Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Bell v. Turentine

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

March 18, 2019

RICHARD N. BELL, Plaintiff,
v.
JERMAINE TURENTINE, Defendant.

          ORDER ON MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT (DKT. 10)

          SARAH EVANS BARKER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         On February 15, 2018, Plaintiff sued Defendant for infringement under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq. Dkt. 1. Defendant failed to plead or otherwise defend and the Clerk entered a default on August 13, 2018. Dkt. 9. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a). Now before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for default judgment. Dkt. 10. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b). The motion is granted in part.

         Discussion

         As the Seventh Circuit has explained in a recent case,

“There are two stages in a default proceeding: the establishment of the default, and the actual entry of a default judgment. Once the default is established, and thus liability, the plaintiff still must establish his entitlement to the relief he seeks.” In re Catt, 368 F.3d 789, 793 (7th Cir. 2004). This two-step process is clearly outlined in Rule 55(a) (entry of default) and Rule 55(b) (default judgment) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The basic effect of an entry of default (step one) is that “[u]pon default, the well-pleaded allegations of a complaint relating to liability are taken as true.” Dundee Cement Co. v. Howard Pipe & Concrete Prods., Inc., 722 F.2d 1319, 1323 (7th Cir. 1983). . . . At the same time, however, the entry of default “does not of itself determine rights.” United States v. Borchardt, 470 F.2d 257, 260 (7th Cir. 1972). That role is reserved for a default judgment.

VLM Food Trading Int'l, Inc. v. Ill. Trading Co., 811 F.3d 247, 255 (7th Cir. 2016) (first alteration omitted). Thus, “allegations regarding the amount of damages must be proven because ‘even when a default judgment is warranted based on a party's failure to defend, the allegations in the complaint with respect to the amount of damages are not deemed true.'” UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Stewart, 461 F.Supp.2d 837, 842 (S.D. Ill. 2006) (first alteration omitted) (quoting Catt, 386 F.3d at 793).

         I. Liability

         “As an initial matter the Court must determine whether Plaintiff[] ha[s] established a prima facie case as to liability for copyright infringement.” Id. “‘Plaintiff[] must satisfy two requirements to present a prima facie case of direct copyright infringement: (1) [he] must show ownership of the allegedly infringed material and (2) [he] must demonstrate that the alleged infringers violate at least one exclusive right granted to copyright holders under 17 U.S.C. § 106.'” Id. (alteration omitted) (quoting A & M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., 239 F.3d 1004, 1013 (9th Cir. 2001)).

         The complaint before us alleges that Plaintiff took a photograph of the Indianapolis, Indiana, skyline in March 2000. Compl. ¶ 7. “[C]opyright protection begins at the moment of creation of ‘original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression[.]'” JCW Invs., Inc. v. Novelty, Inc., 482 F.3d 910, 914 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting 17 U.S.C. § 102(a)). Accordingly, Plaintiff has satisfied the first legal element. The complaint alleges further that Plaintiff uploaded a copy of his photograph to the Internet in August 2000, Compl. ¶ 10, and that, some time before November 2017, Defendant downloaded a copy of the photograph from the Internet without Plaintiff's permission and used the copy in public advertisements for Defendant's business. Id. ¶ 14-17. The Copyright Act vests the exclusive right in a copyright holder “to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies . . . .” 17 U.S.C. § 106(1). Accordingly, Plaintiff has satisfied the second legal element.

         Liability having been established, we proceed to consider Plaintiff's appropriate remedies.

         II. Remedies

         Plaintiff seeks damages, costs, a permanent injunction, and a declaratory judgment. Compl., at 8-9.

         A. Damages

         The Copyright Act permits a plaintiff to elect statutory damages in lieu of actual damages. 17 U.S.C. § 504(a), (c). Plaintiff here has so elected. Br. Supp. 9 (citing Pl.'s Decl. ¶ 9). Accordingly, the Court may award “a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30, 000 as the court considers just.” 17 U.S.C. § 504(c)(1). Here, the minimum award of $750 is just, considering that the protected matter is a grainy, nineteen-year-old photograph that Plaintiff himself released into the world by uploading it to a public website without a ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.