Richard N. Bell of McCordsville, Indiana, had filed a Copyright infringement lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Jay L. Hess, an individual, of Bloomington, Indiana, infringed the “Indianapolis Photo” taken by Plaintiff.
Bell has become well-known for constantly filing copyright infringement claims regarding a photo of the Indianapolis skyline that he took in 2000. See the following:
- Indianapolis Real Estate Agent Sued for Infringing Copyright of Photo
- Limousine Service Sued for Copyright Infringement
- Bell Sues Shuttered Auto Repair Shop for Infringing Copyrighted Photo
- Copyright Attorney Shifts to Alleging Infringement of Different Photo
- Attorney/Plaintiff Accuses Wisconsin Analytics Firm of Copyright Infringement
- Bell Names Aramark in Latest Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
- Attorney/Photographer Sues North Carolina Hotel Operator
- Attorney/Plaintiff Bell Files Three New Lawsuits Over Photo of Indianapolis Skyline
- Eight New Infringement Lawsuits Filed by Attorney/Plaintiff
- Attorney/Photographer Files Two New Infringement Lawsuits
- Lawsuit by Frequent Copyright Litigant Dismissed for Lack of Jurisdiction
- District Court Terminates Copyright Suit Over Photo; Plaintiff Appeals
- Remaining Copyright Defendants in Bell Lawsuit to be Dismissed
- Attorney/Photographer Sues Georgia Real Estate Company for Infringing Copyrighted Photo
- Sovereign Immunity May Take a Toll on Bell’s Latest Copyright Lawsuit
- Appellate Court Dismisses Copyright Appeal as Premature
- Bell Rings in the Holiday Weekend with a New Copyright Lawsuit
- Bell Files New Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
- Bell Sues Georgia-Based FindTicketsFast.com for Copyright Infringement
- Richard Bell Files Two New Copyright Infringement Lawsuits
- Court Prevents Copyright Plaintiff Bell from Outmaneuvering Legal System; Orders Bell to Pay Almost $34,000 in Fees and Costs
- Three Default Judgments of $2,500 Ordered for Copyright Infringement
- Court Orders Severance of Misjoined Copyright Infringement Complaint
- Richard Bell Files Another Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
In the current case, Bell initially sued Indiana University, but amended his complaint to sue Hess individually. Bell alleged that the Defendant, who is the Dean of the Indiana University Medical School, permitted “employees under his control of the I.U. Medical School to publish the ‘Indianapolis Photo’ in advertising which appears on a website owned by Indiana University even though the Defendant Hess individually knew he had no rights or authority to publish the Indianapolis Photo.”
In response, the Defendant claimed that, despite Bell’s statements, he was being sued in his official capacity as the dean of the medical school and thus, was entitled to Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity. Bell tried to argue that the Defendant was exempt from sovereign immunity because there was still an ongoing violation of federal law. However, the court found that there was no ongoing violation because the allegedly infringing photos had been taken down and were only available for viewing through web.archive.org, which Defendant did not control.
The court also agreed with the Defendant’s argument that he was being sued in his official capacity, despite Bell’s claims to the contrary. Thus, the Defendant was entitled to sovereign immunity, and the court granted his Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.
This case was assigned to District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt and Magistrate Judge Doris L. Pryor, and assigned Case No. 1:16-cv-02463-TWP-DLP.