Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie's has conducted some of the most celebrated auctions through the centuries, providing a popular showcase for the unique and the beautiful. Christie's offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewelry, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Its competitor, Heritage, is the leading auction house in multiple collectibles categories, including rare coins and currency, entertainment memorabilia, sports memorabilia, comic books and comic art, natural historical items, and many other traditional auction categories. On December 9, 2016, Heritage filed suit alleging the digital art collection management service Collectrium, a subsidiary of Christie's, stole copyright protected images and data from Heritage's servers in order to drive Christie's sales. "The suit includes eight counts including individual counts for copyright infringement, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), harmful access by computer under Texas state law, trespassing, unfair competition, civil conspiracy and breach of contract. Heritage is seeking statutory damages of up to $150,000 per instance of copyright infringement, up to $25,000 for each replication of Heritage's content which concealed Heritage's copyright and up to $2,500 for each circumvention of technological protection means on HA.com. Given the alleged number of infringing listings and technological circumventions, this case could easily reach a multi-billion dollar verdict if it goes in favor of Heritage." Read more about the case in the story that we bring you this week authored by Steve Brachmann that also includes a link to the Complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
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