United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
A. Gibney, Jr. United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on the plaintiffs, ME2
Productions, Inc., motion for entry of default judgment. (Dk.
No. 15.) The plaintiff brought this action against Larry
Mason for copyright infringement under 17 U.S.C. § 101.
The plaintiff alleges Mason violated its copyright to the
film Mechanic: Resurrection by using BitTorrent, a
file-sharing system, to illegally copy and distribute the
film. The plaintiff served Mason with the amended complaint
on July 17, 2017. After Mason failed to file responsive
pleadings, the plaintiff moved for entry of default. Pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 55(a), the Clerk
entered default on November 3, 2017. The plaintiff now moves
for default judgment. The Court held a hearing on the motion
on March 26, 2018.
Rule 55(b), when a defendant defaults, he admits the
well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b). Thus, in reviewing a motion for default
judgment, courts accept plaintiffs' well-pleaded
allegations regarding liability as true. Ryan v.
Homecomings Fin. Network, 253 F.3d 778, 780 (4th Cir.
2001). Courts must then determine whether the allegations
support the relief sought. Id.
establish copyright infringement, a plaintiff must show (1)
the plaintiff owns a valid copyright, and (2) the defendant
copied constituent original elements of the work. ME2
Prods., Inc. v. Ahmed, __ F.Supp.3d __, 2018 WL 585547,
at *2 (W.D. Va. Jan. 29, 2018) (citing Feist Publ'ns,
Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., 499 U.S. 340, 361 (1991)).
Here, the plaintiff pleads the elements of infringement by
alleging that it owned a valid copyright, and that the
defendant copied and distributed the copyrighted material
through a BitTorrent network.
Court now turns to the appropriate relief in this case. The
plaintiff requests a permanent injunction prohibiting future
infringement, $6, 000 in statutory damages, and $5, 120 in
costs and attorney's fees.
Copyright Act authorizes courts to grant injunctions as they
deem reasonable to prevent copyright infringement. 17 U.S.C.
§ 502(a). A permanent injunction is "appropriate
when the nature of the infringement prevents an adequate
remedy at law, and...a threat of continuing infringement
exists." Ahmed, 2018 WL 585547, at *2.
the plaintiff adequately pled a claim for copyright
infringement, and the record lacks any indication the
defendant will abstain from future infringement. Accordingly,
the Court grants the plaintiff's request for a permanent
of actual damages and profits, the Copyright Act authorizes
plaintiffs to recover statutory damages between $750 and $30,
000 per work, "as the court considers just." 17
U.S.C. § 504(c)(1). Where plaintiffs prove willful
infringement, courts may award up to $150, 000. 17 U.S.C.
§ 504(c)(2). Courts have broad discretion within the
statutory range. Malibu Media, LLC v. Doe,
No. TDC-15-3185, 2018 WL 329041, at *1 (D. Md. Jan. 5, 2018).
In determining statutory damages, courts have considered a
variety of factors, including:
(1) whether the defendant was the original provider of the
infringed content to its distribution network; (2) whether,
and how much, the defendant profited or saved in connection
with the infringement; (3) the plaintiffs actual losses; (4)
the deterrent effect of statutory damages; and (5) the
defendant's willfulness and intent in infringing the
plaintiffs protected content.
Id. at *2.
the plaintiff does not allege that the defendant was the
original user who made the film available to others. See
Malibu Media, LLC v. [Redacted], No. CCB-15-1700, 2016
WL 245235, at *2 (D. Md. Jan. 21, 2016) (finding "no
evidence suggesting the defendant was the original
'seed' or provider of the protected content on the
BitTorrent network"). Nor does the plaintiff allege the
defendant received any specific ...