- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Editor’s Note: Starting today, we’re going to post a few notable entertainment and media related court decisions in a roundup each week. Not necessarily the higher-profile stuff we post about often, these will focus more on the smaller cases that may have fallen through the cracks. Think of it as a weekly desk-cleaning of interesting cases.
Case: Virgin Records v. Thompson
Court: 5th Circuit
Date: Jan. 4, 2008
Facts: In a music piracy case, four recording companies sued Cliff Thompson in July 2006 for illegal distribution of copyrighted audio files. In September 2006 — more than eight months after the plaintiffs first notified him of the alleged infringement — Thompson disclosed that “if anyone downloaded the songs in question it probably would be [my] adult daughter.” After confirming that Brigette Thompson was the direct infringer, the plaintiffs dismissed their case against her father. The trial judge denied the defendant’s motion for attorney’s fees.
Holding: Denial of attorney’s fees affirmed. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the lawsuit was not frivolous or objectively unreasonable, the plaintiffs had no “malevolent intent” but acted properly to protect their copyrights, and an award of fees “would not advance considerations of compensation and deterrence. These Plaintiffs should not be deterred from bringing future suits to protect their copyrights because they brought an objectively reasonable suit.”
To read the full opinion, click here or http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/07/07-50067-CV0.wpd.pdf.
Case: Nationwide Bi-Weekly Administration v. Belo Corp.
Court: 5th Circuit
Date: Dec. 21, 2007
Facts: A mortgage lender sued the Dallas Morning News for libel in July 2004, alleging an article about one of its mortgage programs was defamatory. The newspaper was not served until June 2005 and the trial court dismissed the case under the one-year statute of limitations because of the lengthy and unexplained delay in service. The print version of the story was published in July 2003 but on appeal, Nationwide argued the single publication rule does not apply to subsequent publication on the paper’s website.
Holding: Since Firth v. State, 775 N.E.2d 463, 466 (2002), “Every court to consider the issue … has followed suit in holding that the single publication rule applies to information widely available on the Internet,” and the “application of the rule in this context appears consistent with the policies cited by Texas courts in adopting and applying the single publication rule to print media: to support the statute of limitations and to prevent the filing of stale claims.”
To read the full opinion, click here or http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/06/06-11283-CV0.wpd.pdf.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day