Indiana Copyright Litigation: Bell Sues Another Non-existent Limousine Company for Copyright Infringement

Indianapolis, Indiana – Plaintiff and Attorney, Richard N. Bell of McCordsville, Indiana, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Classic Touch Limousine Service, Inc. (“Classic”), infringed his rights to the “Indianapolis Photo” registered on August 4, 2011 with the U.S. Copyright Office, Registration No. VA0001785115. Plaintiff is seeking a declaratory judgment, permanent injunction, actual and statutory damages, reasonable attorney’s fees, costs, and all other proper relief.

Since March 2000, when Bell took the Indianapolis Photo, he has published and licensed the photograph for publication. Bell first published the Indianapolis Photo on a website on August 29, 2000 and has utilized the photograph to advertise his photography business. Plaintiff has notoriously filed many Complaints regarding copyright infringement for the Indianapolis Photo ever since.ClassicLogo-300x85

Plaintiff asserts Defendant created a website to advertise their business in Indianapolis and published the Indianapolis Photo on that website. Bell discovered the published photograph on April 6, 2018, which did not disclose the source of the photograph. According to the Complaint, Classic has refused to pay for its unauthorized use of the photograph and has not agreed to be enjoined from using the photograph.

As a result of Classic’s use of the Indianapolis Photo, Bell claims Classic is liable for copyright infringement. Further, Bell asserts Classic is vicariously liable for each copy of the photograph downloaded by a third-party user and any profit from those third-party downloads. Plaintiff also claims that Classic has benefited from its infringing use of the Indianapolis Photo and all profits and benefits belong to Bell pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §§ 504 and 505 and 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a).

The Bell Complaint alleges: “Defendant CLASSIC TOUCH LIMOUSINE SERVICE INC. (“CLASSIC”) has conducted and does conduct business in this district.” However, the Indiana Secretary of State’s office shows that the corporation CLASSIC TOUCH LIMOUSINE SERVICE INC. was “administratively dissolved” in 2018. This is at least the second time that Mr. Bell has sued a limousine company that as turned out not to exist. In 2016, he sued “A1 Luxury Limousine of South Florida, Inc” and ultimately obtained a default judgment for $150,000. However, that company had also been dissolved, making the prospects for collecting on that judgment remote. These Complaints serve as a reminder that, before filing suit, a Plaintiff should check to make sure the proposed defendant really exists.

The case was assigned to District Judge James Patrick Hanlon and Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker in the Southern District and assigned Case 1:19-cv-00803-JPH-TAB.


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