Columbia Pictures Industries v. Fung

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Copyright
  • Date Filed: 03-21-2013
  • Case #: 10-55946
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Berzon for the Court; Circuit Judges Pregerson and Fisher
  • Full Text Opinion

The Grokster test for copyright infringement extends to websites even though the wording of the test’s first element applies to “devices” and “products.”

Gary Fung appealed a judgment against him for contributory copyright infringement by maintaining various peer-to-peer sharing websites known as BitTorrent protocol. Fung also had an injunction entered against him where Columbia Pictures would provide him with a list of content and he was given 24 hours to remove the titles from his websites. The panel affirmed the lower court’s decision regarding the contributory copyright infringement by applying the test from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. v. Grokster. The first prong of the Grokster test was at issue because it refers to “distribution of a device or product.” Fung argued that his websites did not fall under either a “device” or a “product.” The panel held that the terms “device” and “product” were used only because of the specific facts of the Grokster case and, therefore, extended the reasoning of Grokster to apply also to the particular mediums used by Fung. Fung further argued the injunction against him was overly broad and unduly burdensome. The panel agreed and modified the injunction accordingly. However, the panel left it to the district court to specifically reword the injunction. AFFIRMED in part, VACATED in part, INJUNCTION MODIFIED in part.

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