The owner of a self-described mom-and-pop book-publishing outfit in Philadelphia has filed a federal copyright infringement lawsuit against a New Jersey man, alleging the defendant fraudulently bootlegged copies of works produced by the plaintiff for personal gain.
Attorney Simon Rosen filed the civil action Oct. 10 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Teri Woods and her business, Teri Woods Publishing, based in Center City, Philadelphia.
The defendants named in the lawsuit are DeSean Williams, a/k/a Jimmie Benjamin, of Plainfield, N.J.; United Book Press, Inc. of Baltimore, MD; Gasch Printing, Inc. of Odenton, MD; Horizon Books, Inc. f/k/a Culture Plus Distribution and Hakim Hopkins, doing business as Black and Noble Bookstore, both based in Philadelphia; Harlem Book Stores of New York, NY; and Urban Knowledge Bookstore, LLC and Carl Weber, doing business as Urban Knowledge Bookstore, both of Baltimore, MD.
According to the complaint, plaintiff Woods filed copyright applications with the U.S. Library of Congress in 2005 for two literary works. Two certificates of registration were soon issued to the plaintiff.
This year, the plaintiff once again filed a copyright application with the Library of Congress for an additional piece of work, which was the third in a trilogy of books, the first two being the subject of the previous copyright registrations.
“Plaintiff Woods is the undisputed copyright claimant in regard to these three literary works,” the lawsuit states.
Nevertheless, Woods soon learned that defendant Williams was engaged in the “unlawful bootleg manufacturing, distribution and sale of plaintiffs’ books,” the lawsuit claims.
The complaint alleges that Williams created at least 70,000 illegal copies of the plaintiff’s works, for which Woods received no compensation. Williams, however, received “substantial financial benefit as a result of his illegal and illicit actions,” the suit states.
The lawsuit claims that Williams enlisted the services of the various codefendants to illegally print, manufacture and distribute the bootlegged books.
The complaint alleges that Williams also enlisted the help of others in his operation, but the identities of the others are unknown at this time, and may become known through the process of discovery.
The lawsuit contains various counts of copyright infringement, civil conspiracy, unjust enrichment, accounting, constructive trust, violations of New Jersey’s Rico Statute – which is related to racketeering – invasion of privacy, and civil rights violations.
Woods demands judgment in the form of unspecified compensatory damages, treble and statutory damages, counsel fees and other court relief deemed proper.
Woods is demanding a jury trial.
The federal case number is 2:11-cv-06341-RK.