The Plaintiff in this copyright lawsuit is a professional photographer from Sammamish, Washington. He sells “limited edition luxury nature photography.” Pretty cool stuff, go check it out.
The Defendants are a real estate agency located in Portland, Oregon, who allegedly used one of Plaintiff’s photographs on their website without permission.
That’s all pretty standard stuff for a copyright lawsuit. We see those types of photography lawsuits regularly, since copyright infringement is strict liability, meaning liability doesn’t depend on actual negligence or intent to harm. Even the proposed settlement amount was reasonable by all accounts, just $1000 (statutory damages are $750 minimum). The more interesting part of this lawsuit may be the reason why the parties couldn’t amicably settle the dispute outside of court.
Settlement discussions apparently broke down over a confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement. Per the Complaint (below), “Defendants’ counsel did not wish to be personally bound by confidentiality ostensibly on account of an article that Defendants’ counsel intended to submit to California Lawyer magazine.” Defendants’ counsel also “apparently believed that amicable settlement was not prudent, as these types of cases ‘need more exposure.'”
Of course, we’re more than happy to give Oregon trademark and copyright cases tons of exposure here at the Oregon Intellectual Property Blog. Stay tuned for updates (and perhaps eventually a California Lawyer article with more detail).
Reed v. Ezelle Investment Properties Inc. et al.
Court Case Number: 3:17-cv-01364-BR
File Date: Thursday, August 31, 2017
Plaintiff: Aaron C. Reed
Plaintiff Counsel:Mathew K. Higbee, Esq. of HIGBEE & ASSOCIATES
Defendant: Ezelle Investment Properties Inc. d/b/a Ezelleinvestproperties.com, Glenn D. Ezelle Jr., Does 1-10
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Anna J. Brown
There are additional documents filed in this lawsuit, including an Answer and Amended Answer. They are available online, the same place you obtained the Complaint. They also include more of the emails between the lawyers (I am the attorney for the Defendants) if you want to download them, or I perhaps I can do them as an attachment in another Reply to this blog. I can also make other correspondence available if you are interested. Thank you.
David Brown said:
You mention that you are more than happy to give exposure to intellectual property cases, but you neither post my comments, nor include the pleadings and other documentation I reference or offer. You can contact me directly, but it seems like your posts are more just shilling for some services you offer, presumably for a fee? I don’t want to waste anyones time if this “blog” is just an ad. Cheers.