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


Tom said...

The link to the pdf seems incomplete.

Returns a 400 - Bad Request response.

raybeckerman said...

Thanks very much, Tom :)

I fixed it.

Sorry 'bout that.

DDonna said...

Wait a second, The order says

"Morel, 2013 WL 146035, at *26-29. The Court held that the liability of an individual or group
of individuals for the infringement of any single work could not be multiplied by the number of
separate end-point infringers with whom that individual or group was jointly liable. Id. at *29
("The Court concludes that any award of statutory damages against AFP or Getty may not be
multiplied based on the number of infringers with whom AFP or Getty is jointly or severally

Doesn't that mean that if a copyright owner (or entitled entity like the RIAA/MPAA) sues 100 defendants in a single action, then the total judgement is, at most, a single statutory damage award per work divided by the number of defendants?

If so, won't this be a game changer for their "sue many defendants at the same time to reduce fees and get names from IPs" business model?

I suppose they could still the many as before, get the names in early discovery from the ISPs and then drop that case and sue individually to have multiple sips at the statutory damage fountain for the same work.

But isn't that the kind of thing Judges would frown on? I thought they really disliked plaintiffs using procedural dodges to get around an order, especially if it goes around the meaning or intent of that order.

Ray, what do you think this means?