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Indianapolis-based Curtis Publishing Co. has sued a Michigan-based chain of pizza restaurants for copyright infringement.

The suit, filed June 3 in federal court in Indianapolis, accused Hungry Howie’s Pizza & Subs Inc. of Madison Heights, Michigan, of infringing the copyright to a Saturday Evening Post cover first published in 1943. The cover, “Freedom from Want,” is by the late Norman Rockwell, and features the image of a family at a Thanksgiving dinner as a large roast turkey is being brought to the table.

Curtis accused the pizza chain of using the Rockwell painting in an “unauthorized, multistate advertising campaign, according to court papers. The ads, which began in November 2009, featured a “precise mimicry of the various nuances” of the Rockwell painting,” with the alteration of replacing the turkey with a pizza, Curtis said in its complaint.

Despite having been sent a cease-and-desist letter and “numerous other communications,” the pizza chain continued to use this advertisement throughout the 2009 winter holiday season, according to court papers.

The publisher is represented by Jonathan Faber, Kyle M. Baker and Cynthia A. Bedrick of McNeely Stephenson Thopy & Harrold of Shelbyville, Indiana.

The case is Saturday Evening Post Society Inc. v. Hungry Howie’s Pizza & Subs Inc., 1:10-cv-00680-LJM-DML, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana (Indianapolis).

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek