Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fraserside Awarded $4 Million Against

Judges are clearly of two different minds when it comes to copyright infringement and culpability. For example, consider these two recent cases that are similar on the facts, but have very different outcomes.
K-Beech, Inc. v. Schreiber and Valdez, et al.
In this case, K-Beech sued several people for copyright infringement of a small number of porn movies, I believe for downloading and uploading them. Two of the defendants (Schreiber and Valdez) just didn't answer the complaint. Judge Wake entered a default judgment against those two defendants for the minimum statutory damages amount of $750 per work for a total damage award of $1500. The good folks over at wrote a great little piece about how such a small damages award jeopardizes the entire copyright plaintiff business model.
Fraserside v Faragalla
In this case, an IP holding company that owned the copyrights for some porn movies sued a couple of people who operated a free porn website ( for streaming those movies. The defendants chose not to answer the complaint and instead just ignored it. Judge Bennett clearly had a different view of what it took to punish this type of conduct. He entered default judgment in the maximum amount of statutory damages and threw the book at the Faragallas in the amount of $4 Million! Holy cow! The porn industry is understandably very excited by this win.
What's the lesson here? You never know what will happen to you if you just ignore a complaint that gets filed against you. Maybe you get the minimum, like Schreiber and Valdez, and maybe you get the maximum, like the Faragallas. So if you get served with papers, hire a lawyer! Don't just ignore it because sometimes those nagging little problems go away, but sometimes they turn into huge problems.