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Pizza chain sued for Rockwell-themed ads

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The owners of the rights to Normal Rockwell art are suing a Michigan-based pizza company for re-creating a famous painting to sell pizzas during the holidays.

The Saturday Evening Post Society, Inc. and Curtis Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis companies, filed a lawsuit June 3 in U.S. District Court against Hungry Howie's Pizza & Subs and other defendants for creating and publishing a number of variations on Rockwell's "Freedom From Want" panting. The Hungry Howie's advertisements replicated the familiar scene of a family gathered around a table at Thanksgiving, but replaced the turkey with a Hungry Howie's pizza box. Curtis Publishing owned the copyrights to the painting until May 1, 2010, when the Saturday Evening Post Society purchased them.

Curtis learned in November 2009 that Hungry Howie's had created a multi-state advertising campaign using a version of Rockwell's famous painting. The company never received permission to recreate the image, so Curtis requested the pizza company stop using the ads. The ads continued to run through the holiday season.

Curtis and the Saturday Evening Post Society filed their suit in the Indianapolis Division, seeking injunctive relief, damages, and a jury trial. The companies claim Hungry Howie's has committed copyright infringement and conversion, received unjust enrichment, and violated Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act.

Also named as defendants in the suit, The Saturday Evening Post Society, Inc., et al. v. Hungry Howie's Pizza & Subs, Inc., et al., No. 1:10-CV-680, are the owners and operators of various Hungry Howie's franchises, and a Michigan-based advertising agency.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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