December 07 Copyright Cases: Texas

By Tamera H. Bennett and Stephanie PrinceJanuary 14, 2007

Filings for the last month of the year were a little crazy in the copyright arena. The filings are organized by Federal District.

Eastern District

Butler v. Elsevier et al (4:2007cv00557) Plaintiffs filed suit on December 13, 2007 against Elsevier, Inc. and others alleging Defendants violated Plaintiffs’ exclusive rights in several horse hoof drawings by publishing unauthorized copies of the drawings in the Defendants’ book entitled Equine Podiatry. Plaintiffs further complain Defendants’ attempt to obtain permission in a letter sent after the publishing of Equine Podiatry and the unauthorized copies of the drawings was too late.

Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief, the impounding and confiscation of all copies of Equine Podiatry, damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees.

Corbello v. DeVito (1:2007cv00985) Read summary here.

The film companies are busy filing for copyright infringement for unauthorized copying and distribution of motion pictures over the Internet in the Eastern District. Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. et al v. Musacchio (4:2007cv00542) Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. v. Shedrick (1:2007cv00945) Screen Gems, Inc. v. Dews (1:2007cv00946) Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. et al v. Braggs (1:2007cv00947)

Northern District EsNtion Records, Inc. v. JonesTM, Inc. et al (3:2007cv02027) Read summary here.

A1 Surveillance Systems, LLC v. Remarkable Surveillance Systems, Inc. (3:2007cv02037) A1 Surveillance Systems filed suit on December 6, 2007 against Remarkable Surveillance Systems. The complaint alleges Defendant used Plaintiff’s layout, site structure, programming, text descriptions for products and text descriptions for categories of products on its website. A1 seeks injunctive relief, damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees.

KB Home v. Antares Homes, LTD (4:2007cv00761) KB Home filed suit on December 7, 2007 against Antares Homes, LTD, Antares Homes, LLC, Antares GP, LLC, and Ronald F. Formby. The complaint alleges Formby, in his capacity as Plaintiff’s Vice President of Sales, and through later visits to KB Home’s properties in his capacity as an officer of Defendant, had the opportunity to willfully copy and did willfully copy several different KB Home plans, to which Plaintiff lawfully holds the copyrights.

The complaint further alleges Formby, through the businesses he formed, including Defendant Antares LTD, Antares Homes, LLC, and Antares GP, published simplified home plans based on copies of Plaintiff’s copyrighted designs, in brochures and on the internet; created architectural technical drawings substantially similar to each of Plaintiff’s copyrighted designs, and sold single family homes that were substantially similar to each of Plaintiff’s designs.

Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees.

Southern District

McDonald v. The Motherhood Center, Inc. (4:2007cv04188) Shannon McDonald filed suit on December 10, 2007 against The Motherhood Center, Inc., and Gabriela B. Gerhart. The complaint alleges Defendants printed, published, and distributed Plaintiff’s photographs in marketing materials to promote The Motherhood Center without Plaintiff’s consent or authorization. The complaint further alleges Defendants continued to infringe on Plaintiff’s copyrights subsequent to Defendants’ receipt of a letter notifying them of their infringing acts.

Plaintiff requests injunctive relief, seizure of the infringing materials, damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees.

The record labels are busy with copyright infringement claims for unauthorized downloading and distribution of music in the Southern District of Texas. Warner Bros. Records, Inc. v. Latham (4:2007cv04525) Warner Bros. Records, Inc. v. Grover (4:2007cv04528) Maverick Recording Company v. Blackburn (4:2007cv04528)

Western District Versata Software, Inc. v. General Electric Medical Systems, Inc. (1:2007cv02023) Versata Software, Inc. filed suit on December 14, 2007 against General Electric Medical Systems, Inc., General Electric Company, GE Healthcare, Inc., and GE Medical Systems Information Technologies, Inc. alleging breach of contract, copyright infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, tortious interference with a contractual relationship, and unjust enrichment

Plaintiff, a company engaged in the research, development, and sale of computer software, entered into a contract with Defendant General Electric Medical Systems in 1996 granting Defendant a nonexclusive and nontransferable limited license to use certain software developed and owned by Plaintiff. The parties also entered into a Professional Services Agreement, under which Plaintiff provided Defendant with ongoing professional consulting services.

In 2001 Defendant cancelled Plaintiff’s services agreement, leading Plaintiff to believe Defendant had also abandoned use of Plaintiff’s software products. Plaintiff learned in 2005 that Defendant continued to use, reproduce and distribute unauthorized copies of the software. After negotiations failed, Plaintiff filed this action for. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, an order requiring destruction of all unauthorized copies of Plaintiff’s software, damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees.

Broadcast Music, Inc. v. Vicci, Inc. (1:2007cv00981) Suit alleging unauthorized public performance of musical copyrights.

BMG v DOE, DOE AND MORE DOES BMG filed four suits in the Western District of Texas against John Doe plaintiffs alleging Plaintiff downloaded and distributed Plaintiffs’ copyrighted music files over the internet in violation of Plaintiff’s exclusive rights. BMG Music et al v. Doe (1:2007cv01054) BMG Music et al v. Doe (1:2007cv01047) Sony BMG Music Entertainment et al v. Doe (1:2007cv01063) Interscope Records et al v. Doe (1:2007cv01057)