BitTorrent Defendant Counterclaims Struck – Costs and Fees Awarded to Plaintiff

In a case of an aggressive defense brought against Voltage Pictures and Dallas Buyers Club for their enforcement of their rights, the court has sided with Voltage and dismissed the defendant’s counterclaims, dismissed six of the seven affirmative defenses and awarded Voltage costs and fees for the overly aggressive stance taken by the defendant.

The complaint filed claims the defendant downloaded and distributed the motion picture Dallas Buyers Club through BitTorrent. Plaintiff Dallas Buyers Club seeks to enforce its copyrights in the motion picture and Voltage Pictures joins in the case asserting its state trademark rights.  In the answer filed the defendant asserted two counterclaims, one for a declaratory judgment of non-infringement and a second for abuse of process.  The court dismissed both counterclaims and awarded Voltage costs and fees.

The defendant also asserted seven counterclaims, including:

  1. Failure to state a claim.
  2. Misuse of copyright.
  3. Unclean hands.
  4. Damages sought are excessive.
  5. Plaintiffs have failed to join one or more indispensable parties to this action.
  6. Plaintiffs have improperly joined parties.
  7. Third party conduct.

The court struck six of the seven affirmative defenses as improper.  As statutory damages sought may range from $750 to $150,000 and have not been determined, the court left open the possibility that an eventual damages award may be excessive.

The full text of the opinion: Voltage v. Blake, 3:14-cv-01875-AC, (D.Or., Dec. 17, 2015)

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