'12th Man' copyright case reaches 12th month: Ala. author counters TAMU's dismissal request

By John Suayan | Jan 23, 2018

HOUSTON – A year after an Alabama book publisher and his company initiated legal action against Texas A&M University and its athletic department for copyright infringement, the case remains far from a conclusion.

Recent Houston federal court records indicate that Michael J. Bynum and Canada Hockey LLC, doing business as Epic Sports, pushed back against TAMU’s request for the dismissal of their suit.

TAMU is accused of stealing Bynum’s written work on E. King Gill, the famed individual behind the school’s 12th Man tradition, and copied and distributed it – according to Bynum – “as if it was their own.”

According to the plaintiffs, the subject work titled “An A&M Legend Comes to Life” (the “Gill Biography”) was published on the official Web site for news about Aggie athletics with a new title and Bynum’s name removed.

According to TAMU lore, Gill was a student who voluntarily suited up for the Aggies during a football game against Centre College.

TAMU, meanwhile, seeks to have the case junked on grounds it is “an entity that has no legal capacity to be sued.”

Per the school, the individuals being sued – Brad Marquardt, Alan Cannon, and Lane Stephenson – have sovereign immunity and qualified immunity protections since they are government employees.

The plaintiffs counter that TAMU’s motion should not be granted since is “neither the State nor an ‘arm of the State.’” They also insist sovereign immunity does not shield it from their allegations.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas Case No. 4:17-CV-0181

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