Despite Jury Verdict of Infringement and $351,000 Statutory Damages Award, Prevailing Party Denied Attorney Fees

After a jury trial where plaintiff prevailed on its infringement claim, the court denied plaintiff's motion for attorney fees because plaintiff did not obtain a high degree of success under § 505. "Plaintiff argues that [the degree of success] factor weighs in its favor because the jury found infringement and awarded $460,800 statutory damages on all thirty-five copyrighted works. Plaintiff also argues that it reached a high degree of success because the Court granted its motion for partial summary judgment as to Defendant's DMCA defense and denied Defendant's motion for summary judgment. According to Plaintiff, even though the Court reduced [...]

2018-03-23T11:30:02+00:00 March 23rd, 2018|Copyright, Docket Report|

Links to Terms of Use on Website Pages Deemed “Conveyed in Connection With” Pages’ Photos​ Under DMCA

The court denied defendant's motion for summary judgment that it did not commit a DMCA violation and rejected defendant's argument that its website's Terms of Use were not "conveyed in connection with" plaintiff's photographs under 17 U.S.C. § 1202(c). "Defendant cites several cases in support of its assertion that a standard copyright message at the bottom of a webpage is not 'conveyed in connection with' content at the top of a webpage. . . . However, the cases the [court in the most analogous case proffered by defendant] cites to in support of the statement that courts 'have generally required [...]

2018-03-22T12:41:02+00:00 March 22nd, 2018|Copyright, Docket Report|

Counsel’s Contingency-Fee Representation of ​Registrant Does Not Preclude Counsel’s Expert Testimony

The court partially denied defendants' motion to exclude an expert's testimony and rejected defendants' argument that the expert's representation of plaintiffs automatically disqualified the expert from testifying. "As the attorney who assisted [plaintiffs] with the registration of the copyrights at issue in this case, the Court is satisfied that [the expert] has specialized knowledge of the requirements and procedures for registration under the Copyright Act. . . . Defendants argue that because [the expert] is representing [plaintiffs] on a contingency basis, he is disqualified from testifying in this case. . . . [However,] [i]n the Court’s view, based on review [...]

2018-03-21T13:50:02+00:00 March 21st, 2018|Copyright, Docket Report|

Post-Limitation Period Naming of Doe Defendant ​Does Not Relate Back Under Rule 15(c)

The court granted a defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings that plaintiff's infringement claims against it were time-barred because the naming of the defendant in an amended complaint did not relate back to the original pleading where the defendant was merely identified as a Doe defendant. "It was in the Second Amended Complaint that Plaintiff named [the moving defendant] as the defendant who had been previously identified as 'Jane Doe' in the initial pleadings. The Second Amended Complaint was filed . . . more than three years after Plaintiff alleges he became aware of the alleged copyright violations . [...]

2018-03-20T12:27:02+00:00 March 20th, 2018|Copyright, Docket Report|

Owner’s Specialized Knowledge Regarding Copyright Enforcement Does Not Warrant Heightened Standard for Discovery Rule​

The court denied defendant's motion for summary judgment that plaintiffs' infringement suit was barred by the statute of limitations and rejected defendant's argument that plaintiffs had constructive knowledge of infringement, as a matter of law, eight years before filing suit. "⁠[T]he Court declines to impose a more stringent standard other than that of a reasonably prudent person. [Defendant] has cited no case law in the copyright context indicating that [the plaintiff entity] should be held to have 'special knowledge' about copyright infringement because of its enforcement policies. The cases [defendant] relies on involve negligence during a skiing accident and an [...]

2018-03-19T11:47:02+00:00 March 19th, 2018|Copyright, Docket Report|

Modification of Software to Circumvent Need for an Access Key Is Sufficient to Support a DMCA Claim​

The court denied defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiffs' DMCA claim because plaintiffs' sufficiently alleged that defendants circumvented a technological measure by modifying plaintiffs' software. "According to Plaintiffs, Defendants' alleged modification of their software that controls access to the medical imaging systems violated the DMCA . . . . Defendants argue that because customers purchased Plaintiffs' medical imaging systems, they were legally entitled to use any software embedded on them under Lexmark International, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc., 387 F.3d 522 (6th Cir. 2004). The Court disagrees for two reasons. First, the Sixth Circuit in Lexmark found it a deciding [...]

2018-03-16T11:43:02+00:00 March 16th, 2018|Copyright, Docket Report|

Content Delivery Network That Helps Customers Create Cache Copies of Infringing Images Deemed Material Assistance ​of Infringement

The court partially granted plaintiff's motion for summary judgment of contributory infringement as to one legal question and found that--to the extent it could be proven that cache copies of infringing images were created by defendant's customers--defendant's content delivery network service materially assisted in acts of infringement. "The Court finds that [defendant's content delivery network] service allows its customers to create and store copies of the allegedly infringing images on its cache servers. . . . [Defendant] ignores the critical role it plays in its customers’ creation of copies of Plaintiff’s images on [defendant's] cache servers. As the Court previously [...]

2018-03-15T11:37:03+00:00 March 15th, 2018|Copyright, Docket Report|

Remedy for Infringement of 1,538 TV Episodes via Set-Top Box Calculated on Per-Episode Basis

The magistrate judge recommended granting plaintiffs' motion for default judgment, as well as plaintiffs' requested amount of statutory damages for defendant's infringing set-top boxes. "Plaintiffs seek a statutory damage award for each episode of their copyrighted television series. In order to show that they are entitled to an award on a per-episode basis, Plaintiffs submit a declaration of [a plaintiff entity's] Vice President of Operation . . . who declares that, 'each of the 1,538 television episodes at issue was broadcast separately, on different dates, and not together as a unit.' During the inquest, [the plaintiff's Vice President of Operation] [...]

2018-03-14T11:31:02+00:00 March 14th, 2018|Copyright, Docket Report|

Non-Profit Status Irrelevant to Entity’s Attorney Fee Analysis​

After finding in a bench trial that defendants were liable for infringement, the court denied plaintiff's motion for attorney fees because a fee award would not further the purposes of the Copyright Act. "⁠[Plaintiff] has been awarded statutory damages of $30,000.00. [Plaintiff] has also received a permanent injunction against Defendants for future copyright and trademark infringement. [Plaintiff] now seeks $380,885.00 in attorney’s fees . . . . Attorney’s fees more than ten times greater than the damages awarded for copyright infringement, in addition to a permanent injunction, would exceed the amount necessary to deter future infringers. . . . [An [...]

2018-03-13T11:54:03+00:00 March 13th, 2018|Copyright, Docket Report|

Amount of Accused Work Alleged to be Copied Is Irrelevant to De Minimis Copying Defense​

The court denied a group of defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiffs' infringement claim and rejected the defendants' argument that their alleged copying was de minimis. "⁠[A group of] Defendants . . . note that [two characters in defendants' video games] are merely two characters out of 135 characters in [defendant's game], and therefore, there is no substantial similarity. It appears that the . . . Defendants are arguing that their alleged copying is de minimis—that is, the alleged copying is so trivial that it does not rise to the level of substantial similarity. But the . . . Defendants get [...]

2018-03-12T11:44:03+00:00 March 12th, 2018|Copyright, Docket Report|