Luvdarts v. AT & T Mobility

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Copyright
  • Date Filed: 03-25-2013
  • Case #: 11-55497
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge O'Scannlain for the Court; Circuit Judge Fletcher; Senior District Judge Korman
  • Full Text Opinion

Mobile carriers are not vicariously liable for copyright infringement occurring on their networks when the plaintiff fails to allege the carriers had a “necessary right and ability to supervise the infringing conduct,” and the carriers are not contributorily liable for copyright infringement when the carriers did not have the “requisite specific knowledge of infringement.”

Luvdarts LLC and Davis-Reuss, Inc. (“Luvdarts”) sued AT&T Mobility, LLC and other mobile wireless carries (“Carriers”) for copyright infringement for forwarding electronic greeting cards on their wireless networks without permission or compensation. The district court granted Carriers’ motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted. On appeal, Luvdarts claimed that Carriers were vicariously liable for copyright infringement that occurred on their networks and should have established a system to prevent such infringement. The panel held that Luvdarts failed to show that Carriers had the right and ability to supervise the conduct that constituted infringement, and thus Luvdarts could not prevail on its infringement claim. Luvdarts also claimed that Carriers were contributorily liable for the infringement on their networks. The panel held that Luvdarts failed to prove that Carriers had specific knowledge of the infringement as is required for contributory liability. Luvdarts additionally argued that Carriers were “willfully blind” to the infringement. For this claim, Luvdarts needed to prove that Carriers had actively avoided learning about the infringement. Since Luvdarts was unable to prove the active avoidance, the panel held that Luvdarts failed to prove willful blindness or contributory liability. AFFIRMED.

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