Monday, August 5, 2019
Jurisdiction Lies Over Foreign Defendants Operating Websites Aimed at U.S. Users
Plaintiff, Foreign Owned Network of Pornographic Sites Headquartered in Santa Monica, Claims Porn.com Infringes on Its Copyrights
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the dismissal of an action for copyright infringement brought by an outfit that produces pornographic materials, holding that the District Court erred in finding a lack of personal jurisdiction over foreign defendants associated with the website porn.com.
The plaintiffs are Hydentra HLP Int. Ltd. and Hydentra LP HLP General Partner Incorporated which are organized under the laws of the Republic of Cyprus. They run the MetArt Network, a collection of porn websites.
MetArt is headquartered in Santa Monica.
There are four defendants. It was established in the District Court that Sagan Limited, a company in the East African nation of Seychelles, and Cyberweb, a company in the Caribbean nation of Barbados, are owners of porn.com; it was not determined whether a Canadian company and an individual in Canada are owners or contractors.
The memorandum opinion says:
“Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(k)(2), the federal long-arm statute, authorizes a district court’s exercise of personal jurisdiction over a defendant if (1) the claim arises under federal law; (2) the defendant is not subject to jurisdiction of any state court of general jurisdiction; and (3) exercising jurisdiction comports with due process.”
Due Process Issue
The defendants acknowledged that the first two criteria are met. So was the third, the opinion declares, because it is alleged that there were intentional acts of copyright infringement aimed at the United States and causing harm here.
Referring to the defendants collectively as “Sagan,” the opinion says:
“Hydentra alleges that Sagan’s unauthorized display of its copyrighted videos, which Hydentra makes available for a fee, resulted in lost profits and reputational damage, and that the majority of its revenue is generated in the United States. Thus, as we must construe all facts in Hydentra’s favor, it is not unreasonable to infer that the foreseeable economic harm alleged would have been suffered in the United States.”
The case is Hydentra HLP Int. Limited v. Sagan Limited, 17-16637.
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