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The Defendants, a Florida husband/wife marketing team, are accused of purchasing digital artwork from Plaintiff’s Etsy site and then selling it on their own website as their own work and intellectual property. The Plaintiff is an artist from Guilford, Indiana (home of the historic Guilford Covered Bridge). In addition to Plaintiff, the Defendants are alleged to have used artwork from numerous creators without authorization.

The Defendants’ own Terms of Use from their website are referenced in the Complaint (below) as evidence of their understanding (and thus willful violation) of copyright law. The Defendants are further alleged to have removed the metadata from the Plaintiff’s image files, which could support a claim of “Removal or Alteration of Copyright Management Information” although that wasn’t included in the initial Complaint. The Complaint also details unsuccessful attempted communications between Plaintiff’s counsel and the Defendants.

Damages for willful copyright infringement can be severe, up to $150,000 per infringement. If the Defendants are truly serial infringers as alleged, the Court could easily decide to grant the maximum damages award. The Defendants could also be required to pay Plaintiff’s costs and attorneys’ fees, likely a hefty amount in itself.

Stay tuned for updates.

Mapes v. Top Tier Marketers LLC d/b/a Artfily et al.

Case Number: 1:22-cv-00674-JMS-DLP
File Date: Monday, April 4, 2022
Plaintiff: Tara Mapes
Plaintiff Counsel: Michelle L. Casper, Rachael L. Rodman of Ulmer & Berne LLP
Defendant: Top Tier Marketers LLC d/b/a Artfily, Meagan Broadwater, Dean Broadwater
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Jane Magnus-Stinson
Referred To: Doris L. Pryor