Hi, Marta, Do not worry about it, I did not take any offense, We all have things on our mind. Actually, I was upset at myself because I gave you more information than you wanted or needed. Let me know if you need any clarification with respect to the decision of the Judges because there were several issues which the Court of Appeals addressed in their decision,
1. Who is suing who?
There are 7 Plaintiffs suing two Defendants, East Coast Foods, Inc. and Herbert Hudson, as follows:
Plaintiffs (Hereinafter referred to as the "Music Companies" or "Plaintiffs")
RANGE ROAD MUSIC, INC.
WILLIAMSON MUSIC COMPANY
DANIEL KURAMOTO, DBA Little Tiger Music;
KIMO CORNWELL, DBA Omik Music;
TERI KOIDE, DBA Skhamalee Music;
UNIVERSAL MUSIC CORPORATION
Defendants (Hereinafter referred to as "East Coast Foods", or "Hudson", or sometimes collectively referred to as "Defendants"
EAST COAST FOODS, INC.;
2. What is the issue?
There are four issues (and a minor one which is unimportant)
A. Did the Defendants engage in copyright infringement
B. If the Defendants did not engage in direct infringement, could they be held vicariously liable for the acts of another which constituted copyright infringement
C. Did the US District Court err in granting the Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment
D. Is it an abuse of discretion if the US District Court awards attorneys' fees and costs to Plaintiffs;
3. How they got there-
A. Plaintiffs Music Companies sued Defendants East Coast Foods and Hudson in the United States District Court for the Central District of California for copyright infringement and sought to impose "vicarious liability on the Defendants.
The United States District Court granted the Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment, held that the Defendants vicariously engaged in copyright nfringement and awarded Judgment in favor of Plaintiffs for 8 copyright infringements in the amount of $36,000, and also awarded attorneys' fees and costs to the Plaintiffs in the amount of $162,728 against Defendants.
4. Why are they there?
Defendants appealed the United States District Court decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit of California
Defendant East Coast Foods owned and operated a chain of Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles in 5 locations in Southern California, including one in Long Beach, the Long Beach Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles (the "Long Beach"). Defendant Herbert Hudson was the sole officer and director of East Coast Foods. Long Beach opened in 2001. Attached to the restaurant is the "Sea Bird Jazz Lounge" where live musical performances were held.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers ("ASCAP"). ASCAP is a non-profit organization that licenses the music of its members. ASCAP offered Long Beach a license to perform music by ASCAP members, but Long Beach refused.
Between 2001 and 2007 ASCAP demanded the Long Beach pay licensing fees because it had live performances of music which was licensed to ASCAP member. In 2008, Plaintiff Music Companies engaged XXXXX XXXXXe, an independent investigator to go to Long Beach, take notes on music that was being performed there and submit an investigative report to Plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs reviewed Greene's report, determined that Long Beach was engaging in copyright infringement in that its live performances consisted of eight songs for which ASCAP members had validly registered copyrights and filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court against Defendants, alleging 8 counts of copyright infringement.
Plaintiffs moved for summary judgment and Defendants cross-moved for summary judgment. The District Court granted Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment in the amount of $36,000 for 8 copyright infringements and awarded attorneys' fees and costs of $162,728 against Defendants.
6. Judges' Decision
The United States Court of Appeals Affirmed the United States District Court's decision in favor of Plaintiff
Summary judgment is properly granted when, "viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of that party, no genuine issue of material fact exists and the moving party is entitled to summary judgment."
Court of Appeals found that Plaintiffs established a prima facie case of copyright infringement by:
A. Showing ownership of a validly registered copyright; and
B. Copying of a constituent element of the original work had occurred when copyrighted work was performed and when CDs were used.
Defendants objected to Greene's testimony, alleging that it was being offered as expert testimony and Greene was a layman and his testimony should have been excluded. The Court of Appeals dismissed the Defendants' argument, finding that "identifying popular songs does not require any scientific, technical, or specialized knowledge..." and accepted Greene's investigative report and testimony.
The District Court did not abuse its discretion in awarding attorneys' fees because the Copyright Act provided that a Judge may award attorneys' fees in copyright infringement actions.
Court of Appeals found that Defendant East Coast Foods and Defendant Hudson vicariously engaged in copyright infringement. One can impute vicarious liability on a party even though they did not engage in any act of infringement when it is found that:
A. A party had control of the direct "infringer" and could have stopped the
infringement at any time, but did nothing to stop it; and
B. A party derives financial benefit or gain from the direct infringement
Court of Appeals found that there was overwhelming evidence showing that Defendant East Coast Foods and Defendant Hudson exercised control over
both the Long Beach Roscoe's and the Sea Bird Jazz Lounge, and derived a
financial benefit from the musical performances in the lounge. Therefore, the Defendants were properly found jointly and severally liable for copyright infringement.
East Coast Foods and Hudson were properly named as Defendants. Hudson was in full control, was the sole officer of East Coast Foods and its sole director. In addition, Hudson had applied for and signed the Application for a liquor license for Long Beach Roscoe's and the Sea Bird Jazz Lounge,
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