Recently, U.S. District Judge John F. Grady dismissed a copyright infringement suit brought against the band Mötley Crüe in alleging the band improperly used copyrighted photos of themselves – photos acquired and copyrighted by Plaintiff Ron Toma in 2008 – as backdrops for recent rock concerts. Toma filed suit against the band in the Northern District of Illinois.
Judge Grady’s decision noted that the band had only “sporadic” contacts with Illinois, making the state an inappropriate forum for the action, stating “[t]hese contacts are extensive in the aggregate, but they are insufficient to meet the demanding standard required to subject the defendants to general jurisdiction.” Still, Judge Grady noted that Toma was free to file his suit elsewhere – so long as it occurred outside of Illinois.
Notably, this is not the first time that Toma has sued the band over the same photographs. He has already sued and settled two actions against the band over the shots. In one of the those suits, settled in March of this year, Toma alleged that the band and Live Nation Merchandise Inc. sold t-shirts bearing the copyright images without his permission.