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James Dean estate sues Twitter over ‘@JamesDean’

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The estate of legendary Indiana film star James Dean has sued Twitter, claiming the Internet giant permitted the unauthorized personal Twitter account @JamesDean.

CMG Worldwide Inc. of Carmel represents the Dean estate among numerous other intellectual properties of deceased celebrities. The company seeks an injunction and compensatory and punitive damages, as well as the identities of five people believed to have used the @JamesDean account.

The lawsuit was removed Friday from Hamilton Superior Court to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, where it is docketed before District Judge William T. Lawrence as James Dean Inc. et al v. Twitter, Inc., 1:14-cv-00183.

The suit claims Twitter allowed use of the @JamesDean account since at least September 2012 and that people using the account “placed objectionable content on the (Twitter) website.” It alleges that Twitter refused repeated requests from the CMG to cease unauthorized use of the trademarked James Dean name and copyrighted photos.

CMG claims trademark infringement, false endorsement, violation of Indiana’s Right of Publicity statute, unfair competition, unjust enrichment, conversion and deception.   

The complaint also includes a list of tweets from the account as shown Dec. 31, 2013, in which @JamesDean had 7,899 followers. Another exhibit shows communication between lawyers for the estate and Twitter in which Twitter “determined that (@JamesDean) is not in violation of Twitter’s Trademark Policy. The account is not being used in a way that is misleading or confusing with regard to its brand, location or business affiliation.”

Tuesday, the number of @JamesDean followers had risen to more than 8,300, where tweets about the suit dominated dozens of posts since Monday.
 

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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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