Northern District-Texas: Copyright Filings 1st Quarter 2008

By: Tamera H. Bennett and Stephanie A. Prince Below is a summary of some of the copyright cases filed in the Northern District of Texas during the first quarter of 2008. Northern District Arcadia(MSI) v. Univision Communications, Inc. (4:08cv023y) Arcadia, an Austrian company engaged in the business of publishing and distributing musical works along with Premier Tracks, Arcadia’s subpublisher in the United States, filed suit against Univision on January 16, 2008 for the use, performance, publication, and exploitation of several of Arcadia’s licensed musical works in and for a television series.

Arcadia seeks injunctive relief, an order requiring Defendants to impound and destroy all copies of the television series, and damages.

Great Notions, Inc. v. Brown (8:08cv0092k) Great Notions, a Texas and Illinois corporation filed suit on January 22, 2008 against Carol Brown for the copy, reproduction, duplication, trade, dissemination, and sale of some of Great Notions’ “Amazing Designs” copyrighted art and character embroidery designs over the internet.

Great Notions seeks injunctive relief, punitive damages, exemplary damages, and attorneys’ fees.

Michael Massingill v. Stream Energy Ltd. (8:08cv0091m) Massingill, one of two co-authors and owners of all right, title, and interest in and to the copyrights in the Arsenal CIS software, filed suit on January 22, 2008 against Stream Energy, Ltd and others for the knowing and willful direct copying of Plaintiff’s Arsenal Software for the maintenance of its business. Massingill further alleges that while Stream Energy has not recorded a single dollar’s worth of sales of energy without using Arsenal Software, Stream Energy has wholly refused to pay any license fees for the software.

Massingill seeks injunctive relief, damages, and attorneys’ fees.

Reinfield Music Publishing, Inc. v. I Gotcha, Inc. (4:08cv193y) Reinfield Music Publishing, Inc. and others filed suit on March 20, 2008 against I Gotcha, Inc. and Waldrow W. Duncan for copyright infringement based on Defendants’ public performances of copyrighted musical works. I Gotcha, Inc. is a Texas corporation that controls, manages, operates, and maintains Main Stage, a bar in Fort Worth, Texas. Among the copyrighted musical works at issue are: “Before He Cheats,” “Hells Bells,” and “Runnin’ With The Devil.”

Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief, damages, and attorneys’ fees.

Gouldd v. Accetta (3:08cv04970) Bill Gouldd filed suit on March 21, 2008 against Marc Accetta and others for copyright infringement by illegal and unauthorized copying, sale, distribution, and performance of Gouldd’s copyrighted works as well as the illegal and unauthorized creation and performance of derivative works, breach of contract, interference with business relations, and misappropriation and wrongful use of trade secrets.

The complaint alleges that Gouldd is the creator and sole copyright owner of collections of audio recordings based on Gouldd’s original performances, referred to as the “Character Stories.” These “Character Stories” include such pieces as: “The Doctor,” the “High Plains Drifter,” “The Fisherman,” “The Construction Worker,” “The Farmer,” “The Professor,” “The G.I.,” “The Golfer,” “The Karate Master,” “The Prisoner,” “The Prospector,” “The Hockey Player,” “The Joker,” “The Mechanic,” and “The Indian Chief.”

The complaint further alleges that the Defendants are engaged in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of written materials, audio recordings, and live lectures and performances in the field of motivation and life coaching, private consulting services, and related products and services in the field of motivation and life coaching. The complaint goes on to allege that Defendants infringement includes making or having made and placed on the market, written materials, audio and video recordings of copies and/or derivative works of Gouldd’s copyrighted works, and that Defendant Accetta, encouraged by the other Defendants, interfered with Gouldd’s business relations by breaching an agreement with Advanced Marketing Seminars, Inc., and misappropriating Gouldd’s trade secrets that had been licensed to Advanced Marketing Seminars, Inc.

Gouldd seeks injunctive relief, damages, and attorneys’ fees.

CHM Industries v. Structural & Steel Products, Inc. (8:08cv0217p) Plaintiff CHM creates high mast lighting applications for use in the commercial transportation, and sporting sectors.

CHM maintains a series of copyrighted scaled and unscaled drawings depicting its high mast lighting applications. CHM filed suit on February 7, 2008 against Structural Steel Products, Inc. and others for the illegal publication and other use of CHM’s copyrighted works, as well as for the misappropriation and unlawful use of CHM’s trade secrets, misappropriation of CHM’s effort, conversion of CHM’s property, common law and statutory theft of trade secrets, harmful access by computer, breach of fiduciary duty, knowingly participating in fiduciary breach, breach of contract, tortuous interference with CHM’s contractual and/or prospective business relationships, and conspiracy. CHM alleges that Steel Structural Products, Inc. maintained access to CHM’s trade secrets and other property through employees who were former CHM employees.

CHM seeks injunctive relief, economic damages, exemplary damages, and attorneys’ fees.

College Entrance Examination Board v. Karen Dillard College Prep, LP (3:08cv0034) The College Board filed suit on February 20, 2008 against Karen Dillard for copyright and trademark infringement. The College Board alleges that Karen Dillard copied and distributed, among other documents, a test form from a live SAT form used by the College Board. To add insult to injury, the College Board further alleges that Karen Dillard named this test form “PVA,” meaning “Pirated Version.”

The College Board seeks injunctive relief, damages, and attorneys’ fees.

Arista Records LLC v. DOES 1 – 16 (4:2008cv00132) The record labels are busy with copyright infringement claims for unauthorized downloading and distribution of music in the Northern District of Texas.