A recently-filed copyright case pleads that one of defendant’s employees called and reported that the single-user license for a subscription was being exceeded. The plaintiff in Energy Intelligence Partners v. Fitch, publishes reports on the oil & gas markets. Fitch, or someone there, subscribed to the reports. The complaint, recently filed in Chicago, but earlier-filed in NYC, pleads the following:
…Plaintiff received a telephone call from an individual working in Defendant’s office informing Plaintiff of past, current and ongoing infringement of some of Plaintiff’s publications.
Ouch! This sort of whistleblowing in copyright cases is not uncommon where single-user software is being used on multiple machines. Seeing it pleaded in a case involving published and printed material suggests some interesting proof problems. The complaint attaches specimens and registrations, but not a copy of the alleged single-user license. Unless the reports were being copied wholesale and re-distributed, then what would prove infringment? Whatever else is disovered, deposing the mystery telephone reporter should be interesting.