Personal Keepsakes, Inc. v., Inc., No. 11 C 5177, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Feb. 8, 2012) (Kendall, J.).

Judge Kendall granted defendant’s various Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss plaintiff Personal Keepsakes’ (PKI”) Digital Millenium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), Lanham Act and related state law claims in this case involving copyrighted poems.

Lanham Act

Defendants were not passing off their goods as PKI’s. The pictures PKI put in its complaint showed that “at worst” defendants copied PKI’s copyrighted poems. This was not repackaging. Defendants may have used PKI’s poem, but not the identical products.

The Court held that not identifying PKI as the author was not Lanham Act false designation. Origin refers to producers, not authors.


PKI’s alleged copyright management information (“CMI”) was not in fact CMI. The website listed on the goods was not the owner of the copyrights, PKI was, so the website was not CMI. Similarly, the titles listed on the goods were not CMI because they were not the titles identified in the copyright registrations and could not, therefore, be used to search for the copyright registrations. Because none of the information was linkable to the copyright registrations, it was not CMI.

Defendant Pmall did place a within its allegedly infringing poems. Because that could falsely suggest that Pmall owned a copyright in the poem, PKI did state a DMCA claim against Pmall. Finally, website terms and conditions claiming an ownership in unspecified intellectual property were not false statements of ownership with respect to the poems that could support a DMCA claim.

State Law Claims

PKI’s state law claims were preempted by the Copyright Act. PKI claimed that they sounded in unfair competition, but copyright claims inherently include elements of unfair competition.