For Immediate Release
Settlement Reached On "Cloned" Website Allegations
Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures And Elliot Institute Agree to Final Order
Jefferson City, MO (April 15, 2006) – A final order settling the suit by the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures against Elliot Institute has been agreed to by both parties. The settlement brings to an end court proceedings over the allegations that the Elliot Institute violated the look and feel, copyrights, trademarks of the Coalition.
In hearings prior to the settlement, the Elliot Institute presented evidence that it did in fact have licenses from Getty Images to use the three images forming the top banner used at both websites. The Elliot Institute's director David Reardon says these images were at the core of the controversy and were deliberately used by the Elliot Institute, within rules allowed by copyright law, to make a political statement about "cloning."
"Copyright law specifically allows for mimicry and even mockery," said Reardon. "And our license with Getty proves that the Coalition for LifeTaking Cures had no standing to prevent us from using the images as we did.".
"Ironically, the political motivation of this attack against our initiative is underscored by evidence introduced in this case by the Coalition for LifeTaking Cures itself. Their own documents shows that they did not even buy their own license to these Getty images until the day they filed suit against us," said Reardon.
In a response to the complaint filed with the court, Reardon argued that the temporary restraining order which caused www.ElliotInstitute.org to be temporarily shut down for approximately ten days was obtained by misleading the court about the licenses to the image that had been purchased by the Coalition on the day the suit was filed. According to documentation submitted by Reardon, the Coalition's licenses were not exclusive licenses, as had been indicated to the court at the temporary injunction hearing.
"As demonstrated in our response to the complaint and the evidence we submitted," said Reardon, "we believe these allegations were completely baseless and merely an attempt to stifle our initiative effort. But the plaintiffs have stated in court that they have spent over $100,000 in legal costs pursuing this matter. And they have also shown that they are prepared to spend far more. They are prepared to prolong this matter as long as necessary until they can declare some sort of victory. This settlement gives them a way to save face. And unfortunately it is a settlement that we needed to accept because we simply don't have the resources to resist this legal bullying, which could go on for years."
Reardon says that in order to free himself and the Elliot Institute to do pursue more important work with their limited resources, they have agreed to the entry of a final judgment by the court which settles all matters.
The final judgment does not involve any admission of guilt or determination of facts or judgments of law. It instead merely puts into a court order an agreement between both parties that the Elliot Institute shall not directly or indirectly use the "trademarks, trade dress, graphic design, or any html or other source code used in Plaintiff's website."
"This was easy for us to agree to," said Reardon, "since we were already complying with copyright and trademark law. But giving them the small victory of a permanent restraining order, even a meaningless one, was the price exacted to settle this harassment suit."
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Copies of court documents: