Author and nationally syndicated broadcast personality Michael Baisden is headed to court over a copyright-infringement lawsuit. Documents filed in the lawsuit allege that I'm Ready Productions, Inc., Image Entertainment, Inc., ALW Entertainment, Inc., Je'Caryous Johnson and Gary Guidry conspired to tour a stage play without Baisden's permission and sold DVDs based on Baisden's best-selling novels, The Maintenance Man and Men Cry in the Dark, in violation of federal copyright laws. The lawsuit alleges that the men conspired to use Baisden's image and likeness to promote the DVDs without Baisden's consent. In a press release, Baisden issued the following statement:
This is my day in court in my fight to recover my intellectual property rights and prevent these Defendants from continuing to infringe upon my copyrighted novels," These novels are like my children. They reflect years of hard work in writing them and promoting them to the level where they became best sellers. In the end, I hope I can also send a message to other copyright holders that they have a right to take a stand and fight those who are trying to steal their copyrighted works.
In the lawsuit, Baisden seeks an injunction to prevent the defendants from any further use of the copyrighted works The Maintenance Man and Men Cry in the Dark. He is also seeking an award of actual damages, enhanced damages and attorneys' fees for having to institute a lawsuit to stop the defendants' infringement. The trial is set to begin Feb. 14, 2011, in Houston in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
This probably isn't the Valentine's Day present that the defendants had in mind. This is more like a St. Valentine's Day massacre-type of present. Intellectual-property rights are real and not imagined. While you cannot copyright an idea, you can copyright a written work. The Maintenance Man and Men Cry in the Dark qualify. If Baisden wins this lawsuit, then we suspect that there will be fewer folks "borrowing" ideas from more established writers in the future.
Read more at Baisden Live.
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