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Granger v. Acme Abstract Co.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

September 27, 2012

John GRANGER, Plaintiff,
v.
ACME ABSTRACT COMPANY, Acme Abstract, LLC, Robert J. Lohr, II, and Ralph Shicatano, Defendants.

Page 420

John Granger, Sinking Spring, PA, pro se.

Matthew George Hauber, Robert J. Lohr, Lohr & Hauber, Ltd., West Chester, PA, for defendants.

OPINION

HILLMAN, District Judge.

This matter has come before the Court on defendants' motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's claims that defendants violated plaintiff's copyrighted title insurance calculators when they posted the calculators on their website. For the reasons expressed below, defendants' motion will be granted.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, John Granger, claims that in 2002 he created the " Pennsylvania Title Insurance Calculator" and the " New Jersey Insurance Calculator" for use on the internet, and he registered these works with the U.S. Copyright Office on October 2, 2006. In his complaint, plaintiff contends that in October 2003, defendants Acme Abstract Company and Acme Abstract,

Page 421

LLC,[1] their managing member, defendant Robert J. Lohr II, and their website designer, defendant Ralph Shicatano, infringed on his copyrights when his title insurance calculators were placed on their website, which advertised their title insurance business. In May 2006, plaintiff sent defendants a letter in May 2006 informing them that it had come to his attention that his copyrighted title insurance calculators appeared on their website, and he requested that defendants provide him with a written licensing agreement allowing them to do so. " Silence beyond two weeks shall serve as proof that no written licensing agreement exists" between plaintiff and defendants. (Def. Ex. 1, May 2, 2006, Letter from John Granger to Acme defendants.)

Lohr attempted to contact plaintiff by telephone and email, but plaintiff never responded back. Defendants removed both calculators from the website by May 8, 2006. After not hearing again from plaintiff for several years, on May 1, 2009, plaintiff served defendants with his instant complaint, claiming copyright infringement and other violations, including tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, fraudulent business practices, and unfair competition. Defendants have moved for summary judgment in their favor on all claims. Plaintiff has opposed defendants' motion.[2]

DISCUSSION

A. Jurisdiction

This Court has jurisdiction over plaintiff's federal claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff's state law claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

B. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate where the Court is satisfied that the materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations, admissions, or interrogatory answers, demonstrate that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Celo ...


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