Judge Zobel has been assigned yet another case involving pre-emptive blocking of the sale of bootleg concert merchandise, this time involving an upcoming show by Post Malone. In addition to the POST MALONE trademark, the artist has registrations on POSTY CO, POSTY, POSTY FEST and SHABOINK. Malone is playing the TD Garden later this week, and Bravado (who is licensed to sell Malone merchandise) looks to prevent bootleggers from selling merchandise bearing the Malone marks.
Mitrend, a Marlborough company that provides software and services relating to datacenter infrastructure assessment and performance, accuses EMC and Dell of copyright infringement, violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, unjust enrichment, breach of contract, and unfair competition. Mitrend contends that EMC, a wholly-owned Dell subsidiary, began using Mitrend’s analysis service in 2006 under a master services agreement and a number of statements of work, using EMC software for data collection. Mitrend realized that the data collection process could be improved upon, and independently conceived of an automated and accelerated process for data collection that substantially reduced collection times. Mitrend contends that the new software was adopted throughout EMC and became the company’s primary data collection method. Mitrend’s relationship with EMC rapidly grew to several million dollars per year, and EMC did not develop its own competing software. Under the statement of work dealing with this, Mitrend’s software was deemed to remain Mitrend’s property, and all derivative works would belong to Mitrend. Further, a separate software license agreement prohibited reverse engineering of the software by EMC, as well as prohibiting removal of copyright notices. These terms were carried forward in a 2015 agreement between the businesses. In 2017, however, after EMC was acquired by Dell, EMC demanded changes to the license that would include transfer of ownership of the software IP to EMC/Dell. Mitrend refused, and provided notice of termination effective March 2, 2017, although at EMC’s request the parties subsequently agreed to extend the termination date to November 30, 2017. Shortly thereafter, EMC announced the launch of its own competing product. Mitrend contends that EMC sought the extension to develop and deploy its competing software, which it later discovered to be using the same scripts as the Mitrend product, which it alleges EMC copied. The case is assigned to Judge Talwani.
Photographer Alexander Stross accuses Lenox, Massachusetts construction company Allegrone of using one of his photographs extensively on its website, and of removing copyright management information in violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The case was immediately transferred to the Western Division.
Music licensing entity BMI sued Sterling, MA’s Black Sheep Tavern in the Worcester Division of the District of Massachusetts, accusing Black Sheep of infringing a number of music copyrights though live and DJ performances that take place at the Tavern. BMI asserts that it contacted Black Sheep Tavern over 80 times seeking to have the Tavern take a license prior to filing suit. BMI seeks statutory damages and attorneys’ fees as well as injunctive relief.
Ex-Patriot Matt Chatham and his wife sued their former builder Daniel Lewis and his company, Canterbury Ventures in 2017, accusing Lewis of seeking to sell a house built using Chatham’s copyrighted custom architectural plans to a third party after failing to complete construction for the Chathams and then unilaterally terminating their agreement. Prior to the close of discovery, the Defendants moved for summary judgment on the copyright, breach of contract, and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing claims, and further that specific performance was not available. The motion was argued before Magistrate Judge Cabell, who yesterday recommended denial the Defendants’ motion in its entirety. Defendants had argued that the copyright claim should fail because Chatham never reserved his copyrights when giving the plans to Lewis, and therefore could no longer claim copyright protection. Judge Cabell, noting that copyright vests at the time of creation, found this argument to have no legal consequences, because silence does not affect the validity of an existing copyright. He found that the First Sale Doctrine does not apply, because while the Chathams may have provided a copy of the plans and authorized the use to build the Chatham’s home, they did not sell the copyrighted article. Finally he determined that, while the Chathams’ Purchase and Sale Agreement licensed Canterbury to use the plans to construct the house, there was a factual dispute as to whether the scope of the license permitted construction of the house for sale to anyone other than the Chathams. On the contract issue, Judge Cabell determined that there was a factual dispute as to whether the P&S Agreement terminated as of the last closing date identified in the Agreement or whether there was an oral agreement to extend the Agreement to allow the home to be completed and sold to the Chathams. He noted that correspondence from counsel for the Defendants following the purported termination stating that “Canterbury continues to perform construction on the Property in good faith and in accordance with the P&S” and the fact that Canterbury continued working on the house in consultation with the Chathams following the purported termination date provided “strong if not dispositive evidence” that the parties had agreed to extend. Finally, he denied the motion with respect to the covenant of good faith and fair dealing and specific performance as they were reliant on success in the copyright and contract parts of the motion.
I and others at my firm, along with Paul Mordarski and Jordan Carroll of Morrissey, Hawkins & Lynch, represent the Chathams in this matter, and naturally, we are quite pleased with the result.
Hungarian company Graphisoft, along with its Waltham division, filed suit against Andr Roy Engineers Group, accusing it of infringing the copyright in Graphisoft’s ARCHICAD®584 and ARCHICAD®248 building information modeling software. Graphisoft embedded piracy detection and reporting security software in its ACHICAD code, so that it would be informed when the verification technology is hacked or bypassed. They assert that this software has indicated that Andr Roy is using unlicensed ARCHICAD software. Graphisoft says that Andr Roy never responded to cease and desist letters beyond a simple denial. Judge Talwani has the case.
Photographer Morgan Howarth specializes in interior architectural photography. Howarth accuses Mitchell Construction Group of copying a Howarth photograph of a kitchen cabinet and using it without license on Mitchell’s website. Specifically, the photograph is alleged to be included in Mitchell’s “5 Amazing Kitchen Cabinet Storage Options You Need To See!” on Mitchell’s blog. Howarth seeks injunctive relief, actual or statutory damages, and attorneys fees. The case is before Judge Saylor.