Disney, Viacom, Others Ask For Infringement Ruling In Lime Wire Copyright Case

By Joseph Mandour on October 10, 2012

disney Los Angeles – A group of major movie and television studios asked a Manhattan federal judge on Monday to grant them partial summary judgment against Lime Wire LLC and its founder ahead of trial on their claims that the peer-to-peer file-sharing service facilitated illegal downloads of the studios’ copyrighted material on a grand scale.

Disney Enterprises Inc., Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., Viacom International Inc., Comedy Partners, Paramount Pictures Corp. and Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc. asked Judge Harold Baer for substantially the same ruling the New York court handed down in 2010 in the parallel copyright infringement case the major record labels brought against Lime Wire.

The studios are seeking to use collateral estoppel to hold the same defendants liable for the same conduct adjudicated in the record label case, namely Lime Wire’s inducement of copyright infringement through the distribution of its software. The dispositive legal issues in the two cases are identical, the studios argue.

The New York court’s holding as a matter of law in Arista Records LLC v. Lime Group LLC that Lime Wire intentionally encouraged direct infringement by its users also came at the summary judgment stage, the studios point out.

Lime Wire also had a full and fair opportunity to defend itself in the Arista case, which was litigated intensely for years, the studios says.

“As the resulting voluminous record attests, the LW defendants left no stone unturned in their defense of the Arista plaintiffs’ claims,” the partial summary judgment motion says. “Arista was a ‘bet the company’ case for the LW defendants.”

The Arista plaintiffs were seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, and Lime Wire ultimately paid over $100 million to settle the case in the midst of a jury trial on damages.

“The LW defendants availed themselves of every possible procedural and legal argument in Arista and yet were held liable on summary judgment based on ‘overwhelming evidence,’” the motion says.

Lime Wire’s argument that the Arista case was brought by record companies and much of the evidence focused on music-related infringement is unavailing, since liability for inducement of copyright infringement does not hinge on specific types of works, the studios say.

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