Friday, August 12, 2011
Ninth Circuit: Specific California Jurisdiction Over Ohio Celebrity Gossip Website Publishing Black-Eyed Peas Infringing Photographs
In Mavrix Photo Inc. v Brand Technologies (09-56134) (Ninth Circuit August 8, 2011), embedded below, the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court's dismissal of a copyright infringement lawsuit brought in California against an Ohio celebrity gossip website http://www.celebrity-gossip.net/ by Mavrix, the operator of http://www.mavrixonline.com/.
The opinion, by Circuit Judge William Fletcher, found no general jurisdiction over the Ohio website. However, the court found specific jurisdiction based on the activities of the Ohio website directed towards California residents, the serious commercial purpose and national fame of the Ohio website, its expectation knowledge that California residents would be its clients, and its purposeful infringement of a copyright owned by a California resident.
Specific jurisdiction is now a very hot topic in copyright law, following the American Buddha case (more on American Buddha here or scroll down to the bottom of the blog and select "American Buddha"). The issue is whether New York or California long-arm statutes will permit an exercise of jurisdiction over out of state infringers, so it is an example of federal courts relying on state law for their jurisdiction. The test is "due process" and the citations are to cases that are the bane of first-year law students. In the American Buddha case, the Second Circuit certified the question to the New York Court of Appeals. We are seeing an expansion of effective remedies for New York and California copyright owners for serious infringers who are located out-of-state.
Required reading for copyright practitioners.
Mavrix Technologies v Brand 09-56134
Purchase Copyright Litigation Handbook 2010 by Raymond J. Dowd from West here
Labels: celebrity-gossip.net, copyright infringement, copyright law, fergie and the black eyed peas, long arm jurisdiction, long arm statute, mavrix, specific jurisdiction
Partner in Manhattan law firm Dunnington Bartholow & Miller LLP in New York City litigating in federal and state courts and arbitrations. Experienced trial and appellate practitioner. Author: Copyright Litigation Handbook (Thomson Reuters 2015-2016). The New York Law Journal called it "an indispensable guide". Serve on the Board of Directors of the Federal Bar Association, served as Chair of the Circuit Vice Presidents, Vice President for the Second Circuit and General Counsel. Member Board of Governors, National Arts Club. President, Network of Bar Leaders (2013-2014). Attorney advertising disclaimer - prior results do not guarantee success. The statements and opinions voiced here are my own and not of my law firm.