April 17, 2014

“The Librarian” Makes Noise: Copyright Claims Included in Multi-Count Complaint Detailing Split Between LLC Members

Assertions of copyright infringement, breach of contract, and tortious activity appear in a 30-page complaint filed by and against LLCs and individuals all based in the Atlanta metro area.

On November 20, 2012, Brightharbour Consulting, LLC3Lins, LLC, Alden D. Kent, and Hsi-Ming Lin filed a complaint in the Atlanta Division of the Northern District of Georgia against Docuconsulting, LLC, Pivot LLC, Broadwater LLC, Richard Lee, and Daniel Haggerty. The complaint asserts copyright infringement counts and a count under O.C.G.A § 13-6-11 against all defendants, as well as other counts against all defendants except Broadwater, namely, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, civil conspiracy, and breach of contract.

The complaint includes the following allegations:

  • In November of 2008, Brightharbour LLC and Pivot LLC, owned by Alden Kent and Richard Lee respectively, joined to form Docuconsulting LLC (“Docuconsulting”).  Docuconsulting specializes in “…the business of assisting insurance companies and companies in the insurance industry to improve their processes through computer software technology.”  Several months later, 3Lins, LLC and Broadwater LLC, owned and operated by Hsi-Ming Lin and Daniel Haggerty, respectively, joined Docuconsulting.

  • On January 1, 2011, the members of Docuconsulting LLC (namely, Brightharbour, Pivot, 3Lins, and Broadwater) entered into an Operating Agreement (Exhibit A to the complaint).  The agreement established Lin, Kent, Lee and Haggerty as Docuconsulting’s managers, and split its ownership to 25% per member, with distributable profits paid to each owner.

  • “From November 2008, until March 2012, Plaintiffs Brightharbour and 3Lins received compensation through member distributions.”  However, the Docuconsulting distributable cash to which they were entitled under the Operating Agreement has not been paid to them since February 2012, and certain other distributable cash has been withheld since 2010.

  • All 4 Docuconsulting members had access to the Docuconsulting bank account until approximately January 2012, when the defendants, “…transferred all of the funds from the Docuconsulting bank account to a new account in which Lee and Haggerty, on behalf of Pivot and Broadwater, are the sole signatories.”

  • Since February 2012, 3Lins and Brightharbour “…have not been provided with any distributions…resulting in not getting paid their share of over $500,000.”  During this same time period the defendants have allegedly transferred an inordinate amount of funds to Pivot, Broadwater, and their owners.

  • Alden Kent and Hsi-Ming Lin are the creators and owners of a software program called The Librarian.  Additionally, Kent is the sole author and owner of a software program called ExPRS Manual Correspondence.  Both The Librarian and ExPRS Manual Correspondence were registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.[1]

  • Both programs “are being used without the permission of Plaintiffs Kent and Lin by the Defendants or and with customers of Docuconsulting.”  Defendants Lee and Haggerty have allegedly blocked the plaintiffs’ access to essential work materials since April of 2012, “…preventing them from participating in Docuconsulting’s operations and from performing work for Docuconsulting’s clients and customers.” Since that time, Docuconsulting, Lee, and Haggerty have continued to use both aforementioned software programs without permission, resulting in the collection of profits to which they are not entitled.

  • Plaintiffs sent Defendants a cease-and-desist letter on October 17, 2012.

Plaintiffs seek an accounting as well as various forms of injunctive and monetary relief recited in the Copyright Act, stemming from their counts for direct, contributory, and vicarious copyright infringement as to both computer software programs. 

The case is Brightharbour Consulting LLC, 3Lins LLC, Alden D. Kent, and Hsi-Ming Lin v. Docuconsulting LLC, Pivot LLC, Broadwater LLC, Richard Lee, and Daniel Haggerty, Case No. 1:12-cv-4050-TWT, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, and is assigned to U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash Jr.

Note:  The assistance of Womble Carlyle paralegal Nick Vaughan in the preparation of the foregoing summary is gratefully acknowledged.

[1] According to on-line Copyright Office records, the Librarian program was registered on September 12, 2012, and the ExPRS Manual Correspondence program was registered on October 22, 2012.

Copyright © 2014 Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.

About the Author

Established in Winston-Salem in 1876, the firm now comprises 550 lawyers in 14 offices, including Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Greensboro, Research Triangle Park, Raleigh, NC; Atlanta, GA; Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, SC; Tysons Corner, VA; Washington, DC; Baltimore, MD, Wilmington, DE and Silicon Valley, CA..  A full-service business law firm, Womble Carlyle serves a wide range of regional, national and international clients in industries that include health care, life sciences, financial services, commercial real estate, intellectual property/patent, and telecommunications,...


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