Q: What happens when I'm sued in PA federal court for image copyright infringement but haven't lived in state since 2014?
I just moved to VA on Oct. 1, 2020 after living in MD for six years. Alleged infringements (I have EXCEPTIONALLY STRONG FAIR USE claim) came after I left PA. There are 225,000 fashion industry and cultural images on my website, and I've had zero problems in 13 years. I'm being sued personally and my business.
No DMCA notices were ever filed in either dispute. CA mega-Atty Stephen Doniger had easy phone and email access to me via his clients. Doniger never notified me until Aug. 14, 2020 that two cases had been filed on May 30, 2020 and an immediate settlement was required, as my court response was due Aug. 31. Doniger agreed in writing cases would be moved to VA. Now he went into PA court, demanding we proceed anyway.
My focus is organizing a comprehensive legal strategy from VA. I understand that I have a serious problem on my hands. On 10/8 Atty Stephen Doniger dropped this new bombshell that undercuts everything he said he would do with my move to VA. So I am spinning.
You need to consult a litigation firm. There are many variables in this scenario that must be considered to determine a prudent course of action, including but not limited to: are the allegedly infringed images federally registered? were they registered AFTER first publication? can/should the two cases be merged? can the cases be moved to Va? what does the Court "scheduling order" say - are there any deadlines approaching? are you being sued personally or is it your business? Also, you left PA, moved to VA on Oct. 1, then infringements happened, but opposing counsel notified you on Aug. 14 - there seems to be some dates or places missing in that timeline...
As you note, you're "spinning" - it'd be best to contact an attorney for guidance to avoid making a critical mistake (like missing a court deadline) and compounding the problems.
Fair use, by the way, is a defense, not an inoculation against being sued.
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