Square Ring, Inc. v. U-Stream

Case Title and Citation:  Square Ring, Inc. v. U-Stream et al., Civil Action No. 09-563 (GMS) (2015)[1]

Court: United States District Court, D. Delaware

Document status: Pre-Trial – District Court Memorandum on denial of U-Stream Motion for Summary Judgment.

Issue or relevant point(s): Whether or not U-Stream satisfied all requirements as a matter of law in order to receive the monetary liability ‘safe harbor’ benefit of the DMCA?

Ruling:  The Court denied U-Stream’s motion for summary judgment, emphasizing the complete lack of legal precedent surrounding the particular facts of the case.

Curtis et al. v. Illumination Arts

Court: United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

Document status: Order Granting Default Judgment

Key issue or relevant point:  Whether or not Plaintiffs’ motion for default judgment should be granted, and if granted, what should be: (a) the amount of statutory damages for willful infringement, and (b) the amount of attorney’s fees and expenses.

Ruling of Finding:  Under the facts of the case the Motion for Default Judgment was granted.  The court believed a “Substantial” award of statutory damages was more appropriate than a maximum award, largely based on the preexisting relationship between the parties.  Here, although the Defendants’ conduct prior to and during litigation was tantamount to “egregious”, the previous long-term and mutually beneficial contractual and licensing relationship between the parties hindered the Courts willingness to award $150,000 in max damages.  The Court also awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses in favor of the Plaintiff.

Gorski v. Gymboree

Court: United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division (2014).

Document status: Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendant’s Pre-Trial Motion to Dismiss

Issue or relevant point: 1. Can the court make a finding of non-infringement while considering a motion to dismiss?  2.  Does Plaintiff’s complaint sufficiently plead ‘substantial similarity’ between protectable elements and the alleged copying?

Ruling or Findings: Yes – courts have authority to find non-infringement when considering a pre-trial motion to dismiss.  In this case, the copyright claim was dismissed because the Plaintiff had not plead sufficient facts to show infringement; however, the court granted the Plaintiff the option to file an amended complaint.

Getty v. Virtual

Court: United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle  

Document status: Court Order on Award of (Statutory) Damages

Issue or relevant point: When are maximum statutory damages appropriate?

Ruling:  Maximum statutory damages are appropriate when the evidence shows willful infringement, profit by the infringer, loss of revenue to the rights holder, and where the award will serve to protect the copyright system from flagrant violation of the law.

BMI v. Evies

Case Title and Citation:  Broadcast Music, Inc., et al. v. Evies's Tavern Ellenton, Inc., and Michael Evanoff, Case 8:11-cv-2056-T-17TBM

Court: United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

Document status: District Court grants summary judgment on BMI’s claim(s) for copyright infringement.

Issue or relevant point(s): Whether or not BMI had a proper chain of title and/or the proprietors of the copyrighted works at issue?  Whether or not BMI could/should be awarded fees and costs?

Ruling:  The Court granted summary judgment in favor of BMI as to liability for copyright infringement as to five of the six musical compositions. The Court also awarded BMI statutory damages, attorney’s fees and court costs.

Harney v. Sony Pictures Television, Inc.

Case Title and Citation:  Harney v. Sony Pictures Television, Inc., 704 F.3d 173 (1st Cir. 2013)

Court: United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Boston, MA

Document status: Court Order and Opinion (on appeal by Plaintiff)

Issue or relevant point: The Court looked at whether the district court’s grant of summary judgment for lack of ‘substantial similarity’ was supported by: i) proper dissection of protectable and non-protectable elements of a photograph, and ii) proper application of a ‘substantial similarity’ assessment as to the protectable elements.

Ruling or Findings: It is completely proper to dissect a copyrighted work into its protected and non-protected elements.  If there is not substantial similarity between protected elements of the original work and the alleged infringing work, there is no copyright infringement.

Washington Shoe v. A-Z Sporting Goods

Court: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Document status: Judgment of the district court is reversed and remanded.

Issue or relevant point: Whether or not Defendant-Appellee, an Arkansas corporation is subject to personal jurisdiction for willful copyright infringement in Washington?

Ruling:  The Court of Appeals reversed the district court dismissal of the copyright infringement claim on the ground of lack of personal jurisdiction.