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ASK THE ART ADVISOR: What Does Copyright Infringement Mean?

Copyright infringement plaintiff as a full-time profession.

Elliot McGucken posts hundreds of fantastic photos all over the Internet. Then when people use them, he files dozens of federal lawsuits for copyright infringement. On August 4, 2022, serial litigant McGucken filed his latest copyright infringement lawsuit in U.S. District Court, Central District of California.

This time McGucken is suing Lonely Planet for using his Yosemite photographs. Lonely Planet is a publisher of some of the best tour guide books that I have ever personally used on this sad and beautiful planet. Here is a free pdf of the complaint filed last week in downtown Los Angeles.

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Vexatious Serial Litigant

Mr. McGucken files more lawsuits than I have ever seen one man file. Elliot McGucken even threatened to sue me. Unfortunately, under the law, McGucken’s name can never be added to the vexatious litigant list. The courts will only deem a serial copyright infringement litigant vexatious if she is pro se. McGucken has several different law firms in several different states working for him. Therefore, since he never represents himself, he can never be deemed a vexatious litigant by the courts. It does not appear that there is a federal vexatious litigant list. There is an official vexatious litigant list for for State Court but McGucken’s name is not on it.

mcgucken copyright infringement lawsuit threats
Photography: Marcus Winkler/Unsplash

McGucken’s lawsuits dilute his brand

Dr. Elliot McGucken is an excellent professional photographer. The man has a fascinating web presence. He seems to be a well-educated gentleman. So why does he have fifty or so active copyright infringement lawsuits in federal court?

The Lawyers Are Happy

Maybe the slowdown in demand for legal services has made McGucken’s attorneys desperate. Sue-happy Elliot McGucken is a plaintiff lawyers dream when it comes to producing work product and billable hours. Perhaps McGucken has five different law firms filing cases for him because there is no other work available. McGucken solves the problem of unemployed lawyers.

Latest law firm financial data signals trouble ahead 

A drop in demand for legal services, combined with rising pay and overhead costs, could spell trouble for the financial outlook of U.S. law firms his year, reports Karen Sloan.

The Thomson Reuters Law Firm Financial Index, a quarterly composite score of demand, expenses, rates, productivity and other economic indicators at large and midsize law firms released today, fell to its lowest point this past quarter since its 2006 founding.

A year ago, the index was at an all time high. What changed?

Demand for law firm services fell half a percentage point from a year ago, with corporate demand seeing a major drop. Meanwhile, direct expenses, the bulk of which are lawyer pay, were more than 12% higher in the second quarter of 2022 than a year ago.

relief from a copyright infringement judgment
McGucken v Kantor, Schachter, et al., Complaint Exhibit A

By Dean McAdams

Born a poor peckerwood in a Tujunga holler, Dean overeducated himself beyond his social station to end up a retired paralegal in the coastal paradise of West L.A.