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Conrad v. AM Community Credit Union

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

April 14, 2014

CATHERINE CONRAD, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
AM COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION, et al., Defendants-Appellees

Submitted, March 19, 2014

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. No. 3:13-cv-00461-bbc -- Barbara B. Crabb, Judge.

Catherine Conrad, Plaintiff - Appellant, Pro se, Madison, WI.

For AM Community Credit Union, Todd Streeter, Defendanst - Appellees: Patryk W. Silver, Borgelt, Powell, Peterson & Frauen, Madison, WI.

For Lori M. Saucier, Midcoast Federal Credit Union, CREDIT UNION NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, INCORPORATED, Cuna Management School, Defendants - Appellees: Aaron Abramson Seligman, Godfrey & Kahn S.C., Madison, WI.

Before POSNER, KANNE, and TINDER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 635

Posner, Circuit Judge

Catherine Conrad, the plaintiff, is a self-employed singing and dancing entertainer (also a writer and motivational speaker, see " Bananaland," www. bananalady.com/about.htm, visited on April 10, 2014, as were the other websites cited in this opinion). She calls herself the " Banana Lady" and performs wearing a costume in the shape of a giant banana. You can watch her dancing the " Banana Shake" on YouTube, www.youtube.com/watch?v=DG-QJWW6w5c. Here is a still photo, which is in the record, of her performing in her costume.

Proceeding pro se, Conrad has sued several credit unions in this case, together with a trade association of credit unions and employees of the institutional defendants, charging a variety of infringements of her intellectual property rights. The district judge granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the case. She noted that most of Conrad's claims were pre-cluded by an earlier suit that she'd filed and lost in a Wisconsin state court--and just last month the dismissal of her claims in that suit was affirmed. Rigsby v. AM Community Credit Union, 2014 WI App 45, 353 Wis.2d 553, 846 N.W.2d 33, 2014 WL 1059048 (Wis. App. March 20, 2014) (per curiam). That left just the claim of copyright infringement,

Page 636

over which federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction but which the district judge dismissed on the ground that the claim had no merit.

The defendants had hired Conrad to perform a " singing telegram" at a credit union trade association event. " Singing telegrams are a hilarious way to send a message that is a lot more fun than sending a fax, email, instant message or greeting card. Services that provide these telegrams will be happy to send someone over to sing, dance, or act out your message to the recipient. They'll even dress up to do it, in anything from a tuxedo and top hat to a gorilla suit! Singing telegrams spread cheer by bringing laughs into the workplace, home, public engagement, or party. You can hire 'Marilyn Monroe' to sing Happy Birthday to your boss, or 'Elvis' to sing All Shook Up to your wife on your 10th anniversary!" " What Are Singing Telegrams?," WISEGEEK, www.wisegeek.com/what-are-singing-telegrams.htm.

Conrad alleges (and for purposes of the appeal we take her factual allegations to be true) that she told the arrangers (who are the principal individual defendants) that members of the audience were not to take photos or videos of her performance except for their " personal use," which she believes, somewhat implausibly, excludes posting any of the photos on the photo taker's Facebook page. She further alleges that the arrangers failed to inform the audience of the limitation to personal use until her performance had ended, ...


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