Another Richard Bell Copyright Suit

Richard Bell is suing another website for allegedly using an unauthorized copy of his photograph of downtown Indianapolis. In a previous ruling against Mr. Bell (more here), the court was less than pleased with shortcomings in his complaint:

While providing specific facts is not necessary in a complaint, Mr. Bell is required to do more than recite legal conclusions of conduct with generic applicability to various defendants. . . . Legal conclusions are not afforded the assumption of truth. . . . [T]he Court will not afford the assumption of truth to the legal conclusions in Mr. Bell’s complaint. Neither does the Court find any factual allegations that are not legal conclusions, which could entitle him to relief and satisfy the standard of review.

Bell v. McCann, No. 1:13-CV-00799-TWP, 2014 WL 900961, at *2 (S.D. Ind. Mar. 7, 2014)

Mr. Bell did offer more than legal conclusions in this most recent Complaint (see below) by adding a factual allegation. And although he needed to allege “only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face,” Mr. Bell decided to unnecessarily add proof of these alleged facts. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). He included a link to a screenshot of the alleged infringement, although the link just resolves to a blank page.

In any case, don’t use pictures you find on the internet without authorization. Just don’t.

Richard N. Bell v. Proact Search LLC

Court Case Number: 1:15-cv-01005-JMS-DKL
File Date: Thursday, June 25, 2015
Plaintiff: Richard N. Bell
Plaintiff Counsel: Richard N. Bell of Bell Law Firm
Defendant: Proact Search LLC
Cause: Copyright Infringement and Unfair Competition
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue

Indiana Copyright Litigation Update – Bell v. Find Tickets

Richard Bell is once again alleging copyright infringement for unauthorized use of a photograph of the downtown Indianapolis skyline. This complaint is nearly identical to complaints he has previously filed. In some of those cases, the court has awarded Mr. Bell statutory damages of $2,500. However, the ruling in each of those cases was a default judgment because the defendants failed to answer and defend the allegations. On multiple occasions the court has granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. District Judge Tanya Pratt has, on multiple occasions, called out Mr. Bell for improper practice:

In his pleadings, Mr. Bell has alleged, but has not shown, that he is entitled to relief. His complaint contains formulaic labels and conclusions, but not facts. For example, the complaint under his copyright claim generically alleges that all-originally, twenty-two in total-Defendants: downloaded the Indianapolis Photo; willfully, recklessly, and falsely claimed that it owned the copyright to the photograph; published the photograph for commercial use; engaged in unfair trade practices and competition; and willfully engaged in these acts with oppression, fraud, and malice. . . . While providing specific facts is not necessary in a complaint, Mr. Bell is required to do more than recite legal conclusions of conduct with generic applicability to various defendants. . . . Legal conclusions are not afforded the assumption of truth. . . . [T]he Court will not afford the assumption of truth to the legal conclusions in Mr. Bell’s complaint. Neither does the Court find any factual allegations that are not legal conclusions, which could entitle him to relief and satisfy the standard of review.

Bell v. McCann, No. 1:13-CV-00799-TWP, 2014 WL 900961, at *2 (S.D. Ind. Mar. 7, 2014)

When looking to Mr. Bell’s motivation for filing this action, the Court finds that Mr. Bell’s motivation is questionable. Mr. Bell has filed a multiplicity of suits in this Court, each involving the same or similar infringement allegations. In many of these copyright infringement suits, Mr. Bell has improperly joined several defendants, thereby saving him extensive filing fees. In this case alone, Mr. Bell sued forty-seven defendants and then quickly offered settlements to defendants who were unwilling to pay for a legal defense. In some of Mr. Bell’s lawsuits, the district court determined that the improperly joined defendants should be severed, and severance was granted. Further, in this case, Mr. Bell lacked any evidentiary support for his claims against Mr. Lantz. The Court is persuaded by Mr. Lantz’s argument that the motivation of Mr. Bell in filing this action appears to be an attempt to extract quick, small settlements from many defendants instead of using the judicial process to protect his copyright against legitimate infringing actors. . . . In this case, Mr. Lantz took a stand against a plaintiff who was using his knowledge and status as a practicing attorney to file meritless suits and to attempt to outmaneuver the legal system.

Bell v. Lantz, No. 1:13-CV-00035-TWP, 2015 WL 3604174, at *2 & *3 (S.D. Ind. June 8, 2015)

After a cursory search, it appears that Mr. Bell has been awarded statutory damages of $40,000 ($2,500 x 16) from default judgments. In Bell v. Lantz, quoted above, Mr. Bell had to pay Mr. Lantz’s attorney’s fees, totaling $33,974.65.

Richard N. Bell v. Find Tickets, LLC

Court Case Number: 1:15-cv-00973-JMS-MJD
File Date: Friday, June 19, 2015
Plaintiff: Richard N. Bell
Plaintiff Counsel: Richard N. Bell of Bell Law Firm
Defendant: Find Tickets, LLC
Cause: Copyright Infringement and Unfair Competition
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Mark J. Dinsmore

Indiana Copyright Litigation Update: Baals LLC v. Pro Service Cleaning FW LLC

Baals LLC organizes the Baals Music Festival, a Fort Wayne event occurring annually since 2012. Baals (named for former mayor, Harry Baals) alleges that the defendants, Electric Promotions and Desiar, started organizing similar events in Fort Wayne after seeing the success of the Baals Music Festival. Baals claims that the defendants are using promotional materials that bear striking resemblance to Baals’. They further claim that the defendants are using promotional photographs and videos owned by Baals despite multiple requests to cease.

Baals LLC v. Pro Service Cleaning FW LLC et al

Court Case Number: 1:15-cv-00148-JVB-SLC
File Date: Monday, June 15, 2015
Plaintiff: Baals LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: Daniel D. Bobilya, Brandon J. Almas of Bonahoom & Bobilya LLC
Defendant: Pro Service Cleaning FW LLCDesiar Eyewear LLC
Cause: Unfair Competition, False Designation of Origin, Copyright Infringement, Unjust Enrichment
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Joseph S Van Bokkelen
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Susan L Collins

Concert Photographer File Another Copyright Lawsuit over Violation of Creative Commons License

Larry Philpot has filed another suit over alleged use of a photograph of Willie Nelson (related cases here, here, and here). In addition to infringement, Philpot is also claiming that defendant intentionally removed his copyright management information from the photograph.

Larry G. Philpot v. Gray Television, Inc. et al

Court Case Number: 3:15-cv-00145-JD-CAN
File Date: Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Plaintiff: Larry G. Philpot
Plaintiff Counsel: Larry G. Philpot – Pro Se
Defendant: Gray Television, Inc., Gray Television Group, Inc.
Cause: Copyright Infringement, Removal of Copyright Management Information, Contributory Copyright Infringement
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Jon E DeGuilio
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Christopher A Nuechterlein

Concert Photographer Files 4 More Copyright Lawsuits over Violation of Creative Commons License

Philpot returns. Plaintiff is a concert photographer who posted photographs to Wikimedia under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. The defendants have all allegedly used Plaintiff’s photograph(s) on their respective websites without giving proper credit to Plaintiff. Plaintiff is representing himself in these lawsuits and has filed similar complaints previously (Related Cases).

Larry G. Philpot v. Catholic Family Center
Court Case Number: 1:14-cv-01788-TWP-DML
File Date: Friday, October 31, 2014
Plaintiff: Larry G. Philpot
Plaintiff Counsel: Larry G. Philpot – Pro Se
Defendant: Catholic Family Center
Cause: Copyright Infringement, Removal of Copyright Management Information, Contributory Copyright Infringement
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Tanya Walton Pratt
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch

Larry G. Philpot v. WKMS/Murray State University
Court Case Number: 1:14-cv-01789-SEB-DML
File Date: Friday, October 31, 2014
Plaintiff: Larry G. Philpot
Plaintiff Counsel: Larry G. Philpot – Pro Se
Defendant: WKMS/Murray State University
Cause: Copyright Infringement, Removal of Copyright Management Information, Contributory Copyright Infringement
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Sarah Evans Barker
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch

Larry G. Philpot v. 420 Magazine, Inc.
Court Case Number: 1:14-cv-01790-RLY-MJD
File Date: Friday, October 31, 2014
Plaintiff: Larry G. Philpot
Plaintiff Counsel: Larry G. Philpot – Pro Se
Defendant: 420 Magazine, Inc.
Cause: Copyright Infringement, Removal of Copyright Management Information, Contributory Copyright Infringement
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Richard L. Young
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Mark J. Dinsmore

Larry G. Philpot v. WUIS/University of Illinois, Springfield
Court Case Number: 1:14-cv-01791-TWP-TAB
File Date: Friday, October 31, 2014
Plaintiff: Larry G. Philpot
Plaintiff Counsel: Larry G. Philpot – Pro Se
Defendant: WUIS/University of Illinois, Springfield
Cause: Copyright Infringement, Removal of Copyright Management Information, Contributory Copyright Infringement
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Tanya Walton Pratt
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker

Representative Complaint:

Indiana Copyright Litigation Update – Lake Lite v. Universal Forest Products et al

This lawsuit arises from Defendants’ alleged infringement of copyrights and patents, as well as unauthorized use and misappropriation of Plaintiff’s trade secrets.

Lake Lite Inc. v. Universal Forest Products, Inc. et al

Court Case Number: 1:14-cv-00337
File Date: Friday, October 24, 2014
Plaintiff: Lake Lite Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Michael S. McIntyre
Defendant: Universal Forest Products, Inc., Universal Consumer Products, Inc., Maine Ornamental, LLC
Cause: Copyright Infringement, Patent Infringement, Breach of Contract, Breach of Implied Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, Violation of Indiana Uniform Trade Secret Act, Unjust Enrichment
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Jon E. DeGuilio
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Roger B. Cosbey

Complaint:

Indiana Copyright Litigation Update – ABRO Industries v. 1 New Trade, Inc. et al

This copyright infringement action involves alleged copying by Defendant of Plaintiff’s container for carburetor and choke cleaner product.

ABRO Industries, Inc. v. 1 New Trade, Inc. et al

Court Case Number: 3:14-cv-01984
File Date: Thursday, October 23, 2014
Plaintiff: ABRO Industries, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Georgina D. Jenkins, Alice J. Springer, D. Randall Brown of Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Defendant: 1 New Trade, Inc., Igor Zorin, Boris Babenchik, Vadim Fishkin, Quest Specialty Coatings LLC
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge:
Referred To:

Complaint:

Indiana Copyright Litigation Update – Brinker Manufacturing Jewelers Inc. v. Rogers Galleria Jewelers

Defendants are accused of having repeatedly copied Plaintiff’s advertising marketing and branding including copying the design of Plaintiff’s showroom and jewelry boxes, interfering with Plaintiff’s exclusive vendor contracts, and copying and/or plagiarizing several of Plaintiff’s taglines and written advertisements.

Court Case Number: 3:14-cv-00134-RLY-WGH
File Date: Monday, September 29, 2014
Plaintiff: Brinker Manufacturing Jewelers Inc., South Central Communications Corporation
Plaintiff Counsel: Jean M. Blanton of Ziemer Stayman Weitzel & Shoulders LLP, Nick J. Cirignano
Defendant: Rogers Galleria Jewelers LLC, Tyna Wheat, Sharon Sartore
Cause: Copyright Infringement, Trade Dress Infringement, Unfair Competition, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition, Deceptive Trade Practices, Conversion, Misappropriation of Advertising Ideas and Style of Doing Business, Tortious Interference with Business Relations
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Richard L. Young
Referred To: Magistrate Judge William G. Hussmann, Jr.

Concert Photographer Files 3 More Copyright Lawsuits over Violation of Creative Commons License

Plaintiff is a concert photographer. He posted photographs (of Willie Nelson and Chris Daughtry) to Wikimedia under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Generic license. The defendants have all allegedly used Plaintiff’s photograph(s) on their respective websites without giving proper credit to Plaintiff. Plaintiff is representing himself in these lawsuits and has filed similar complaints previously (Related Cases).

Court Case Number: 1:14-cv-01357-TWP-DML
File Date: Monday, August 18, 2014
Plaintiff: Larry G. Philpot
Plaintiff Counsel: Larry G. Philpot – Pro Se
Defendant: Mansion America, LLC, Oak Ridge Boys Theater
Cause: Copyright Infringement, Unfair Competition
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Tanya Walton Pratt
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch

Court Case Number: 1:14-cv-01356-SEB-DML
File Date: Monday, August 18, 2014
Plaintiff: Larry G. Philpot
Plaintiff Counsel: Larry G. Philpot – Pro Se
Defendant: Bake Me A Wish, LLC
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Sarah Evans Barker
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch

Court Case Number: 1:14-cv-01377-LJM-MJD
File Date: Thursday, August 21, 2014
Plaintiff: Larry G. Philpot
Plaintiff Counsel: Larry G. Philpot – Pro Se
Defendant: Everything Brooklyn Media LLC
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Larry J. McKinney
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Mark J. Dinsmore

Representative Complaint

Indiana Copyright Litigation Update – Philpot v. McLay, Philpot v. Manhattan Media

Larry G. Philpot v. Shannon McLay

Court Case Number: 1:14-cv-01283-JMS-DML
File Date: Friday, August 01, 2014
Plaintiff: Larry G. Philpot
Plaintiff Counsel: Larry G. Philpot – Pro Se
Defendant: Shannon McLay
Cause: Copyright Infringement, Unfair Competition
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch

Larry G. Philpot v. Manhattan Media LLC

Court Case Number: 1:14-cv-01284-JMS-DML
File Date: Friday, August 01, 2014
Plaintiff: Larry G. Philpot
Plaintiff Counsel: Larry G. Philpot – Pro Se
Defendant: Manhattan Media LLC
Cause: Copyright Infringement, Unfair Competition
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch

McLay Complaint

Manhattan Media Complaint