Video Blog 24: Why Were the Chicago Cubs Sued for Copyright Infringement? And what does it mean for the small business going into court?

Recently, the Chicago Cubs were sued for copyright infringement.

I kind of find it weird that I’m going to be suing a baseball team for copyright infringement. But it happened. Why?

Because the Cubs retweeted a tweet that was already the subject of a copyright infringement lawsuit.

So, the author and plaintiff of the original copyright lawsuit decided to file against the Cubs for the retweet.

I think it’s ridiculous as well, but it survived a motion to dismiss.


The judge in the case said . . .I personally don’t know if the retweet creates another copy and if it creates another copy, then there is contributory infringement on the copyright.

For those of us who have bachelor’s in computer science, we already know that that retweet doesn’t create another copy. It points to it. But I think this is the ultimate thought on intellectual property in the court system.

Judges aren’t gods, they’re people.

If a judge isn’t going to understand the situation, then you as a lawyer have to make the judge understand the situation. And in this particular case, it’s just a pointer to something that’s already infringed. And even that’s a question as well, if a tweet itself is enough to infringe a copyright.

There are multiple levels here where I think copyright infringement should fail, but the judge is keeping the case around because the judge doesn’t understand them.

That’s really, I think, our biggest frustration as IP practitioners when we’re in court, judges are coming from all sorts of different backgrounds. A lot of them especially if they’re, criminal defense lawyers or if they’re prosecutors, really don’t understand intellectual property. It’s our job to make them understand that.

So that’s what we’re really looking to do when we’re in court is start at the very beginning and make sure that the judge understands what the situation is.

I’m Anthony Verna, managing partner of Verna Law. We focus on IP and advertising law and hopefully we can help you through situations such as this to make sure that the judges understand why you are in court, either to prosecute intellectual property infringement or to defend yourself from complex intellectual property infringement claims.