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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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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