Just above a calendar year back, author John Van Stry filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in a Texas court docket against former Pirate Party Canada chief Travis McCrea, the operator of Ebook down load platform Book.bicycle.
The criticism alleged that McCrea infringed the copyrights of Van Stry by earning at the very least a dozen of his textbooks out there for obtain with out a license, together with other titles by popular authors which include Stephen King and J.K. Rowling.
Next the case has been testing, to say the the very least. The discovery course of action was labored, disorganized, and at times not a lot short of chaotic. The events, when they communicated at all, were beset by difficulties that ended up agonizingly thorough in pages of court filings. McCrea cited a variety of defenses, such as less than the DMCA and on religious grounds, and was flat-out accused of irritating the whole system by Van Stry’s lawful crew.
Behind that briefest summary of functions, the scenario has been rumbling on the track record, consuming significant sums of time and revenue as it has done so. Offered McCrea’s before declare that he would under no circumstances be in a position to fork out need to he get rid of the situation and Van Stry’s apparent economical financial commitment in the make a difference, it was generally going to be difficult to decide on a ‘winner’.
That currently being said, Van Stry seems decided to make a point about piracy, not only for him but for all authors. It may well confirm complicated to place a value tag on that but it is the court’s occupation to try. That prospects us to a proposed movement for last summary judgment filed by Van Stry’s legal team that has just been dealt with by the decide.
The proposed summary judgment asks the court docket to locate that McCrea “knowingly and intentionally” dedicated direct infringement in regard of 12 of Van Stry’s textbooks and is “contributorily and vicariously responsible” for copyright infringements carried by Book.bike’s people in regard of the exact same works.
Demanding a wide injunction to avoid McCrea and his “agents, servants, personnel, lawyers, and all folks in active concert and participation with him” from infringing, resulting in, enabling, facilitating, encouraging, contributing to, or participation in infringement of the is effective in long term, it even further proposes substantial damages.
“Pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §504(c)(1), the Court awards Mr. Van Stry $15,000 per each individual of the twelve is effective-at-challenge, consisting of $3,800 in compensatory damages and, thanks to Mr. McCrea’s willful infringement, $11,200 in punitive damages, for a overall of $180,000,” the proposal reads.
On major, of course, Van Stry is demanding complete costs, which includes attorneys’ service fees, to assure he is not remaining out of pocket.
In a memorandum and belief issued this 7 days, District Court docket Judge William Bryson notes that underneath the Copyright Act, Van Stry could’ve demanded a total whole lot much more in statutory damages – $150,000 per do the job, to be precise. The Choose then goes on to tackle many files filed by McCrea in which he denied any wrongdoing because there was no proof “that there experienced been any downloads of copyrighted content.”
“At the identical time, Mr. McCrea said that he was ‘practising [his] faith by encouraging authors link with their readers’,” the Judge writes. “McCrea also claimed that his actions had been shielded by the safe and sound harbor provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. And, in the event of legal responsibility, Mr. McCrea disputed Mr. Van Stry’s contention as to the proper volume to be awarded in damages.”
On the DMCA problem, the Choose goes into some element but in the long run notes that McCrea is not entitled to declare protected harbor due to his failure to register an agent at the Copyright Business office.
In respect of some variety of protection underneath the Religious Liberty Restoration Act 1993 (RFRA), the Judge states that the RFRA doesn’t implement mainly because the circumstance is a dispute among personal events.
“Even assuming the sincerity of Mr. McCrea’s beliefs and even if RFRA have been applicable to this circumstance, Mr. McCrea’s affirmative defense would even now fall short because he has offered no proof that the government, or any entity, has considerably burdened his practising of his faith,” the Judge notes.
“The only religious procedures Mr. McCrea identifies is ‘helping authors connect with their readers’ and copying and sharing facts. I fail to see the recommended conflict amongst individuals methods and abiding by the Copyright Act. Mr. McCrea unquestionably could have approached Mr. Van Stry to attain a license to duplicate, make obtainable, and distribute Mr. Van Stry’s copyrighted is effective, if that was how Mr. McCrea selected to enable hook up Mr. Van Stry with his audience.”
At this stage, the motion seems to be likely nowhere excellent for McCrea but the Judge then reveals he won’t be rubber-stamping Van Stry’s request for damages as outlined in his proposed motion. The Supreme Court docket gives a suitable to a trial and the scale of statutory damages is a query for the jury, unless both equally sides concur to a choice being manufactured by the court docket.
Provided submissions from the get-togethers, Choose Bryson claims he thinks Van Stry and McCrea want him to choose the ideal volume of statutory damages. Having said that, what Van Stry is demanding ($15,000 for each do the job) conflicts with the statutory minimal instructed by McCrea ($750 for every function).
As a final result, the Judge needs both equally sides to publish to the courtroom to confirm that they want him to determine the quantity, rather than a jury. This, having said that, raises other problems.
“[I] observe that the appropriate to a jury demo on the problem of statutory damages does not utilize when the plaintiff seeks an award confined to the statutorily confirmed bare minimum sum,” the Decide notes.
“In mild of Mr. Van Stry’s acknowledgement that damages in this scenario are possible to be illusory, he may perhaps want to restrict his request for statutory damages to the statutory minimal award of $750 for each get the job done —an quantity that Mr. McCrea has currently agreed would be suitable. In that occasion, a jury trial on damages would not be necessary.
“Mr. Van Stry could, if he chooses, make the ask for to limit the award of statutory damages in the alternate. The request, that is, would only regulate in the party that Mr. McCrea does not waive his correct to a jury demo,” Judge Bryson provides.
The events have been offered 7 days to recommend the Courtroom whether they wish to have the Court docket “resolve all problems pertinent to an award of statutory damages” in extra of the statutory restrict of $750 for every perform. We know that $750 is suitable to McCrea but seems unlikely to be satisfactory to Van Stry – 12 x $750 sounds like $9,000, a whole lot fewer than the $180,000 previously talked about.
Must the author get the circumstance he will, on the other hand, be entitled to get better his fees. Previously this year, Van Stry indicated he was presently in the gap for $60,000 in authorized service fees, only 50 percent of which was included by donations from fellow authors and other effectively-wishers.
But even that figure must’ve been surpassed by now, particularly if the involved GoFundMe campaign’s target of $90,000 is something to go by. That continue to leaves the concern of irrespective of whether he can get well something at all – damages or costs – from McCrea, who doesn’t even reside in the United States.
Both way, E book.bike shut down many months ago.
The motion for summary judgment and memorandum opinion and get can be located in this article and below
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Written by David Minister
By David Minister
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