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Postby MrFredPFL » Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:51 pm

Story :

LHF Productions Inc. ("LHF") appeals (1) the district court's decision to grant a single statutory damages award in each of the five cases consolidated on appeal, for which the defendants in each case are jointly and severally liable; and (2) the attorney's fees awarded. We affirm.

1. Each complaint filed by LHF joined the participants in a single BitTorrent "swarm." The "swarm" downloaded and, together, uploaded the same digital file copy of a movie, London Has Fallen. The complaints stated that the defendants' actions were "part of a common design, intention and purpose" to infringe "the exact same unique copy of [LHF's] movie," that the defendants "agreed with one another to use the Internet and BitTorrent technology" to violate the federal copyright laws, that they "jointly and collectively supported and advanced an economic business model of profiting from the piracy of [LHF]'s copyrighted work," and, most explicitly, that "each Defendant knowingly and actively participated in a conspiracy to perform an illegal act and/or injure [LHF] through use of the BitTorrent protocol to infringe [LHF]'s copyrighted work."

LHF was awarded default judgments in the cases consolidated on appeal. "Upon entry of a default judgment, facts alleged to establish liability are binding . . . and . . . may not be relitigated on appeal." Danning v. Lavine, 572 F.2d 1386, 1388 (9th Cir. 1978). The factual allegations in its complaints are therefore taken as true, see Garamendi v. Henin, 683 F.3d 1069, 1080 (9th Cir. 2012); Geddes v. United Fin. Grp., 559 F.2d 557, 560 (9th Cir.1977) (per curiam), including that the defendants in each case "actively participated in a conspiracy" and "jointly and collectively" infringed LHF's copyright. These allegations establish that the defendants are jointly and severally liable as a matter of law. See Oki Semiconductor Co. v. Wells Fargo Bank, Nat'l Ass'n, 298 F.3d 768, 775 (9th Cir. 2002) (holding conspirators jointly and severally liable).

Under federal copyright law, the copyright owner may elect to recover "an award of statutory damages for all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more infringers are liable jointly and severally." 17 U.S.C. § 504(c)(1) (emphasis added). In each of the consolidated cases, the district court properly awarded a single award of statutory damages for the infringement of the only work here at issue, for which the named defendants are, on the allegations in the complaint, jointly and severally liable.

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