It would be a serious mistake to not at least visit with an initial consultation with a local attorney on the matter. It may be that you have no obligation, or it may be that you can get hit pretty hard if you don't cooperate.
People put clauses like that in contracts, and they are rarely enforceable. If you need to file the bankruptcy, make sure to let your attorney know. If the rules are similar to most other places, and there is no weird set of facts, you file the bankruptcy and they can't do anything about it. They are often called "ipso facto" clauses, and are unenforceable. But there are exceptions - see your attorney.
You CAN garnish a bank account before judgment, but only under particular circumstances.
You should be able to find an attorney that can listen to your questions and explain it to you for less than $100. If you call the Houston Bar Association, I suspect that you can find an attorney who will listen to your story and answer your questions for even less than that. Be aware that any kind of suit like this will run you more than $1000, and probably triple that.
This is a hard question to answer without sitting down and looking at the rest of your financial picture. The correct response has to include knowledge of what assets you might be putting at risk and the ease with which your creditors can come for you.
If the real question is: "I'm broke and can't afford a couple thousand bucks to file for bankruptcy, so what's the real risk by not doing anything?" AND you don't have any assets that your creditors can grab, then you may be okay because you...
All of the above. There are also statutory damages that you can demand and settle on that vary from $200 to $150,000, depending on the facts, as well as potential licensing fees. The copyright holder has to have the work registered to get statutory damages.
There are many good attorneys who are local to you that can help...ahem.
A trust that has you as the trustee and beneficiary won't protect the assets from your creditors. If you have a living trust where your kids are the beneficiary, and you don't do it on the eve of being sued, then you get some protection. You'll need to see a good estate/probate attorney.
Usually people who are the subject of photos used to make money will have an issue with it. If it's a one-time issue of limited nature, you'll have less of an issue than if you are following a group around and selling shirts that compete with their authorized vendors.
If you have an attorney, you may be able to object. You may not. You might have other creditors with whom you are friendly, that might be able to object. Visit with your bankruptcy attorney, and if you don't have one, you should visit with a local bankruptcy attorney.
I disagree with my esteemed colleagues. I think you'll need to really look at this more closely. The debt doesn't have to be to the feds in order for it to be nondischargeable. See an attorney and bring the paperwork.
I've copied a synopsis from Lexis below. Having copied that down, I will say that you could always try it, and hope that the university doesn't complain. You might get away with it. On the other hand, it's $10k. You're going to pay close to $2k to file the bankruptcy. Best to...