Ryan v. Editions Ltd. West, No. 12-17810 (9th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
After plaintiff, an artist, prevailed on a contributory copyright infringement claim against ELW, a publisher of her artwork, the district court awarded her attorney fees under a fee-shifting provision contained in the parties' publishing contract. Both parties appealed. Primarily at issue was whether the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq., precluded enforcement of a contractual attorney fees provision in copyright-based litigation. The court concluded that the Copyright Act does not bar an award of attorney fees under the circumstances but held that the district court abused its discretion by categorically excluding the majority of plaintiff’s requested fees without adequate explanation. The court affirmed the district court’s pretrial order setting the issues for trial and affirm its orders denying plaintiff’s motions for sanctions and for leave to amend. The court concluded that, although the district court correctly determined that plaintiff was entitled to attorney fees, the district court abused its discretion by categorically excluding the majority of plaintiff’s requested fees and failing to provide an adequate explanation for its calculations. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded.