The Plaintiff in this copyright lawsuit is an infant photographer who uses photo editing software to add teeth to her infant subjects. Depending on your aesthetic tastes, the resulting photographs range somewhere between cute and horrifying.
The Defendant sells teeth whitening and oral care products and allegedly used one of the Plaintiff’s photographs in a Facebook advertisement in August 2019. The photograph was altered to whiten the teeth and remove the Plaintiff’s watermark. The advertisement (below) included a link to the Defendant’s website and a “Shop Now” button.
It’s hard to see this lawsuit going very far; it’s slightly ridiculous it had to be filed at all. This situation seems like it would be a perfect fit for a small claims copyright court. Hopefully the parties can soon find an amicable resolution, like an appropriate license fee, for the (possibly) 4one-time use of Plaintiff’s photograph. If the Defendant somehow determines it would make more sense to litigate, we might see them challenge jurisdiction in Indiana.
Stay tuned for updates.
Haehl v. Dr. Brite, LLC
Case Number: 1:21-cv-02072-JPH-MJD
File Date: Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Plaintiff: Amy Haehl
Plaintiff Counsel: Bradley M. Stohry of Reichel Stohry Dean LLP
Defendant: Dr. Brite, LLC
Cause: Direct Copyright Infringement, Vicarious Copyright Infringement, Removal or Alteration of Copyright Management Information
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: James Patrick Hanlon
Referred To: Mark J. Dinsmore