Chicago, Illinois, December 10, 1999
A lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois was served today against Reactor, Inc. and the company’s operators, alleging violations of the U.S. Copyright Act (direct, contributory and vicarious infringement and copyright management information tampering), the Lanham Act (false attribution of origin), the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, the Illinois Unfair Trade Practices Act, and the Illinois Right of Privacy Statute.
The suit was brought by Suze Randall Photography, General Media Communications (publisher of Penthouse Magazine), and two individual models. The suit was coordinated by APIC-Worldwide (http://www.a-w.org/), a group working to preserve the right of content creators in diverse industries on the Internet.
According to Steve Easton, director of APIC-Worldwide, “a lot of people see electronic commerce as an easy way to make a buck. Unfortunately, some people try to make a buck by selling other people’s property. Even e-commerce businesses have ‘inventory’ costs. Reactor has been selling other people’s intellectual property without paying for the ‘inventory’ on its Web site– it will pay now.”
Although these particular plaintiffs are in the adult entertainment industry, the legal issues are the same as in any other industry. The media often draws attention to the amount of sexually-oriented material on-line. The vast majority of this material is infringing. By simply enforcing existing intellectual property laws, and the rights of the models to control how their images are used, the amount of this material available on the Internet will be reduced.
Easton claims that the music and adult entertainment industries suffer from the largest volume of infringement on the Internet, but cites this suit as an example of how content producers are banding together to address their common infringement problem by sharing resources.
Copies of the complaint can be obtained from David Loundy at D’Ancona & Pflaum LLC, the Chicago law firm representing the plaintiffs. (312) 602-2000.