On Wednesday, Prepared Food Photos Inc., formerly known as Adlife Marketing and Communications Co. Inc., filed a complaint in the Western District of Michigan against Jack’s Foods of Menominee, Inc. for infringing upon their copyright of pictures of food for their stores.
The plaintiffs license “high-end, professional photographs” for the food industry where they charge their clients $999.00 per month for access to their library of “tens of thousands of professional images.” The plaintiff owns all of its images and customers are not allowed to sub-license or reproduce any of their images. According to the complaint, the defendant published a picture of strawberry rhubarb pie on their website without paying for a subscription or asking the consent of Prepared Food Photos.
As a result, the plaintiffs are suing for copyright infringement for “reproducing, distributing, and publicly displaying the Work for its own commercial purposes.” Furthermore, they claim that the “Defendant’s infringement was willful as it acted with actual knowledge or reckless disregard for whether its conduct infringed upon Plaintiff’s copyright” and that they most likely understand that high-end food photography “is not generally available for free.” Thus, the plaintiffs are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, actual damages and disgorgement, pre-judgment interest, attorney’s fees and costs, and other relief.
Within the past several months, Prepared Food Photos filed several lawsuits against companies for similar reasons, including a Michigan restaurant, a Pennsylvanian pizzeria, and a meat processing company for using the Internet to find their licensed photographs and for publishing them on their respective menus and websites without properly paying the plaintiffs for licensing. Prepared Food Photos have sued all of them for identical charges and many of these cases are still underway.
The plaintiffs are represented by Copycat Legal PLLC.