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In a major win for firm clients, a federal judge in Los Angeles has found the operators of the TorrentSpy website to have willfully infringed copyrights owned by the major motion picture studios. The Court ordered the defendant to pay over $110 million in damages, and enjoined defendant from any further infringement of the motion picture studios’ copyrights.
Last December, U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper of the Central District of California granted the motion picture studios’ motion for terminating sanctions after finding that the TorrentSpy owners had engaged in widespread destruction of evidence and other severe discovery misconduct. As a result, the Court entered default against defendants, establishing their liability for willful copyright infringement.
On May 5, 2008, the judge rendered a final judgment against the site, and awarded damages of $110,970,000.
This is one of several cases that a Jenner & Block team, led by Partners Steven B. Fabrizio, Katherine A. Fallow and Gianni P. Servodidio, is pursuing on behalf of the motion picture studios against pirate “BitTorrent” websites that unlawfully encourage and facilitate the widespread infringement of the world’s most popular entertainment content, including movies and television programs.
“This substantial money judgment sends a strong message about the illegality of these sites,” said Dan Glickman, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America. “The demise of TorrentSpy is a clear victory for the studios and demonstrates that such pirate sites will not be allowed to continue to operate without facing relentless litigation by copyright holders.”
Mr. Fabrizio applauded the decision. “The Court has made very clear that copyright infringers who engage in such discovery misconduct, do so at their own peril.”