Articles Posted in U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

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Music Companies sued East Coat and Hudson for eight counts of copyright infringement, corresponding to the eight songs ASCAP's independent investigator heard publicly performed at the Long Beach Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles. East Coast and Hudson appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Music Companies for the eight counts of copyright infringement, as well as the district court's award of attorney's fees and costs to the Music Companies. The court held that the district court was correct to conclude that the investigator's uncontested declaration was sufficient to establish that no genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether copyright infringement occurred at the Long Beach Roscoe's. Because no genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether East Coast and Hudson controlled and derived financial benefit from the infringing performances, the district court properly held that Hudson and East Coast were liable for copyright infringement. Finally, the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding fees and costs. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed. View "Range Road Music, Inc., et al. v. East Coast Foods, Inc., et al." on Justia Law

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UMG filed suit against Veoh for direct and secondary copyright infringement where users of Veoh's service have in the past been able, without UMG's authorization, to download videos containing songs for which UMG owned a copyright. The district court granted summary judgment to Veoh after determining that it was protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S.C. 512(c), "safe harbor" limiting service providers' liability for "infringement of copyright by reason of the storage at the direction of a user of material that resides on a system or network controlled or operated by or for the service provider." The court affirmed the district court's determination on summary judgment that Veoh was entitled to section 512(c) safe harbor protection where Veoh met all the section 512(c) requirements. The district court also affirmed the district court's dismissal of the claims of secondary liability against the Investor Defendants. The court further affirmed the district court's determination that, in this case, attorney's fees could not be awarded under Rule 68. The court remanded for the district court to consider in the first instance whether Veoh was entitled to Rule 68 costs excluding attorney's fees. View "UMG Recordings, Inc., et al. v. Shelter Capital Partners LLC, et al." on Justia Law

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Apple brought this action against Psystar for copyright infringement because Psystar was using Apple's software on Psystar computers. The district court held that Psystar was infringing Apple's federally registered copyrights in its operating software, Mac OS X, because Psystar was copying the software for use in Psystar's computers. Psystar subsequently appealed the district court's rejection of Psystar's copyright misuse defense, the district court's order enjoining Psystar's continuing infringement, and the district court's grant of Apple's motions to seal documents on grounds of maintaining confidentiality. The court held that Psystar's misuse defense failed because it was an attempt to apply the first sale doctrine to a valid licensing agreement. The court affirmed the district court's order enjoining Psystar's continuing infringement and Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S.C. 1203(b)(1), violations and held that the district court properly applied the Supreme Court's four eBay Inc. v MercExchange, L.L.C. factors. The court held, however, that there was no adequate basis on the record to support the sealing of any Apple records on grounds of confidentiality and applied the presumption in favor of access, vacating the district court's sealing orders. View "Apple Inc. v. Psystar Corp." on Justia Law

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This case was brought pursuant to the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), 15 U.S.C. 1125(d)(1) over the registered domain name "gopets.com." The main issue on appeal was whether the term "registration" applied only to the initial registration of the domain name, or whether it also applied to a re-registration of a currently registered domain name by a new registrant. The court concluded that such re-registration was not a "registration" within the meaning of section 1125(d)(1). Therefore, the court held that, because Edward Hise registered gopets.com in 1999, long before GoPets Ltd. registered its service mark, Digital Overture's re-registration and continued ownership of gopets.com did not violate section 1125(d)(1). The court held, however, that the Hises violated the ACPA in registering the additional domains because the Hises acted in bad faith and the court affirmed the district court's award for each of those registrations. The court also affirmed the district court's conclusion that the Hises' use of gopets.com violated the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1051 et seq., and remanded for determination of any relief that the district court might find appropriate for that violation. The court finally vacated the district court's award of attorney's fees and remanded for reconsideration by the district court. View "GoPets Ltd. v. Hise, et al." on Justia Law

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Louis Vuitton sued Managed Solutions Group, Inc. (MSG), Akanoc Solutions, Inc., and Steven Chen (collectively, Defendants) for contributory copyright and trademark infringement, contending that Defendants were liable for their role in hosting websites that directly infringed Louis Vuitton's trademarks and copyrights. After trial, a jury found Defendants liable and awarded damages against each defendant. In response to Defendants' motion for judgment as a matter of law, the district court set aside the jury's verdict and award against MSG. The district court otherwise denied the motion. The court affirmed the district court on all issues of liability raised by the appeal and cross-appeal but vacated the judgment and remanded with instructions that the district court award statutory damages in the amount of $10,500,000 for contributory trademark infringement and $300,000 for contributory copyright infringement, for which Akanoc and Chen should be jointly and severally liable. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded. View "Louis Vuitton Malletier, S.A. v. Akanoc Solutions, Inc., et al." on Justia Law

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Defendants appealed from the district court's grant of a preliminary injunction against them in an action for copyright infringement by plaintiff. The district court found that plaintiff was likely to succeed in its infringement suit and granted the injunction relying on the long-standing precedent of this circuit that presumed irreparable harm in copyright infringement cases upon a showing of likelihood of success on the merits. The court held that, in light of eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C. and Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., this circuit's long-standing practice of presuming irreparable harm upon the showing of a likelihood of success on the merits in a copyright infringement case was no longer good law. Accordingly, the court held that even in a copyright infringement case, the plaintiff must demonstrate a likelihood of irreparable harm as a prerequisite for injunctive relief, whether preliminary or permanent. Accordingly, the court vacated the preliminary injunction and remanded for further proceedings. View "Flexible Lifeline Systems, Inc. v. Precision Lift, Inc., et al." on Justia Law

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This appeal stemmed from the district court's summary judgment dismissing Fleischer Studios, Inc.'s (Fleischer) copyright and trademark infringement action where the district court ruled that Fleischer held neither a valid copyright nor a valid trademark in the Betty Boop cartoon character and therefore lacked standing to sue. The court held that because the chain of title was broken, the district court properly dismissed Fleischer's copyright infringement claim. The court vacated and remanded to the district court for further proceedings on Fleischer's trademark infringmenet claims regarding the Betty Boop word mark because it was unable to ascertain a legal basis for the district court's reasoning on the current record. View "Fleischer Studios, Inc. v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc., et al." on Justia Law

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Mavrix Photo, Inc. (Mavrix), a Florida Corporation with its principal place of business in Miami, sued Brand Technologies, Inc., an Ohio corporation with its principal place of business in Toledo, and its CEO (collectively, Brand), in federal district court for the Central District of California, alleging that Brand infringed Mavrix's copyright by posting its copyrighted photos on its website. Brand moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdictional and the district court denied Mavrix's motion for jurisdictional discovery and granted Brand's motion to dismiss. The court reversed and held that Brand was not subject to general personal jurisdiction in California, but that its contacts with California were sufficiently related to the dispute in this case that it was subject to specific personal jurisdiction. View "Mavrix Photo, Inc. v. Brand Technologies, Inc., et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs sued defendants alleging copyright infringement, breach of implied contract, breach of confidence, and several other causes of actions where defendants produced a television series on the Sci-Fi Channel based on plaintiffs' materials. At issue was whether the district court properly dismissed plaintiff's contractual claims on the basis that the claims were preempted by copyright law. The court reversed and held that copyright law did not preempt a breach of implied contract claim where plaintiffs alleged a bilateral expectation that they would be compensated for use of the idea, the essential element of a Desny v. Wilder claim that separated it from preempted claims for the use of copyrighted material. The court also held that the breach of confidence claim was not preempted by copyright law where the claim protected the duty of trust or confidential relationship between the parties, an extra element that made it qualitatively different from a copyright claim. The court also held that the complaint sufficiently alleged facts to make out a claim for breach of implied contract and breach of confidence.