Friday, May 24, 2013

No multiple statutory damage award for single infringed work ~ Agence France Presse v Morel

In Agence France Presse v. Morel, a copyright case pending in Manhattan, Judge Alison Nathan clarified that there can be no more than a single statutory damages award per infringed work.

Memorandum and order dated May 21, 2013, Hon. Alison J. Nathan, District Judge

Friday, May 17, 2013

Magistrate judge recommends severance, dismissal, and quashing of subpoenas in Elf-man v Does 1-57 in Oregon

In Elf-man v. Does 1-57, and several other cases brought by Elf-man, LLC, in Oregon, the Magistrate Judge has recommended that the cases be severed and dismissed as to all Does other than Doe #1, and that the subpoenas as to those parties be quashed.

May 14, 2013, Order, Findings, and Recommendation, Hon. Thomas M. Coffin, Magistrate Judge

Severance, dismissal, and quashing of subpoenas granted in Oregon in Voltage Pictures v Does 1-198

In Voltage Pictures v. Does 1-198, and certain companion cases, the District Court of Oregon has severed and dismissed, and quashed the subpoenas, as to all Does other than Doe #1, both on the ground that allegations of being in a BitTorrent swarm are not subject to joinder, and on the ground that discretionary factors do not warrant joinder.

May 4, 2013, Order, Hon. Ann Aiken, District Judge

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Aereo moves for summary judgment dismissing remaining claims

In WNET v. Aereo, and its companion case, defendant has moved for summary judgment dismissing the remaining claims, in the wake of last month's Second Circuit ruling affirming denial of plaintiffs' preliminary injunction motion.

Defendants' memorandum of law in support of motion for summary judgment

[Updated] Court withdraws much of its ruling exonerating MP3Tunes in Capitol Records v MP3Tunes

Update with correction: Hat tip to Barry Werbin of Herrick, Feinstein LLP, Chairperson of the New York City Bar Association’s Copyright and Literary Property Law Committee, who pointed out to me what I had missed -- where in his opinion Judge Pauley partially granted a defendant's motion for reconsideration:
On page 13, the court opens up the direct infringement judgment previously issued against Robertson only as to "EMI's ownership of the copyrights for two of the songs he sideloaded, ‘White Christmas’ by Frank Sinatra and ‘Devil in Me’ by 22-20s, because Plaintiffs did not provide registrations for those copyrights... Further, EMI relies on copyrights registered as compilations for thirteen of the songs Robertson sideloaded. Because compilations contain pre-existing constituent works that may have been fixed prior to February 15, 1972 or that may have been previously registered by another owner, Robertson has created an issue of fact with respect to those songs."

So defendant’s Roberson's motion was granted in part to that limited extent

My original post was as follows:

In Capitol Records v. MP3Tunes, in which the Court had been asked to reconsider its earlier decision, in light of the Second Circuit's subsequent ruling in Viacom v. YouTube, the record companies' motion has been granted almost entirely, and the defendants' motions denied.*

The district court:

-accepted the record companies' argument that there were several documents in the record which a jury could reasonably have interpreted as requiring further inquiry into specific and identifiable instances of infringement, thus possibly triggering the 'wilful blindness' issue and requiring explicit fact-finding
-"reluctantly" accepted the record companies' argument that MP3Tunes's "red flag" knowledge could not be resolved on summary judgment
-denied the record companies' request for reinstatement of their seperate "inducement" claim
-rejected defendants' argument that the algorithm which copied plaintiffs' cover art was covered by the DMCA safe harbor
-rejected defendant Robertson's argument that his personal liability for 'sideloading' some files due to evidence of an implied license by virtue of the record companies' making free downloads available
-rejected defendant Robertson's argument that the district court in New York did not have personal jurisdiction over him
-rejected defendant Robertson's argument that the vicarious liability claim against him should be dismissed

Memorandum and Order granting plaintiffs' motions for reconsideration and denying defendants' motions

*Although the decision states that defendants' motions were partially granted, I could not find any part of the decision which granted any part of defendants' motions. If you find anything, please shoot me a comment and let me know so I can correct this blog post. Thanks. -R.B.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Plaintiffs' lawyers sanctioned $81,319.72 & referred for disciplinary & criminal investigations in Ingenuity 13 v Doe

In a Los Angeles case, Ingenuity 13 LLC v. John Doe, the Court has issued sanctions in the amount of $81,319.72 against plaintiffs' attorneys, including Prenda Law, and referred them to both disciplinary and criminal authorities for further investigation. Among other things, the decision stated:
Plaintiffs have outmaneuvered the legal system. They’ve discovered the nexus of antiquated copyright laws, paralyzing social stigma, and unaffordable defense costs. And they exploit this anomaly by accusing individuals of illegally downloading a single pornographic video. Then they offer to settle—for a sum calculated to be just below the cost of a bare-bones defense. For these individuals, resistance is futile; most reluctantly pay rather than have their names associated with illegally downloading porn. So now, copyright laws originally designed to compensate starving artists allow, starving attorneys in this electronic-media era to plunder the citizenry.
Plaintiffs can only show that someone, using an IP address belonging to the subscriber, was seen online in a torrent swarm. But Plaintiffs did not conduct a sufficient investigation to determine whether that person actually downloaded enough data (or even anything at all) to produce a viewable video. Further, Plaintiffs cannot conclude whether that person spoofed the IP address, is the subscriber of that IP address, or is someone else using that subscriber’s Internet access.
May 6, 2013, Order Issuing Sanctions, Hon. Otis D. Wright, II, District Judge