Los Angeles, CA asked in Intellectual Property for California

Q: Hi there! Do I have to pay this fee of $250 to absolve me from an infringement or is there a way to dispute it?

I sold one shirt on Etsy for $15 with the quote “Still I Rise” and the words “Maya Angelou” in the description. Now her company is trying to fine me $250. Do I have to pay?

Here is an excerpt from the email they’ve sent:

“Indiana’s statute is very clear on this point: “advertising or soliciting purchases of products, merchandise, goods, services, or for promoting commercial activities” are not exempted from a right of publicity infringement claim. Ind. Code § 32-36-1-2. There are also state laws that specify that they will apply in regard to any acts that occurred within that state’s borders. For instance, Indiana Code Section 32-36-1-1 explicitly states “This chapter applies to an act or event that occurs within Indiana, regardless of a personality's domicile, residence, or citizenship.” Therefore, products or services sold or advertised through interstate commerce that are available to Indiana residents through the internet would be subject to Indiana’s statute

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2 Lawyer Answers
Bill Hulsey
Bill Hulsey

A: This probably would not be a state law question. More information is requested.

Marcos Garciaacosta agrees with this answer

A: This is very typical and I see it all the time.

You can try to negotiate.

They may or may not sue you and it will cost you more to defend yourself.

If you pay, check if they give you a license to use it, or if it is just for the damages they calculated with that promotion or sale.

Consult with an attorney.

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