Court finds Defendant willfully, intentionally and maliciously infringed 59 of Plaintiffs registered copyrights

Case: Malibu Media v. Doe, 1:14-cv-10155 (SDNY, Dec. 9, 2015)

Because the opinion says everything that needs to be said:

Plaintiff, Malibu Media, LLC, sued John Doe Defendant for using his computer, the internet and the BitTorrent protocol to download and distribute 59 of Plaintiffs registered copyrighted works. Defendant denied the allegations and argued that Plaintiff brought a frivolous case against him. During discovery, Plaintiffs computer forensic expert, Mr. Patrick Paige, examined Defendant’s computer. Mr. Paige’s report concludes Defendant used computer file destruction software immediately prior to the time he produced his computer over for forensic imaging and examination.

. . .

In late November, 2015, Defendant produced certain travel documents which he claimed proves that he was not in his home when the infringement was occurring. The day after receiving these documents, Plaintiff filed a Motion For Leave to Take Immediate Discovery. That Motion set forth facts strongly suggesting the dates on the travel documents were intentionally altered.

The Court granted Plaintiffs Motion. Thereafter, Plaintiff propounded third party subpoenas to various travel companies. In the interim, prior counsel withdrew and Defendant retained new counsel. Shortly after retaining new counsel, Defendant produced the unaltered travel documents proving he was at home when the infringement was occurring but was not at home when infringement was not occurring.

 

Defendant admits he committed four (4) wrongs: (a) infringement; (b) falsely denying the infringement; (c) altering evidence; and (d) unnecessarily causing Malibu to incur attorneys’ fees and costs. The Court takes note that Defendant’s apology and admissions only came after there was no doubt that Defendant could not escape the consequences of his conduct.

 

Based on the foregoing, the Court finds Defendant willfully, intentionally and maliciously infringed 59 of Plaintiffs registered copyrights in violation of Plaintiffs copyrights as set forth in 17 U.S.C. § 106. Consequently, a substantial penalty sufficient to punish Defendant and deter similar conduct by other defendants is warranted.

 

Via teleconference on December 3, 2015, Defendant’s counsel advised Plaintiff that

Defendant is in an emotionally fragile state. In response, Plaintiff advised that it does not wish to cause Defendant so much stress that he breaks. At a status conference held on December 8, 2015, Plaintiff admitted it wants Defendant to be punished but stated that it does not want the punishment to be so severe that Defendant is unable to move forward or recover from this experience. With this as background, at the status conference, the parties also stated that they may be able to reach a settlement. They each agreed to work toward that end in good faith. The Court advises the parties that if this matter proceeds Plaintiff would be entitled to substantial statutory damages and likely its reasonable attorneys’ fees. Accordingly, Plaintiff shall advise the Court by January 8, 2016 if the Parties have been able to reach a settlement or if further proceedings will be necessary. If a settlement is reached it shall be filed with the Court. Further, given the nature of the conduct in this matter, any settlement will be subject to the Court’s approval.

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