Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Traverse Internet Law Federal Court Report: January 2010 Copyright Infringement Cases


The facts are unproven allegations of the Plaintiff and all commentary is based upon the allegations, the truthfulness and accuracy of which are likely in dispute.


MONAVIE v. PURITY 12 LIFEBLEND, ET AL.
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF UTAH
2:10-CV-00074
FILED: 1/29/2010

Lawyers are often considered some of the greatest plagiarists and copiers in business. We copy forms, pleadings, and contracts all the time. Good lawyers use those only as a starting point and outline for customizing the proper solution for a client. The compensation plan in this case will have been drafted, or heavily reviewed, by legal counsel. Who is the real author? When an attorney prepares a contract for you, who owns the contract? The answer probably is not what you think. The attorney owns the copyright in the work and you have a license to use it, unless the attorney has assigned the ownership of his copyright interests to you. Before you start borrowing user agreements and privacy policies and contracts that you like, consider the possibility that those may be the property of a law firm. The important point to take away from this case is that when you need a legal document, go get one from your lawyer.

MonaVie is a Utah based networking marketing company manufacturing, distributing, marketing, and selling nutritional energy beverage products. The Defendants are alleged to have copied and reproduced the Plaintiff’s compensation plan document and are now using it in their own companies competing against the Plaintiff.

The lawsuit alleges copyright infringement and false designation of origin. The Prayer for Relief includes requests for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, an accounting of profits, actual damages, statutory damages, treble damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs. Traverse Internet LawCross-Reference Number 1388.


REMENTORS, INC. v. MONICA MAIN, ET AL.
DISTRICT OF ARIZONA (PHOENIX)
2:10-CV-00063
FILED: 1/12/2010

This is another interesting example of what is most likely trademark infringement. Defendants are also alleged to be using a number of copyright protected letters authored by the Plaintiff on its website. Yes, letters can be copyright protected. If you find a really good letter that you want to put into use in your business, make sure that you make substantial changes to it so that a copyright infringement issue does not arise.

The Plaintiff is a real estate investing firm operated by its founder and principal, David Lindahl. Lindahl claims to be a real estate investing expert well known for providing education, coaching and mentoring to average consumers who are seeking to become real estate investors. The Defendants have allegedly been running Google AdWords advertisements with titles such as “Lindahl is a Joke” and “Lindahl Scam Exposed”. Defendants are competing directly with the Plaintiff.

The Plaintiff has sued for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and unfair competition/initial interest confusion. Plaintiff has requested preliminary and permanent injunctive relief as well as actual damages and Defendant’s profits for infringement of each copyrighted work, statutory damages, treble damages, and attorneys’ fees and cost. Traverse Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1389.


GORDON & DONER, P.A. v. GO DADDY GROUP, INC. AND JOHN DOES 1-3
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA (WEST PALM BEACH)
9:10-CV-80015
FILED: 1/06/2010

This type of lawsuit and potential liability is the reason Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Any case against Go Daddy is going to be promptly dismissed because it has no liability for copyright infringement. It does not even appear that the law firm attempted to use the takedown notices under the DMCA to effectuate a simple solution to this problem. Hire an Internet law expert for Internet law matters.

The Plaintiff is a law firm in Florida and Go Daddy is the well known registrar. A competing law firm allegedly copied the content of the Plaintiff and is hosting it at Go Daddy. When the Plaintiff contacted Go Daddy, it refused to provide any information unless it received a subpoena. Go Daddy did direct the Plaintiff to the legal section of the Godaddy.com website.

The lawsuit alleges copyright infringement, false designation or origin, and unauthorized publication of Plaintiff’s likenesses. Prayer for Relief includes requests for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, actual damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs and that Defendants be required to destroy all materials in connection with the unauthorized use and pay for remedial advertising to benefit the Plaintiff. Traverse Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1390.

1 comment:

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