College Football Coach Sued Over Retweet
Bell v. King’s College, et al., 17-cv-01725 (M.D. Penn.)
By Casey Mock
In September 2017, King’s College and its head football coach were sued for copyright infringement over a retweet. The complaint was filed by Dr. Keith F. Bell, a sports psychology and performance consultant, who authored a motivational book entitled Winning Isn’t Normal, which was first published in 1982. Dr. Bell alleges that Jeffery Knarr, the head football coach at King’s College, committed copyright infringement by retweeting the following image showing a portion of his book:
According to the complaint, the book has enjoyed substantial acclaim, distribution and publicity. Because of its success, Dr. Bell creates, markets, and sells derivative works featuring Winning Isn’t Normal, such as posters and t-shirts that display a portion of Winning Isn’t Normal. Knarr’s post was a retweet of a post by Northeastern State University’s baseball team, which removed the original post after receiving a cease and desist letter from Dr. Bell. Even so, Bell alleges that King’s College failed to direct Knarr to remove the infringing post. Bell is also claiming trademark infringement for unauthorized use of his “Winning Isn’t Normal” trademark.