November Copyright Cases Filed in Texas

by: Tamera H. Bennett and Stephanie PrinceDecember 10, 2007

Thanks again to Stephanie Prince for her research and preparation of summaries of copyright cases filed in Texas' Federal Courts in November.

Northern District

Opheim v. ICU Eyewear, Inc. et al. (3:2007cv01836) Charles M. Opheim, designer and creator of the “Optic Designs,” collection of eyeglass frame-designs, filed suit on November 2, 2007 against ICU Eyewear Inc., a California corporation, ICU Eyewear Inc.’s shareholders and Whole Foods Markets, Inc., a Texas corporation.

Opheim pled ICU Eyewear, Inc. infringed on his “Optic Designs” copyright by manufacturing and placing on the market unauthorized copies of the “Optic Designs” eyeglass frames. Opheim further pled that Whole Foods Markets, Inc. infringed on the “Optic Designs” copyright by selling and distributing unauthorized copies of the eyeglass frames. Opheim is seeking injunctive relief, damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.

Architettura, Inc. v. DBSI Cumberland at Granbury LP and Hulen Granbury Partners, LTD. (3:2007cv01849) Architettura, Inc., a Texas corporation, filed suit on November 6, 2007 against DBSI Cumberland at Granbury, a Texas limited partnership and Hulen Granbury Partners, also a Texas limited partnership for copyright infringement of Architettura, Inc.’s copyrighted works.

The works at issue are architectural drawings created by Architettura, Inc. in 2005 and 2006 for the Cumberland at Granbury Project in Granbury, Texas. Architettura, Inc. pled that Defendants violated their exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies and their right to distribute copies of the copyrighted works to the public by sale or lending. Specifically, Architettura, Inc. pleads that Defendants’ license to use the copyrighted drawings was conditioned upon payment that was never made. Defendants’ preparation of updated site plans based on the copyrighted drawings and distribution of copies of the drawings to the City of Fort Worth, a financial institution and a construction company was therefore unauthorized. Architettura, Inc. seeks injunctive relief, damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.

Streat v. Jackson et al. (3:2007cv01882) Read Summary Here.

Southern District

Broadcast Music, Inc. et al. v. Bay City Michael’s Club et al. (3:2007cv00531) Broadcast Music, Inc. (“BMI”) and other Plaintiffs (including Sony and Universal) filed suit on November 6, 2007 against Bay City Michael’s Club, a Texas corporation which operates, maintains and controls Michael’s Billiards Café & Sports Bar and Dance Hall, located in Bay City, Texas.

The Plaintiffs pled that in connection with the operation of the bar and dance hall, Bay City Michael’s Club publicly performs music and/or causes music to be publicly performed. Specifically, the Plaintiffs pled 11 claims of willful copyright infringement, based upon the unauthorized public performance of musical compositions from the BMI Repertoire, including: Lips Of An Angel, Boot Scootin’ Boogie, Neon Moon, Brown Eyed Girl, Simple Man, Hard to Handle, Barlight, It Just Comes Natural, That Rock Won’t Roll, How I Got To Memphis and Take Me Out To A Dancehall. The Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief, damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.

LaFace Records, LLC et al. v. Doe (4:2007cv04029) LaFace Records LLC, UMG Recordings, Warner Bros. Records Inc., Arista Records LLC and Capital Records, Inc filed suit on November 28, 2007 against John Doe. The complaint alleges that John Doe downloaded and distributed Plaintiffs’ copyrighted music files over the internet in violation of Plaintiff’s exclusive rights.

The music files in question include songs from artists such as TLC, Bloodhound Gang, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Vanilla Ice, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Styx and Steve Miller Band. Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief, damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.

Western District

Texas Lottery Commission v. The Lotter, Ltd. (1:2007cv00948) Texas Lottery Commission, a Texas state agency filed suit against The Lotter, Ltd, a limited liability company located in London, England on November 13, 2007 for: trademark infringement; false designation of origin of goods or services and false description and representation; dilution; copyright infringement; and common law trademark infringement, misappropriation, unfair competition and product emulation.

The Lotter, Ltd. provides lottery related services and tickets for customers to a variety of lotteries operating worldwide, including the Texas Lottery Commission, from its website at The Lotter, Ltd.’s website displays Texas Lottery Commission trademarks and copyrighted logos in order to provide services and tickets related to the Texas Lottery Commission.

Texas Lottery Commission pleads that The Lotter, Ltd. has no affiliation or relationship with Texas Lottery Commission, is not an authorized vendor or retailer of lottery related services in the State of Texas and has no right otherwise to use the Texas Lottery Commission Works. Texas Lottery Commission further pleads that because The Lotter, Ltd.’s website is accessible within the State of Texas and impermissibly suggests an affiliation with Texas Lottery Commission and the State of Texas, The Lotter, Ltd. is impeding the duties of Texas Lottery Commission as a state agency, as well as violating Plaintiff’s trademark rights and copyrights. Texas Lottery Commission seeks injunctive relief, damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.