Stellar Records, a company that obtains copyrights to songs which it then re-records as karaoke versions, sued William Urbanowski of Southbridge, Massachusetts, accusing him of purchasing computer hard drives and laptops from Mark Mann, an individual with whom Stellar is presently engaged in copyright infringement litigation in Arizona. Stellar asserts that the products bought by Urbanowski for a total of $795 contained at least 250,000 karaoke recordings, apiece, and that the cost, had Urbanowski purchased lawful copies at retail, would have been more than $741,000, and that this significant price difference should have alerted Urbanowski that the recordings were pirated copies. Stellar asserts that it owns the copyright on at least 264 of the recordings bought by Urbanowksi, and brings claims of willful contributory copyright infringement, saying that Urbanowski’s ordering of the hard drives induced Mann to create unlawful copies of the songs onto the hard drives. In addition to destruction of the accused products and an award of attorneys’ fees, Stellar seeks statutory damages of between $750 and $150,000 per work infringed, for a total of between $198,000 and $39.6 million.
Biologist Alexander Wild, who is the Curator of Entomology at the University of Texas at Austin, takes surprisingly beautiful photographs of insects. His works, some of which can be seen on his website, have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, and elsewhere. Mr. Wild discovered that one of his photos, depicting a German cockroach, was being used on a website run by Wrightson Services, a pest control service in Grafton Massachusetts that operates under the name Bug Bully Pest Control. Wild claims to have contacted Bug Bully on several occasions about its use of the photo, but the photo was not removed, triggering the suit. Wild claims direct, contributory and vicarious copyright infringement. The case is assigned to Magistrate Judge Hennessy in the Worcester division.