Glacier Films (USA), Inc. v. Turchin, No. 16-35688 (9th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's order denying plaintiff's motion for attorney's fees in a copyright infringement action brought by a film production company, alleging that a single user illegally downloaded and distributed repeatedly American Heist, a Hollywood action movie. In Fogerty v. Fantasy, Inc., 510 U.S. 517 (1994), the Supreme Court laid out factors to guide discretion in whether to award fees. The panel held that the district court did not faithfully apply the Fogerty factors in this meritorious BitTorrent action. The panel noted that the district court's analysis of whether fees are warranted should be based on Glacier's case against defendant, and not on the district court's view of BitTorrent litigation in general or on the conduct of Glacier's counsel in other suits. Therefore, remand was necessary because the district court denied fees under the present circumstances based on a one-size-fits-all disapproval of other BitTorrent suits.
Court Description: Copyright Act / Attorney’s Fees The panel reversed the district court’s order denying plaintiff’s motion for attorney’s fees in a copyright infringement suit. A film production company sued a user of BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer network, who illegally downloaded and repeatedly distributed a movie. Per the parties’ agreement in a stipulated consent judgment, the defendant stipulated to liability and to statutory damages, and the district court entered a permanent injunction against him. The panel held that the district court abused its discretion by focusing on its generally unfavorable view of other BitTorrent litigation and failing to faithfully apply the “Fogerty factors” in deciding whether to award attorney’s fees under 17 U.S.C. § 505. The panel remanded the case to the district court.