On September 29, 2021, Zachary Roberts (“Plaintiff”), represented by Craig B. Sanders of Sanders Law Group, filed an intellectual property lawsuit against Happy Mutants, LLC (“Defendant”), seeking declaratory, injunctive, and compensatory relief along with disgorgement of profits and pre-judgment interest for the Defendant’s alleged infringement by selecting, copying, storing and/or displaying Plaintiff’s copyright protected Photograph on its website known as boingboing.net (the “Website”). This case was filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California with Judge Charles R. Breyer presiding.
In the complaint, Plaintiff alleged that, “Happy Mutants, LLC is the registered owner of the Website and is responsible for its content.” “Plaintiff herein creates photographic images and owns the rights to these images which Plaintiff licenses for various uses including online and print publications.”
Plaintiff further alleged that, “On August 13, 2017, Plaintiff Zachary Roberts authored a photograph of a mob assaulting an African American man in Charlottesville (the “Photograph”).” “The Photograph was registered by the USCO on September 7, 2017 under Registration No. VA 2-066-838.” “On June 10, 2020, Plaintiff observed the Photograph on the Website in a story dated October 10, 2017.”
Plaintiff further alleged that, “Without permission or authorization from Plaintiff, Defendant volitionally selected, copied, stored and/or displayed Plaintiff’s copyright protected Photograph as is set forth in Exhibit “1” on the Website.” “Upon information and belief, the Photograph was copied, stored and displayed without license or permission, thereby infringing on Plaintiff's copyrights (hereinafter the “Infringement”).” “The Infringement includes a URL (“Uniform Resource Locator”) for a fixed tangible medium of expression that was sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be communicated for a period of more than a transitory duration and therefore constitutes a specific infringement.”
Plaintiff also alleged that, “Upon information and belief, Defendant directly contributes to the content posted on the Website by, inter alia, directly employing reporters, authors and editors as its agents, including but not limited to Cory Doctorow whose Website, at the time of the Infringement, listed him as an “Editor” (“Employees”).” “Upon information and belief, at all material times the Employees were acting within the course and scope of their employment when they posted the Infringement.”
The only claim for relief laid down by Plaintiff is for the Direct Copyright Infringement, 17 U.S.C. §501 et seq, wherein Plaintiff alleged that, without permission or authorization from Plaintiff and in willful violation of Plaintiff's rights under 17 U.S.C. §106, Defendant improperly and illegally copied, stored, reproduced, distributed, adapted, and/or publicly displayed works copyrighted by Plaintiff thereby violating one of Plaintiff's exclusive rights in its copyrights. Allegedly, Defendant's reproduction of the Photograph and display of the Photograph constitutes willful copyright infringement.
In the prayer for relief, Plaintiff requested the court to enter a judgment finding that Defendant infringed upon Plaintiff's copyright interest in the Photograph and award actual damages and disgorgement of all of Defendant's profits attributable to the infringement or, in the alternative, at Plaintiff's election, award statutory damages against Defendant in an amount up to $150,000.00 for each infringement, whichever is larger. Further, Plaintiff requested the court to enjoin Defendant from any infringing use of any of Plaintiff's works, and award litigation costs, attorney's fees, pre-judgment interest, and any other relief the court deems just and proper.
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Pending - Other Pending
Charles R. Breyer
Happy Mutants, LLC
Craig B. Sanders
Attorney at Sanders Law Group
100 Garden City Plaza, Suite 500
Garden City, NY 11530
(#3) REPORT on the filing or determination of an action regarding a Copyright (cc: form mailed to register). (Sanders, Craig) (Filed on 9/29/2021) (Entered: 09/29/2021)
(#2) Proposed Summons. (Sanders, Craig) (Filed on 9/29/2021) (Entered: 09/29/2021)
Civil Cover Sheet
(#1) COMPLAINT against Happy Mutants, LLC ( Filing fee $ 402, receipt number 0971-16443712.). Filed byZachary Roberts. (Attachments: #1 Exhibit, #2 Exhibit, #3 Civil Cover Sheet)(Sanders, Craig) (Filed on 9/29/2021) (Entered: 09/29/2021)
Docket(#4) Case assigned to Judge Charles R. Breyer. Counsel for plaintiff or the removing party is responsible for serving the Complaint or Notice of Removal, Summons and the assigned judge's standing orders and all other new case documents upon the opposing parties. For information, visit E-Filing A New Civil Case at http://cand.uscourts.gov/ecf/caseopening.Standing orders can be downloaded from the court's web page at www.cand.uscourts.gov/judges. Upon receipt, the summons will be issued and returned electronically. Counsel is required to send chambers a copy of the initiating documents pursuant to L.R. 5-1(e)(7). A scheduling order will be sent by Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) within two business days. (mbcS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/29/2021) (Entered: 09/29/2021)Read MoreRead Less
Docket(#3) REPORT on the filing or determination of an action regarding a Copyright (cc: form mailed to register). (Sanders, Craig) (Filed on 9/29/2021) (Entered: 09/29/2021)Read MoreRead Less
Docket(#2) Proposed Summons. (Sanders, Craig) (Filed on 9/29/2021) (Entered: 09/29/2021)Read MoreRead Less
Docket(#1) COMPLAINT against Happy Mutants, LLC ( Filing fee $ 402, receipt number 0971-16443712.). Filed byZachary Roberts. (Attachments: #1 Exhibit, #2 Exhibit, #3 Civil Cover Sheet)(Sanders, Craig) (Filed on 9/29/2021) (Entered: 09/29/2021)Read MoreRead Less
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