Malibu Media, LLC v. Brenneman

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Copyright, Damages
  • Date Filed: 12-13-2013
  • Case #: 3:13-cv-00332-PPS-CAN
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: N.D. Ind.
  • LexisNexis Citation: 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174641
  • Westlaw Citation: 2013 WL 6560387
  • Full Text Opinion

When a person shared portions of copyrighted torrent files of eleven movies, damages of $1500 per movie was sufficient.

Opinion (Simon): Malibu Media sued Johnathan Brenneman ("Brenneman"), alleging infringement of its copyrights after it was determined that he shared all or portions of eleven copyrighted movies using BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol. In determining that a default judgment was appropriate, the court accepted a sworn declaration from Malibu Media that Brenneman was not incompentent, in active military service, or a minor. The Copyright Act provides that a copyright infringer is liable for either the copyright owner's actual damages plus any additional profits of the infringer, or statutory damages. Malibu Media requested statutory damages of $2,250.00 per copyrighted work, three times the minimum statutory damages of $750 per work, for a total award of $24,750.00. The court considered whether Malibu Media was a "copyright troll," which is a copyright holder that regularly sues different parties for copyright infringment as a source of revenue, not to be made whole from the damage the infringment caused. The court determined that Malibu Media was not a copyright troll. Because Brenneman only provided small pieces of the files, he did not cause Malibu Media significant harm commensurate with that amount of damages. The court GRANTED statutory damages in the amount of $16,500.00 for the eleven infringements pursuant to the Section 504 of the Copyright Act, and attorneys' fees pursuant to Section 504 of the Copyright Act in the amount of $2,995.00. The court also permanently ENJOINED Brenneman from further file sharing.

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