Thursday, April 23, 2015

Parameters set for statutory damages trial in UMG v Grooveshark

In UMG v. Escape Media, UMG's case against the Grooveshark founders, the judge has rendered a decision setting some of the parameters for the statutory damages trial scheduled to begin next Monday. The jury will be instructed that the maximum statutory damages is $150,000, not $30,000, per infringed work, due to the fact that the infringements were willful, but the parties will be able to introduce evidence on the degree of willfulness. Since there are 4907 works, that means the minimum damages that can be awarded is $3,680,250.00, and the maximum could be $736,050,000.00.

April 23, 2015, Decision, Ruling on In Limine Motions

Commentary & discussion:

"Grooveshark Faces a $736,050,000.00 Hammer…" (Digital Music News)

Friday, April 03, 2015

Capitol Records has spent over $12 million in attorneys fees in Capitol v. MP3Tunes

In Capitol Records v. MP3Tunes, a recent decision partially granting plaintiff's attorneys fees motion, indicated that plaintiff has spent over $12 million in attorneys fees... so far.

April 3, 2015, Decision

[Ed. note. Is it just me, or don't you have to wonder where they got that money from?]

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Arista v Grooveshark trial set to begin April 27th

A trial date has been set in one of the Grooveshark cases, Arista v. Escape Media. The trial will begin Monday, April 27th, in the courtroom of Judge Thomas P. Griesa, room 26B, at the federal courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, New York, New York

April 1, 2015, Order setting April 27th trial date

Friday, March 27, 2015

Aereo files for bankruptcy


Well, it finally happened; Aereo has given up the ghost and filed for bankruptcy. It will be interesting to see whether the the content cartel will be satisfied at having put the company out of business, or will instead look for blood.

March 27, 2015, Order, WNET v. Aereo

Monday, September 29, 2014

Individual defendants found liable in Grooveshark case

In UMG Escape Media, the Court has granted summary judgment finding the individual defendants to be liable for copyright infringement.

September 29, 2014, decision granting summary judgment against individual defendants

New ruling in Capitol v MP3Tunes, reduces punitive damages, denies Robertson motion for new trial


In Capitol Records v. MP3Tunes, the Judge has denied individual defendant Michael Robertson's motion for a new trial, but reduced the punitive damages award on the state law claims for pre-1972 recordings.

September 29, 2014, Decision, denying motion for new trial, and reducing punitive damages

Friday, June 13, 2014

2nd Circuit OK's scanning whole books for research as fair use in Authors Guild v HathiTrust


In Authors Guild v. HathiTrust, the US Court of Appeals has ruled that scanning whole books for research purposes is fair use.

In HathiTrust, a group of universities took digital scans prepared by Google and stored them in a "digital library".

The library permitted 3 uses of the material:
(1) The public was allowed to search by keyword. The search results showed only the page numbers for the search term and the number of times it appeared; none of the text was visible.
(2) People with disabilities which prevented them from holding books and/or turning pages could be provided access to the full texts.
(3) Members could create a replacement copy of a lost, stolen, or destroyed book if a replacement was not obtainable in the market at a "fair" price.

The Court held the search function to be a fair use, finding that
-the creation of a searchable, full text database is a "quintessentially transformative use";
-it was "reasonably necessary" to make use of the entire works, and to maintain 4 copies of the database;
-the library did not impair the market for the works.

The Court likewise found it to be a fair use to make copies available to the disabled who are unable to access print books.

The Court declined to rule on the replacement book issue, on the ground that the plaintiffs lacked standing to raise that question.

June 10, 2014, Decision, US Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Viacom v Google settled out of court (old news)


I just found out about this today, thanks to an old tweet by Bill Rosenblatt H/T Bill.

Viacom v. YouTube has been settled out of court.



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

DC Circuit rules no multiple John Doe cases without basis for personal jurisdiction and joinder


In the first appellate decision of its kind, the D. C. Circuit Court of Appeals has dealt a death knell to the type of mass John Doe fishing expedition cases pioneered by the RIAA and carried on by pornographic filmmakers and other high volume plaintiffs seeking the identity of possible defendants.

In AF Holdings v. Does 1-1058, the appeals court overruled the district court's grant of ex parte discovery, ruling that mass John Doe cases could not be brought where there was no known basis for the assertion of personal jurisdiction over the unknown defendants, and on alternative grounds that there could be no joinder merely because defendants allegedly downloaded the same file through BitTorrent and therefore possibly in the same "swarm".

(Ed. note: A cynic might argue that the key difference in this case was that, for a change, the ISP's, and not merely defendants, were challenging the subpoenas; but of course we all know that justice is 'blind'. An ingrate might bemoan the Court's failure to address the key underlying fallacy in the "John Doe" cases, that because someone pays the bill for an internet account that automatically makes them a copyright infringer; but who's complaining over that slight omission? A malcontent like myself might be a little unhappy that it took the courts ten (10) years to finally come to grips with the personal jurisdiction issue, which would have been obvious to 9 out of 10 second year law students from the get go, and I personally have been pointing it out and writing about it since 2005; but at least they finally did get there. And a philosopher might wonder how much suffering might have been spared had the courts followed the law back in 2004 when the John Doe madness started; but of course I'm a lawyer, not a philosopher. :) Bottom line, though: this is a good thing, a very good thing. Ten (10) years late in coming, but good nonetheless. - R.B. )

May 27, 2014, Opinion, US Court of Appeals, DC Circuit

Friday, May 09, 2014

Class action claim against Harlequin Books for e-book royalties upheld by 2nd Circuit


In Keiler v. Harlequin Enterprises, a class action royalty claim on behalf of authors whose works were being distributed as e-books by Harlequin was sustained, and the lower court's dismissal of the complaint reversed.

The complaint alleged that Harlan, in a scheme to deprive the authors of their contractual royalties for e-books, had established a subsidiary, was paying royalties to the subsidiary at a below-market rate, and was paying the authors based on the low receipts of the subsidiary rather than on the actual receipts of Harlan itself.

May 1, 2014, US Court of Appeals for 2nd Circuit