Thursday, August 17, 2006

Porno Leads the Way Again

With the increase in the number of web sites offering videos, the number of copyright suits has increased too. As has been the case from the inception of the VCR, pornography is a significant source of litigation. Here is a recent complaint filed in the Northern District of California by the IO Group, d/b/a Titan Media (a creator of gay male porn) against Veoh Networks (www.veoh.com), a recent entrant into the field. There are direct and third-party claims over the copying and distribution of such works as "Boner," "Detour," "Don't Ask Don't Tell," "Heat," "Island Guradian," "River Patrol," and "SeaMen: Fallen Angel IV." A jury trial has been requested.

4 comments:

Berne Baby, Berne said...

I/O Media has filed many infringement suits in the Northern District of California and appears to be very aggressive about enforcing its copyrights. There are several unpublished opinions that can be found on Pacer that deal with issues typical of trial court litigation such as assessing statutory damages in the context of a default judgment. I have never been involved in an infringement suit involving pornography but I have the impression that claims involving pornographic images tend to be given more respect in court than claims involving nonpornographic images. For example, the opinions involving pornography tend to avoid judgmental comments about the quality or content of the images (e.g., they refrain from disparaging descriptions such as "snapshots") and the judges don't seem to be belittling plaintiffs by saying that they should not be bothering them with "small claims (that shouldn't be heard in federal court)" or characterizing them as money grabbers because they maintain they are entitled to statutory damages on a per work basis. I am not suggesting that federal courts are pandering to pornographers, but I sometimes wonder whether judges are more condescending to parties in the pornography industry in order to avoid being perceived as prudes.

William Patry said...

I haven't litigated any of these, but in the past, in fair use cases, courts were quite "judgmental" about obscene uses.

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The link at "here" doesn't work.

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