Articles Posted in Copyright Infringement

Indianapolis, IN – Richard Bell of McCordsville, Indiana filed three separate copyright infringement suits against Subud Greater Seattle (“Subud”), Eli Lilly and Company (“Lilly”), and Quickbook Modeling Agency (“Quickbook”). Bell claims each of the Defendants infringed  his photograph, the “Indianapolis Nighttime Photo”, Registration No. VA0001785115, registered with the U.S. Copyright Office on August 4, 2008. All three suits were filed in the Southern District of Indiana and are seeking actual and/or statutory damages, costs, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and any other relief the court deems proper.

All three complaints state that Bell took his photograph of the Indianapolis skyline in March 2000. He claims his photograph was first published on his Web shots account on August 29, 2000. Bell also maintains that his photograph has been used in advertisements to the point that it is identifiable by the public as being his work. After registering his photograph with the U.S. Copyright Office, Bell has filed many lawsuits for infringement of the Indianapolis Nighttime Photo.

Bell further alleges that Defendant Subud conducts business in Indianapolis, Indiana and published hisSudbud-300x50 photograph on its website to attract customers and promote a convention taking place in Indianapolis. His Complaint asserts that while Bell discovered Subud’s use of his photograph on April 6, 2018 using Google images, Subud actually published the photograph in 2016. He claims not only did Subud not disclose the source of the Indianapolis Nighttime Photo, it willfully, recklessly, and falsely claimed to own the copyrights of every image and photograph on its website.

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Indianapolis, IN – Richard Bell of McCordsville, IN filed three separate copyright infringement suits in the Southern District of Indiana against GSE Audio Visual (“GSE”), Christy Joy Caley (“Caley”), Maryco Cleaning Service, Inc. (“Maryco”), and National Swimming Pool Foundation (“National Swimming”), alleging that each infringed Copyright Number VA0001785115. The copyrighted work, “Indianapolis Nighttime Photo,” was registered by the U.S. Copyright Office on August 4, 2011. Bell is seeking permanent injunctions, both actual and statutory damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees against Defendants in all three actions.

Plaintiff is both a photographer and attorney who is well known for filing copyright infringement lawsuits on his own behalf. GSE is alleged to have utilized the Indianapolis Nighttime Photo on its website to promote and advertise its business within Indianapolis. Bell claims to have discovered this unauthorized use on April 5, 2018.

In the Complaint filed against Maryco, Bell states it authorized Caley to create a website to promote its business. Bell further claims that Caley downloaded the “Indianapolis Nighttime Photo” and posted it on Maryco’s website without his permission. Bell discovered the use of the photo through a Google image search in December 2018, however, he asserts that unauthorized use began in 2013.

HalloweenBlogPhoto-300x180Fort Wayne, IN – Jeff Bachner of Brooklyn, New York, by counsel, filed a lawsuit alleging USA Halloween Planet, Inc. of Indianapolis, Indiana infringed U.S. Copyright Registration No. VA 2-110-419 (the “Copyrighted Work”). The Copyrighted Work is entitled “01.01.13, New Years Eve, Bachner.jpg” and was registered by the U.S. Copyright Office July 12, 2018. Plaintiff is seeking damages including punitive damages, costs, expenses, and attorneys’ fees.

Bachner licensed his Copyrighted Work to the New York Daily News on or about January 1, 2013 for their article titled Taylor Swift, Psy, Mayor Bloomberg help New Yorkers ring in 2013. Plaintiff was given proper credit for his Copyrighted Work appearing in the article. Defendant ran an article on their website titled Goodbye 2012 . . . Hello 2013, that utilized the Copyrighted Work without a license, permission, or consent to publish it from Bachner. Plaintiff is claiming copyright infringement and alteration or removal of identifying copyright management information. Continue reading

Washington D.C.- Attorneys for Oracle USA, Inc. and Oracle International Corporation (collectively “Oracle”) of Colorado and California, respectively, filed suit in the District Court of Nevada alleging that Rimini Street, Inc. and Seth Ravin, both of Nevada, infringed the copyrights for Oracle Software and Technology, which have been registered by the U.S. Copyright Office. A jury awarded damages to Oracle upon finding that Rimini had indeed infringed Oracle’s copyrights. The District Court awarded Oracle additional fees and costs, which included $12.8 million dollars for litigation expenses including costs for expert witnesses, e-discovery, and jury consulting. After the award of additional fees and costs was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the U.S. Supreme Court held the additional costs were not appropriate under the Copyright Act.us-supreme-court-building-2-300x200

The Ninth Circuit recognized that in granting the additional damages, they were covering expenses not included in the six categories of costs that the federal statutes, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1821 and 1920 authorize. However, they affirmed the District Court’s award based on the Copyright Act giving district courts discretion to award “full costs” under 17 U.S.C. § 505. The Supreme Court held that while the “term ‘full’ is a term of quantity or amount; it does not expand the categories or kinds of expenses that may be awarded as ‘costs’ under the general costs statute.” Therefore, Oracle was not entitled to the additional $12.8 million dollar award for litigation expenses outside of the six statutory categories.

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Washington D.C.–  The United States Supreme Court has ruled to affirm the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit’sSCOTUS-BlogPhoto decision against the Petitioner, Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. (“Fourth Estate”) of Delaware. The Petitioner originally filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida, alleging that Wall-Street.com, LLC (“Wall-Street”) of Florida, infringed over 200 articles pending copyright registration.

Fourth Estate filed suit after Wall-Street failed to remove Fourth Street’s licensed works from its news website after Wall-Street canceled the Parties’ licensing agreement. Petitioner had filed to register its articles with the Copyright Office, but the articles had not been registered at the time the action commenced. Pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 411(a), the District Court dismissed the complaint and the Eleventh Circuit affirmed holding there is no right to civil action for infringement of a copyright in the United States until registration has occurred, and merely filing an application for registration does not meet the registration burden under the statute. While the Register of Copyrights did refuse registration of the articles at issue in this case after the Eleventh Circuit Decision, that was not a factor in this decision.

An author gains rights including the right to reproduce, distribute, and display their work immediately upon the creation of the work pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 106. However, generally before filing an infringement claim in court, the claimant must comply with the registration requirements of § 411(a). The exceptions to that rule are for those works that are vulnerable to predistribution infringement, typically movies or musical compositions, which are not found here. In this case, the Court had to decide if registration has been made pursuant to § 411(a) when the application, materials, and fee were submitted, or when the registration was granted by the Copyright Office. The Supreme Court in affirming the Eleventh Circuit’s Decision held that “registration has been made” under § 411(a) when the registration is granted by the Register of Copyrights after examination of a properly filed application.

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Embassy-BlogPhotoIndianapolis, Indiana – Plaintiff and Attorney, Richard N. Bell of McCordsville, Indiana filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Embassy Suites Management LLC (“Embassy”) infringed his rights to the “Indianapolis Nighttime Photo” registered on August 4, 2011 with the US Copyright Office, Registration No. VA0001785115. Plaintiff is seeking actual and statutory damages, costs, reasonable attorney’s fees, and other relief deemed just and proper.

Bell, an attorney and professional photographer, has filed many copyright infringement cases to enforce his intellectual property rights. The photograph of the Indianapolis skyline in this case was taken in March 2000 and first published on the internet on August 29, 2000. Plaintiff is and has been the sole owner of the copyright and has published and licensed for publication the photograph in compliance with copyright laws.

Embassy used the Indianapolis Nighttime Photo on its website it created to advertise its Indianapolis business. Bell claims Embassy took the photograph from the internet without his permission. As it did not disclose the source of the photograph, Plaintiff claims Defendant willfully and falsely claimed that it owned the copyrights of all images on its website. Bell is seeking judgment declaring Defendant infringed his rights under the common law and the Federal Copyright Act.

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South Bend, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Design Basics, LLC, Inc. of Omaha, Nebraska filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant Chrisandy,Sierra-BlogPhoto Inc d/b/a Sierra Homes and Sierra Home Builders, of Porter County, Indiana infringed on its copyrighted Architectural Works. Plaintiff is seeking actual damages, direct and indirect profits, statutory damages, temporary and permanent injunctions, attorneys’ fees, and costs.

A home design company, Design Basics creates, markets, publishes, and licenses single-use home floor plans. Each plan takes between fifty-five and ninety hours to design and draft the necessary construction drawings. Design Basics claims they have fallen victim to mass piracy after making their plans widely available on their own website and on other plan broker websites, and because of that, they have filed many lawsuits in Indiana to protect their intellectual property.

In December 2015, Design Basics discovered multiple houses constructed by Defendant that appeared to be copied from the five floor plans at issue in this case. Those copyrighted plans include Paterson, Bayley, Lancaster, Hancock Ridge, and Hartley (the “Copyrighted Works”). Design Basics currently owns the Copyrighted Works and was the sole owner of all right, title, and interest in the Copyrighted Works at all relevant times. Plaintiff alleges Defendant violated 17 U.S.C. § 1202 by removing Design Basics’ copyright management information. They further allege copyright infringement pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 106.

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South Bend, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Design Basics, LLC, Inc. of Omaha, Blum-BlogPhoto-300x104Nebraska filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Blum Construction, Inc., of Valparaiso, Indiana infringed its copyrighted Architectural Works. Plaintiff is seeking, actual damages, direct and indirect profits, statutory damages, temporary and permanent injunctions, attorneys’ fees, and costs.

The Plaintiff has been involved in designing, marketing, and licensing architectural works for over twenty years. Design Basics’ licenses include more than just simple floor plans as they are complete sets of construction drawings that the builder and/or crew working on the home can modify to meet customer’s needs. For the two copyrighted plans at issue in this case, Design Basics has earned more than $21,049.00 in the past ten years.

In recent years, Design Basics has filed a large number of lawsuits claiming copyright infringement for its home designs in Indiana. While researching for one of these cases, the Director of Business Development for Design Basics discovered a home in Valparaiso that looked to have been copied from one of Design Basics’ plans. The Plaintiff claims that Defendant’s plans entitled “The Executive,” “The Executive 2,” and “The Annie” infringe on its U.S. Copyright Registration Nos. VA 467-639 and VA 542-680 (the “Copyrighted Works”). Design Basics is seeking damages for removal of copyright management information and copyright infringement pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 1202 and 17 U.S.C. § 106, respectively.

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Lafayette, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Design Basics, LLC, Inc. of Omaha, Nebraska filed suit in theTempest-BlogPhoto Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Tempest Homes, LLC, of Lafayette, Indiana infringed on its copyrighted Architectural Works. Plaintiff is seeking judgment, actual damages, statutory damages, temporary and permanent injunctions, attorneys’ fees, and costs.

Design Basics offers single-build licenses for their home designs, which include the architectural work and technical drawings. In the last three years, it has sold and issued more than 2,500 licenses for home plans. The copyright at issue in this case is for the Carriage Hills Plan, Registration No. VA 726-342 (the “Copyrighted Work”). For the licensing of the Copyrighted Work, Design Basics has earned more than $2,395.00 of its Six Million Dollars in total revenue since 2009. Plaintiff currently has many pending cases in Indiana against various companies it believes have infringed their copyrighted floor plans.

The alleged infringement in this case was discovered in December 2015 by Design Basics as one of its representatives was searching public building records in the Lafayette, Indiana area. After discovering the similar floor plan, the representative viewed Tempest Homes’ website and found a floor plan, the McAllister, that looked to have been copied from the Copyrighted Work. Plaintiff claims Defendant has designed or sold homes using the infringing floor plan at least thirteen separate times. Design Basics is seeking judgment and damages for copyright infringement and the removal or omission of its copyright management information pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 106 and 17 U.S.C. § 1202, respectively.

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BlueRibbon-BlogPhotoSouth Bend, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Design Basics, LLC, Inc. of Omaha, Nebraska filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Blue Ribbon Builders, Inc., of South Bend, Indiana infringed on its copyrights of Architectural Works. Plaintiff is seeking judgment, actual damages, statutory damages, temporary and permanent injunctions, attorneys’ fees, and costs.

Design Basics is a company that creates technical drawings and architectural works for home designs. After creation, it markets and licenses the use of these works for $700 to $6,000 each. While the Plaintiff has spent more than $410,000 on capital improvements, including building two websites, in the past ten years, they have seen a decrease in licensing revenue. Design Basics alleges that this decrease in licensing revenue is due to massive piracy of its copyrighted home designs by multiple builders, including Defendant in this case and defendants in many other cases in Indiana.

While researching infringing homes related to another lawsuit, Design Basics discovered Blue Ribbon Builders had constructed several homes that appeared to be copied from Design Basics’ copyrighted designs. These copyrighted designs included Pine Ridge, Mayberry, Lancaster, Stevens Woods, and Linden (the “Copyrighted Works”). Plaintiff has at all relevant times been the owner of the Copyrighted Works and never licensed nor gave permission to Defendant to utilize them. Design Basics claims Defendant had actual knowledge of the Copyrighted Works as they were mailed plan catalogs and had reasonable access to the Copyrighted Works online.

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