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PornHub Sister Company Wins $2.1m Piracy Damages, But No Blocking Order

By iptv.legal , in Aylo goodporn MG Premium Piracy , at February 13, 2024

copyright pornhubThe name ‘Aylo’ might not ring a bell with many people but it is one of the leading players in the adult entertainment industry.

Formerly known as MindGeek, and Manwin before that, the company conquered the online adult market over the past decade by offering free porn to the masses.

Aylo is also the driving force behind free ‘tube’ sites such as PornHub, YouPorn, Redtube and Tube. It also owns many adult brands, such as Brazzers and Reality Kings, that charge for subscriptions.

Over the years, the company has built an impressive library of over 40,000 registered copyright works. The company’s enforcement arm MG Premium protects this content by various means; it sends millions of takedown requests per week and full-blown lawsuits often enter the equation.

Bizarre Goodporn Lawsuit

One stand-out lawsuit targeted the tube site, Goodporn. MG Premium sued the platform for widespread copyright infringement, hoping to shut it down, but after two years that had proven elusive.

Instead, Goodporn owner Amrit Kumar fought back hard. Among other things, he allegedly signed a contract to obtain the rights to MG Premium’s content in 2019, leading him to accuse his accusers of copyright infringement. Kumar went as far as ‘going after’ the pornhub.com domain.

It’s almost impossible to summarize this bizarre case, which comprises hundreds of filings. For example, it also includes Lizette Lundberg and Emile Brunn as defendants, who stood accused of working with Kumar and submitting inaccurate DMCA counternotices.

Ultimately, however, the court entered summary judgment and a default, for inducement of copyright infringement and contributory copyright infringement against all Goodporn defendants.

Millions in Damages and a Broad Injunction

Last December MG Premium asked a California federal court to issue a default judgment in the amount of $21.6 million. That was based on a $15,000 damages award for each of the 2,433 works in the lawsuit.

The $15,000 figure was reasonable, the company argued, as it’s just a tenth of the maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per work.

MG Premium also requested a permanent injunction that would order domain registries and registrars to sign over all infringing Goodporn domain names.

While these targeted requests are not uncommon, the proposed injunction went much further than that. Search engines, hosting and Internet service providers, domain registrars, domain registries and other service providers should be required to block the site’s domain names, MG Premium said.

“[The companies should] block or use reasonable efforts to attempt to block access by United States users of the Goodporn Websites by blocking or attempting to block access to all domains, subdomains, URLs, and/or IP Addresses that have as its sole or predominant purpose to enable to facilitate access to the Goodporn Websites.”

Court Limits Damages, Denies Injunction

After reviewing all relevant factors, the court agreed that a default judgment is appropriate. However, MG Premium won’t get everything it requested. The court settled on a substantially lower damages award, decimating the original request.

“Plaintiff has not adduced any evidence justifying why an award of $15,000 per infringement is reasonable and appropriate in this case,” the order reads.

“Weighing the authorities and arguments presented in Plaintiff’s brief, though unmoored by evidence substantiating Plaintiff’s position, the Court exercises its discretion to award statutory damages of $1,500 per infringement, that is, twice the minimum statutory damages available for willful infringement.”

The damages award, to be paid by Kumar, is substantially lower than the amount MG Premium hoped to get, but still adds up to $2,157,000. On top, $46,740 in attorneys’ fees, to be paid by all defendants.

The Judgment

order

The court further declared that MG Premium is the rightful owner of all works identified in the complaint but declined to award the requested injunction. This means that the domains will be neither seized nor blocked.

“Without any evidence to support the remedy, particularly evidence toward irreparable harm and the inadequacy of monetary remedies, the Court declines to find Plaintiff is entitled to the injunctions it seeks,” the order reads.

Despite the win, MG Premium likely hoped for much more than it got. That could mean this isn’t the last we hear of this case.

More to Come?

TorrentFreak spoke with Jason Tucker of Battleship Stance, who worked for MG Premium on this case. He is pleased that this important hurdle was taken but expects that there is more to come.

“This is one of the most bizarre cases I have ever consulted on and it is not over,” Tucker informs TorrentFreak.

“The Defendant displayed full-length movies with no license and completely ignored takedown notices. In response to a lawsuit, a person purportedly named Amrit Kumar claimed to own all of MG Premium’s past and future library of movies and images. His basis was a forged agreement.”

Whether MG Premium will fully recoup the damages remains to be seen. The fact that there are doubts about the identities of the defendants suggests that this might not be straightforward. That said, Tucker tells us that he is committed to helping his client enforce the judgment, while putting an end to the copyright-infringing activity.

A copy of the order is available here (pdf) and the associated judgment can be found here (pdf)

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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