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Chicago IP Litigation Tracking Northern District of Illinois IP Cases

Attempts to Resolve Dispute Do Not Prevent a Preliminary Injunction

Posted in Legal News

Flava Works, Inc. v. Gunter d/b/a myVidster.com, No. 10 C 6517, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jul. 27, 2011) (Grady, J.).

Judge Grady granted plaintiff Flava Works’ motion for a preliminary injunction in this copyright case involving adult movies, and ordered the parties to confer on language for the preliminary injunction. Defendants’ myVidster website is a "social video bookmarking" site which allows users to post or link to video content. When a user posts or links to the content, myVidster crawls the website hosting the video to gather data about the video, creates a thumbnail image of the video and embeds the video on the myVidster site.

Likelihood of Success

The Court held that there was a likelihood of success on at least Flava Works’ contributory copyright infringement claim. It could not be "seriously disputed" that third parties have directly infringed Flava Work’s works by posting video content on myVidster. And defendants knew or should have known about the infringement based upon Flava Works’ seven DMCA take down notices outlining instances of the infringement to defendants. In fact, the email exchanges surrounding the notices show that defendants were not cooperative in addressing the notices. And myVidster’s repeat infringer policy was the "epitome" of willful blindness. Furthermore, there was significant evidence that defendants encouraged the infringement. For example, myVidster encouraged sharing of video content without warning of potential copyright infringement issues.

Defendants were not protected by the DMCA’s safe harbor provision. A threshold requirement for safe harbor is that a party adopt and reasonably implement a policy providing for termination of users that are repeat infringers. Defendants policy did not require or directly provide for termination of repeat infringers. And defendants did not consider copyright infringement to be part of the defintion of "infringer."

Irreparable Harm

Defendants failed to rebut the presumption of irreparable harm in copyright cases. Flava Works’ did not delay in bringing the suit and then the injunction motion. Prior to filing suit, Flava Works attempted to resolve the issue with several DMCA take down notices and the Court would not penalize Flava Works for attempting to avoid litigation.