This case was last updated from PACER on 10/13/2021 at 06:46:43 (UTC).

Kelley v. Morning Bee, Inc. et al

Case Summary

On October 12, 2021, Michael Kelley (“Kelley” or “Plaintiff”), represented by Anthony L. Meola, Jr. of Schmeiser, Olsen & Watts LLP, filed an intellectual property lawsuit against Morning Bee, Inc. (“Morning Bee”) and Apple Inc. (“Apple”) (together, “Defendants”), seeking cost, damages along with prejudgment interest and all profits received by Defendants for the alleged infringement of United States Copyright owned by Plaintiff. This case was filed in the U.S District Court in the Southern District of New York.


Plaintiff filed this complaint for the alleged infringement of United States Copyright i.e. ten photographs (the “Photographs”) owned by Plaintiff.


In the complaint Plaintiff alleged that, “Upon information and belief, in 2021, Apple produced and released a film titled “Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry” (the “Film”) by R.J. Cutler that “take[s] a deeply personal look at the extraordinary teenager Billie Eilish.” Billie Eilish (“Eilish”) is a nineteen-year-old seven-time GRAMMY® Award winning musical artist. Upon information and belief, Morning Bee is a producer of the Film. The Film was released on Apple’s streaming platform Apple TV+. Upon information and belief, the scene, which takes place in or around 2018 or 2019, shows Hātea Kapa Haka, a Māori cultural group and performing arts business in New Zealand performing for Eilish at the Auckland Airport.”


Plaintiff further alleged that, “In the scene, all ten Photographs are shown either in their entirety, or only partly obscured by the Hātea Kapa Haka performers. In the scene, the Photographs are shown with the same or near-same level of camera focus as the Hātea Kapa Haka performers. Defendants did not license the Photographs from Kelley, nor did Defendants seek or obtain Kelley’s permission to reproduce and publicly display the Photographs in the Film.”


Plaintiff also alleged that, “Defendants are not, and have never been, licensed or otherwise authorized to reproduce, publicly display, distribute, and/or use the Photographs. Upon information and belief, the foregoing acts of infringement by Defendants have been willful, intentional, purposeful, and in disregard of and indifference to Plaintiff’s rights. The acts of Defendants complained of herein constitute infringement of Plaintiff’s copyright and exclusive rights under copyright.”


There is only one claim for relief laid down by Plaintiff which deals with copyright infringement against all Defendants.


In its prayer for relief, Plaintiff has requested the court that Defendants be adjudged to have infringed upon Plaintiff’s copyrights in the Photographs in violation of 17 U.S.C. §§ 106 and 501, that Plaintiff be awarded either (a) Plaintiff’s actual damages and Defendants’ profits, gains, or advantages of any king attributable to Defendants’ infringement of Plaintiff’s Photographs, or (b) alternatively, statutory damages of up to $150,000 per copyrighted work infringed pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §504. Plaintiff requested that the Defendants be required to account for all profits, income, receipts, or other benefits derived by Defendants as a result of their unlawful conduct together with costs of litigation and along with prejudgment interest.


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Case Details Parties Documents Dockets


Case Details

  • Case Number:


  • Filing Date:


  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Intellectual Property - Copyright


Party Details


Michael Kelley


Morning Bee, Inc.

Apple, Inc.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

Anthony L. Meola, Jr

Attorney at Schmeiser, Olsen & Watts LLP

3 Manhattanville Road, Suite 105

Purchase, NY 10577


Court Documents


(#2) CIVIL COVER SHEET filed..(Meola, Anthony) (Entered: 10/12/2021)

1 #1

Exhibit Exhibits A-M

1 #1

Main Document


Docket Entries

  • 10/12/2021
  • View Court Documents
  • Docket(#2) CIVIL COVER SHEET filed..(Meola, Anthony) (Entered: 10/12/2021)

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  • 10/12/2021
  • View Court Documents
  • Docket(#1) COMPLAINT against Apple, Inc., Morning Bee, Inc.. (Filing Fee $ 402.00, Receipt Number ANYSDC-25184721)Document filed by Michael Kelley. (Attachments: #1 Exhibit Exhibits A-M).(Meola, Anthony) (Entered: 10/12/2021)

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