Philpot v. Kinder et al. (17-cv-11991).

Larry Philpot, a professional concert and event photographer from Indiana, sued Encore Unlimited, Inc., Printed Guitar Picks Limited, and numerous individuals for copyright infringement. Philpot alleges the defendants uploaded photographs he had taken of Carlos Santana, Neil Young, and Kid Rock, printing them on guitar picks, and advertising and selling them through their own websites as well as on Ebay.  He seeks liability for reproduction and public display, as well as for unfair and deceptive trade practices under M.G.L. Ch. 93A.  Philpot further alleges that the copyright infringement was willful, based (solely, it appears) on his allegation that the defendants tried to hide their identities by registering their domains under aliases.  A review of one of the defendant’s websites (www.printedguitarpicks.com) reveals that the company allows customers to upload pictures to be printed on guitar picks, while also offering stock pictures of various artists; it is unclear from the complaint whether the former or the latter are the subject of the suit.  For the latter, the website indicates that all customers submitting photographs warrant that they obtained permission from the copyright holder; it will be interesting to see whether this clause affects the willfulness decision.

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