December 21, 2016

The firm achieved precedential victories in two major copyright cases featured in Law360’s list of the top 10 copyright decisions of 2016.  In Capitol Records Inc. v. MP3tunes LLC, the firm represented Capitol Records in a long-running infringement dispute against MP3tunes, an online music storage locker service.  The Second Circuit reinstated a $48 million jury verdict in favor of the plaintiffs and issued precedential rulings that help define how a service provider’s “red‐flagknowledge” or  willful blindness as to specific infringement on the site or its failure to implement a repeat infringer policy can affect its ability to qualify for safe harbor protection under the DMCA. “The ruling was a win for content companies, which want to see websites and service providers take a more aggressive approach to policing online piracy,” Law360 wrote.The team was led by Partners Andrew H. Bart and Luke C. Platzer and included Associate J. Douglas Wilson.  In Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons Inc. the US Supreme Court agreed with the legal standard that Partner Paul M. Smith argued should apply in determining whether a prevailing party is entitled to attorneys’ fees under the Copyright Act.  In the underlying suit, the firm’s client, textbook publisher Wiley, lost its suit against Kirtsaeng for copyright infringement.  Kirtsaeng then sought, but was denied, attorneys’ fees by the district court and the Second Circuit, both of which relied on the standard ultimately approved by the high court.  “The ruling — on the statute’s provision telling courts they ‘may also award a reasonable attorney’s fee to the prevailing party’ — wasn’t so much a sweeping proclamation or bright-line rule as much as it was nuanced guidance on what had become a messy situation,” according to Law360.  In addition to Mr. Smith, the team included Partner Matthew S. Hellman and then-Associate (now partner) Ishan K. Bhabha.