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MTI Enterprises Inc. v. Theaterpalooza CMTY Theater Prod., Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

January 2, 2019

MTI ENTER., INC., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
THEATERPALOOZA CMTY THEATER PROD., INC., Defendant.

          ORDER

          T.S. Ellis, III United States District Judge.

         On December 7, 2018, United States Magistrate Judge Ivan Davis entered a Report and Recommendation ("Report") in this copyright infringement case, recommending that plaintiffs motion for default judgment be granted in part and denied in part. Specifically, Judge Davis found that defendant willfully infringed on plaintiffs copyrighted works, namely Annie, Mama Mia!, and Hairspray, and that plaintiff was entitled to recover $450, 000 in statutory damages ($150, 000 per copyrighted work) and $1, 532.72 in costs. Judge Davis also found, though, that plaintiff had not sufficiently proven the prevailing market rate for attorneys' fees and was therefore not entitled to fees or, at most, was entitled to reduced fees.

         The parties had fourteen days to object to Judge Davis' Report. Defendant filed no objections; plaintiff, however, filed a limited objection to Judge Davis' findings and recommendations regarding attorneys' fees.

         Upon consideration of the record and those portions of Judge Davis's Report to which no objections have been filed and having found no clear error, [1]

         The Court ADOPTS, as its own, the following findings fact and recommendations of the United States Magistrate Judge, as set forth in the Report (Doc. 17):

• Plaintiff owns the copyrighted works Annie, Mama Mia!, and Hairspray;
• Defendant infringed on plaintiffs copyrighted works by advertising and promoting performances of Annie, Mama Mia!, and Hairspray without obtaining the appropriate licenses;
• Defendant had actual knowledge that plaintiff owned the copyrights to Annie, Mama Mia!, and Hairspray, and willfully infringed these copyrighted works; • Plaintiff is entitled to the statutory maximum penalty of $150, 000 "for any one work," 17 U.S.C. § 5O4(c)(1)-(2), resulting in an award of statutory damages totaling $450, 000;[2]
• Plaintiff incurred costs of $ 1, 532.72, which must be taxed against defendant;
• Plaintiff satisfied each of the eBay factors[3] and defendant must be permanently enjoined from infringing plaintiffs copyrighted works.

         Upon consideration of the record and those portions of Judge Davis's Report to which an objection was filed, and having conducted a de novo review, The Court OVERRULES plaintiffs limited objection (Doc. 18) and ADOPTS the Magistrate Judge's recommendation to reduce plaintiffs request for attorneys' fees. Specifically, the Court makes the following findings:

• Plaintiff requests to be reimbursed at the rate of $865 per hour for partners and $610 per hour for associates.
• Although plaintiff submitted affidavits supporting their claim that these rates are the prevailing market rates for copyright litigation in the Washington D.C. area, these rates are high for this standard, ...

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