Software infringement caselaw
What constitutes Copyright infringement of software?
In Adobe Sys. Inc. v. Feather, 895 F. Supp. 2d 297, 301-02 (D. Conn. 2012) the Court laid down the general rule in regard to what Plaintiff must show to establish a copyright infringement claim:
“There are two elements to every claim of copyright infringement: (1) possession of a valid copyright, and (2) copying of those elements of the work that are copyrightable.” RBC Nice Bearings, Inc. v. Peer Bearing Co., 676 F.Supp.2d 9, 20 (D.Conn.2009) (quoting Key Publ’ns, Inc. v. Chinatown Today Pub. Enters., Inc., 945 F.2d 509, 514 (2d Cir.1991)). Here, plaintiffs have established that Feather is liable for copyright infringement:
I have been charged with “willful infringement of copyright” what does that mean?
“Once an act of infringement under the Copyright Act has been proven, a plaintiff may, in lieu of an award of actual damages and profits, request that statutory damages under 17 U.S.C. § 504(c) be awarded. If a plaintiff so elects, the district court will grant anywhere between $750 and $30,000 for each copyright infringed. See 17 U.S.C. § 504(c)(1). If the defendant’s infringement was willful, however, the district court may also, in its discretion, enhance the statutory damages award to as much as $150,000 per infringed work. 17 U.S.C. § 504(c)(2).”
Can officers of a company be held personally liable for federal copyright infringement?
It is possible. In an unreported decision, the Court in Microsoft Corp. v. Maryland Micro.com, Inc., No. CIV. JFM-01-3797, 2003 WL 21805213, at *4 (D. Md. July 15, 2003) held:
“Microsoft contends that Youngblood and Cronk are liable along with Micro.com. Defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment in which they argue that under the facts of this case they cannot be personally liable for copyright infringement, Lanham Act violations, or common law unfair competition. Defendants’ argument fails. Officers of a corporation may be held individually liable for the corporation’s copyright infringement. See, e.g., Southern Bell Tel. & Tel. Co. v. Associated Tel. Directory Publishers, 756 F.2d 801, 811 (11th Cir.1985). See generally 3 Melville B. Nimmer & David Nimmer, Nimmer on Copyright § 12.04 [A][d] (2003).
“Officers of a corporate body may be held personally liable for the corporation’s copyright infringement. Microsoft Corp. v. Maryland Micro.com, Inc., 2003 WL 21805213, (D.Md. July 15, 2003); see also Southern Bell Tel. & Tel. Co. v. Associated Tel. Directory Publishers, 756 F.2d 801 (11th Cir.1985). Liability arises when an “individual, including a corporate officer … has the ability to supervise infringing activity and has a financial interest in that activity, or … personally participates in that activity….” Lauratex Textile Corp. v. Allton Knitting Mills, Inc., 517 F.Supp. 900, 904 (S.D.N.Y.1981). Plaintiffs allege that they own valid, registered copyrights in the content in the databases. …..Plaintiffs allege that Defendant Meissner directly or indirectly provided her CoStar username and passcode to Arffa with knowledge that he would access CoStar’s website. Plaintiffs also allege that Meissner facilitated and materially contributed to Arffa’s infringement, committing contributory infringement. Plaintiffs further allege that Arffa paid Meissner for use of her CoStar username and passcode, thereby committing willful vicarious infringement. Accordingly, Plaintiffs have alleged sufficient facts to support a contributory and vicarious copyright infringement claim against Defendant.”
What happens if I just delete all the evidence of infringing software?
“This court has the inherent authority to enter sanctions for discovery abuses. Roadway Express, Inc. v. Piper, 447 U.S. 752, 765, 100 S.Ct. 2455, 2463, 65 L.Ed.2d 488 (1980). If the abuses are egregious, default judgment is appropriate. National Hockey League v. Metropolitan Hockey Club, Inc., 427 U.S. 639, 643, 96 S.Ct. 2778, 2781, 49 L.Ed.2d 747 (1976). This inherent power has been reinforced by Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2). In pertinent part, that rule reads:
“If a party … fails to obey an order to provide or permit discovery … the court in which the action is pending may make such orders in regard to the failure as are just, and among others the following: … (C) An order striking out pleadings or parts thereof … or rendering a judgment by default against the disobedient party.”
Contact a Copyright Infringement Law Firm to discuss your case.
Whether you are dealing with a BSA software audit, SIIA software licensing dispute, DMCA litigation, federal copyright litigation, or Copyright troll porn defense case, contact us to discuss your case in confidence. You can reach our intellectual property law department by calling (877) 276-5084 or by completing the form below (PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR PHONE NUMBER).
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