubhub Inc., to promote its restaurant business. Matsumoto asserts that he owns the copyright to the image and had not licensed or authorized Pho Real to use it.

The complaint specifies that Matsumoto registered the work with the Copyright Office and that Pho Real’s actions of copying, displaying, and distributing the photograph were unauthorized and willful. Matsumoto alleges that he suffered irreparable harm due to Pho Real’s actions and seeks damages, including Pho Real’s profits from the infringement or statutory damages, along with legal fees and costs. Additionally, Matsumoto requests a preliminary and permanent injunction to prevent Pho Real from further infringing on his copyright.

The case has been assigned to Judge Sarah Evans Barker and Magistrate Judge Kellie M. Barr, in the U.S. District Court of Southern Indiana, and assigned Case No. 1:23-cv-02059-SEB-KMB.

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