The 12th Man is at odds once again. But this time it doesn’t have to deal with the Seattle Seahawks and the “12s” A lawsuit filed by a sports historian and his publisher against the school’s athletic department and its employees for a copyright infringement claim from a long-form article appearing on the school’s website.
However, the Plaintiffs’ claim that the author of the article was under a “work for hire” agreement to write the article. Although TAMU attempted to rectify the situation by an apology, seeking permission and a reprint with a promotion of the book according to TAMU’s motion, but the Plaintiffs were not happy and a lawsuit ensued.
TAMU claims that the athletic department cannot be sued due to the fact that it is not a legal entity. Moreover, even if the Plaintiffs were to correct the lawsuit with TAMU as defendant, it is immune due to sovereign immunity. The rationale is that as a state entity, TAMU could not be sued for copyright infringement for money damages because it would be considered a “taking” under the 5th Amendment which TAMU argues is unconstitutional. It also argues that the claims should be brought in state court as opposed to the filing in federal court.
The lawsuit will be an interesting look at the perils of copyright infringement and “work for hire.” Here, even when TAMU attempts to rectify the situation, it could not avoid the lawsuit. This will be an interesting case to look at although it might not make it pass the 12(b)(6) stage.