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 by Mavrix, the operator of

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  

1 comment:

Celebrity Gossip said...

Excellent post I must say.. Simple but yet entertaining and engaging.. Keep up the awesome work!