Illinois Federal Court Holds That False-CMI Claims Fail Where the CMI is Not on the Same Webpage as the Copyrighted Text
On February 8, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed a false-copyright management information (CMI) claim because the allegedly false CMI was not on the same webpage as the text at issue. Personal Keepsakes, Inc. v. Personalizationmall.com, Inc., No. 1:11-cv-05177, 2012 WL 414803 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 8, 2012). The plaintiff used a website to sell keepsake items that incorporated poetry it had written and copyrighted. Competing websites later copied that poetry and incorporated it into their own products. The plaintiff sued these competitors after discovering that their website terms and conditions suggested that they, not the plaintiff, had copyrighted the poems. The plaintiff claimed that by doing so, its competitors violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s prohibition on “conveying” false CMI. The court disagreed, however, and held that because plaintiff had not posted the CMI in close proximity to the poems, it was not “conveyed” with the poems and could not form the basis of a false-CMI claim as a matter of law.