May 08, 2008

In a judgment issued by the United States District Court for the Central District of California on Monday, a half dozen television and movie studios were awarded nearly $111M against the now-defunct file sharing service TorrentSpy. As reported within the Wired article (link below), “TorrentSpy, a U.S.-based torrent tacking service, shuttered in March after it lost its case against the MPAA,” noting that “TorrentSpy did not lose on the merits, but defaulted after it failed to produce internal records.” As noted within the judgment itself (PDF link below), the plaintiffs were awarded $30,000 per infringement for each of the demonstrated 3,699 infringements, resulting in a total judgment of $110,970,000 against three individually-named defendants and Valence Media LLC. In addition, the judgment states that “Defendant, and its officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and all those in active concert or participation with Defendant who receive actual notice of this Permanent Injunction shall immediately and permanently be enjoined from directly, indirectly, contributorily, or vicariously infringing in any manner any Copyrighted Works,” which are defined as the “copyrighted works, or portions thereof, whether now in existence or later created, in which any Plaintiff (or parent, subsidiary or affiliate of any Plaintiff) owns or controls an exclusive right under the United States Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §§ 101 et seq.” The per-violation damages amount represents the high-end of the spectrum under 17 U.S.C. § 504(c)(1), which states that a copyright owner may recover “a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just” per copyright violation under that section.

Wired Article: LINK
TorrentSpy Decision: LINK
17 U.S.C. § 504: LINK

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Mark Reichel
Reichel IP LLC

I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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