Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Copyright Law - Eighth Circuit: Will Scorched Earth Copyright Owner Be Burned By Infringer's Bankruptcy?

Copyrights and Bankruptcy,  Non-Dischargeability of Copyright Infringement Judgment in Bankruptcy, Attorneys Fees, Statutory Damages, Effect of Filing Proof of Claim on Right to Jury Trial

Pearson Education, Inc. v. Almgren, 685 F.3d 691 (8th Cir. July 13, 2012).  MBA student finds “solution” books to his textbooks on the internet.  After using them, has the bright idea of posing as a professor to obtain more solutions books from Plaintiff publisher.  Obtains the books and sells them on a website earning $5,000.  Publisher, without sending cease and desist letter, sues in New York and engages in scorched earth litigation.  MBA student declares bankruptcy.  Publisher files proof of claim.  Publisher then seeks jury trial on statutory damages and attorneys fees.  Court awards minimum statutory damages and denies attorneys fees.  Statutory damages are declared nondischargeable in bankruptcy.  As a matter of first impression: because bankruptcy is a court of equity, Publisher waived right to a jury trial by filing a proof of claim.  Denial of attorneys fees in toto affirmed.  Publisher could probably have stopped the activity with a cease and desist letter.  Publisher’s “spare no expenses” litigation tactics unreasonable.
 Purchase Copyright Litigation Handbook 2012-2013 by Raymond J. Dowd from West here  

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