Friday, December 30, 2011

Actual damages for single unauthorized download of software program held to be cost of single license fee

In Real View v. 20-20, an "actual damages" copyright infringement case, the Court held that the actual damages for an unauthorized download of a computer program was limited to the cost of an actual license fee, and reduced the jury's much higher verdict accordingly.

The judge, in the District of Massachusetts, granted remittitur, reducing the jury's verdict of $1,370,590.00 to $4,200.00, unless the plaintiff seeks a new trial.

Decision on damages

Commentary & discussion:

Technology & Marketing Law Blog

Keywords: lawyer digital copyright law online internet law legal download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie independent label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs intellectual property portable music player

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Another Kevin said...

Isn't the award of attorneys' fees and costs routine in copyright cases? (By case law, not by statute.) It seems nearly undisputed that the infringement was wilful.

It's important to note that this, unlike most of the Recording Industry v. People cases, is not a "making available" case. I see no allegation that infringing material was redistributed, which is the source of the astronomical damages in so many of the cases.

raybeckerman said...

Hi Another Kevin:

1. No the award of attorneys fees is not routine; it is discretionary.

2. Actually there were lots of "allegations" but the only one that stuck, with the jury, was the downloading of a single copy of the program.

3. Although the RIAA did not know of any downloads, and had no more than a suspicion of 'making available' prior to commencement of suit, it did seek to recover for downloading, arguing that it infringed the reproduction right.

free tv said...

glad to see that the system wasn't abused in this case.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Another Kevin's comment about this not being a "making available" case: this begs the question, was this software downloaded peer-to-peer? If I understand (and I may not) the "making available" part pertains to the fact that in a peer-to-peer you are sharing even while downloading as well as after if seeding ergo the act of downloading is the same as sharing.

Anonymous said...

Many torrenting programs such as utorrent allow the user to turn off the 'seeding', or uploading, function, although this is generally frowned upon by the community.

Anonymous said...

USC 17 Section 504
"(c) Statutory Damages.—
(1) Except as provided by clause (2) of this subsection, the copyright owner may elect, at any time before final judgment is rendered, to recover, instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages for all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more infringers are liable jointly and severally, in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just. For the purposes of this subsection, all the parts of a compilation or derivative work constitute one work.
(2) In a case where the copyright owner sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that infringement was committed willfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more than $150,000..."

So, the judge has decided what is "just" here, nothing more. Not an earth-shattering decision.

online betting said...

These corporations are getting a little to comfortable and extending their power. I am glad that it was stopped in this case.