Dudnikov and Meadors v. Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts, Inc., and SevenArts, Ltd.
Karen Dudnikov and Michael Meadors filed this case against Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts, Inc., and SevenArts, Ltd., claiming that the companies wrongfully invoked the notice-and-takedown provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to interfere with their sale of parody fabric on eBay. The district court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss on the ground that the case should have been filed in New York or Great Britain, where the companies are headquartered, rather than in the plaintiffs’ home state of Colorado. Representing the plaintiffs on appeal, Public Citizen argued that individuals unfairly targeted by illegitimate claims of infringement for online activity should be able to defend their rights in their home state, without being forced to litigate in a foreign jurisdiction. Otherwise, companies could interfere with critical Internet sites at will, leaving those targeted without a reasonable and affordable remedy. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, holding that the plaintiffs had adequately stated that the non-resident copyright owner had intentionally and wrongfully interfered with their business, that the action arose out of the owner’s contacts with the forum state, that the conduct of the owner was the proximate cause of the action, and that exercising personal jurisdiction over the copyright owner would not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.