COURT SHOOTS DOWN VIDEO GAME COMPANIES


In an earlier post , we reported that a wildlife photographer had sued various companies (including a coin-op game distributor and a software distributor) for copyright infringement.  The photographer claimed that the companies had infringed his copyrights by copying, distributing and displaying various images of deer and turkey which he photographed.  The photos were used in the video games 'Big Buck Hunter"?, 'Big Buck Hunter  Shooters' Challenge"? and 'Big Buck Hunter 2:  Sportsmen's Challenge"?. 

The defendants applied to transfer the case from Texas to Illinois. That request was recently denied. 

The court considered following factors (1) the convenience of the parties; (2) the convenience of material witnesses; (3) the availability of process to compel the presence of unwilling witnesses; (4) the cost of obtaining the presence of witnesses; (5) the relative ease of access to sources of proof; (6) calendar congestion; (7) where the events in issue took place; and, (8) the interests of justice in general.

The court's comments on factors 7 and 8 are interesting. On factor 7, the court noted that although the products are marketed and sold nation-wide, the centre of gravity of the activity is the place where the infringing party designed and manufactured the product. On factor 8, the court noted that the plaintiff's choice of forum should be accorded substantial weight, especially when the plaintiff is an individual, resident of the forum and where the defendants are non-resident corporations.
The case doesn't appear to be reported yet, but the citation is Biggsv.Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC, [2005] U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14548 (Tex. Dist. Ct.) (July 20, 2005).

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