A powerhouse of Silicon Valley software companies lead by Apple have collectively filed a Copyright Infringement lawsuit against Edy Jean Dollisme of "Ultimate PC Repairs" a website conducting business online and on sites like Craigslist. The plaintiffs allege that the "defendant has acted with willful blindness to and in reckless disregard of Plaintiffs' registered copyrights." The case is about software piracy and it could be an interesting case to follow. This report provides all of the pertinent details related to Apple's involvement in this case without interpretation.
Plaintiffs Apple Incorporated ("Apple"), Adobe Systems Incorporated ("Adobe"), Autodesk, Inc. ("Autodesk"), and Rosetta Stone Ltd. ("Rosetta Stone"), referred to collectively hereinafter as "Plaintiffs," by and through their undersigned attorneys, allege as follows:
Plaintiffs bring this action to obtain injunctive relief and recover damages arising from the infringement of its copyrights by the defendant, EDY JEAN DOLLISME, d/b/a "Ultimate PC Repairs," and "ultimatepcrepairs.webs.com" ("Dollisme" or "Defendant").
Defendant Dollisme is an individual who sells software and other products in interstate commerce and online, including via the Craigslist website (www.craigslist.org) and the Ultimate PC Repairs website.
The General Allegations – Introduction
Plaintiffs are in the business of, and make and continue to make a substantial investment of time, effort and expense in, designing, developing, testing, manufacturing, publishing, marketing, distributing, and licensing computer software programs recorded on various media for use on personal computers. Plaintiffs have all gained a worldwide reputation for quality and reliability regarding their computer software programs.
Widespread copying, sales and distributions of unauthorized and unlawful computer software programs – commonly referred to as "software piracy" – causes significant harm to software developers such as Plaintiffs and undermines investments in legitimate software products.
Plaintiffs bring this action as a result of Defendant's systematic, unauthorized copying and/or distribution of Plaintiffs' software products through sales conducted over the internet, including the popular classifieds website Craigslist, located at the domain name craigslist.org ("Craigslist"). Defendant has used various Craigslist seller identities and contact information to advertise his products on that site. Defendant also operates as Ultimate PC Repairs through his own web page located at ultimatepcrepairs.webs.com (the "Ultimate PC Website"), where he offers over eighty (80) software titles for sale. Defendant's actions detailed in this Complaint were and continue to be undertaken willfully and intentionally and have caused and are continuing to cause substantial damage and irreparable harm to Plaintiffs and the software industry.
Plaintiffs own the copyrights that are the subject of this litigation, including the copyright registrations attached as Exhibits A-D. 13. Plaintiffs are informed and believe and therefore allege that Defendant has, without authorization, reproduced, offered for sale, sold, and/or distributed unauthorized copies of Plaintiffs' copyrighted computer software programs.
Defendant's actions constitute willful violations of Plaintiffs' rights under the Copyright Act. Plaintiffs request that the Court enter an injunction against Defendant and award Plaintiffs damages, costs, and attorney's fees.
The Business of Apple
Apple develops, advertises, markets, distributes and licenses a number of computer software programs and related products, including, but not limited to, Apple® iWork® '09 software, which is a suite of numerous component software products, including Apple® Pages® software, Apple® Numbers® software, and Apple® Keynote® software (referred to collectively hereinafter as the "Apple Software").
Apple Software is recorded and distributed on CD-ROMs and/or other media, and also distributed via authorized electronic download.
Apple Software contains original expressive elements that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression, and thus is copyrightable under U.S. copyright law.
Apple, in compliance with the Copyright Act and U.S. Copyright Office procedures, has duly registered the Apple Software at issue in this case, and possesses the Certificates of Registration for such software. See Exhibit A, incorporated herein by reference.
Since registration, Apple Software has been published and distributed by Apple or under its authority, in compliance with U.S. copyright law.
Apple has not authorized Defendant to copy, reproduce, duplicate, disseminate, or distribute Apple Software.
Defendant's Unlawful Conduct
Defendant advertises and distributes software and related products via the internet, including Craigslist, the Ultimate PC Website, and by other means. Upon information and belief, Defendant uses Craigslist, the Ultimate PC Website, and the internet to advertise, sell, and distribute unauthorized and unlawful computer software products to consumers throughout the United States, including Connecticut.
Defendant's primary sales vehicle, the Ultimate PC Website, lists over eighty (80) software titles and claims to have "many more upon request." Moreover, Defendant links classified postings for software sales on Craigslist to the Ultimate PC Website.
Plaintiffs are informed and believe and therefore allege that Defendant has used the internet, including without limitation the Ultimate PC Website and Craigslist, to advertise, offer for sale, sell and distribute unauthorized copies, or copies of unauthorized derivative works, of the Apple Software, the Adobe Software, the Autodesk Software, and the Rosetta Stone Software (referred to collectively hereinafter as the "Computer Software Products") to consumers throughout the United States, including Connecticut. Notably, some or all of the infringing copies distributed by Defendant were in the form of burned (i.e., "homemade") DVD+R and CD-R media, with the titles handwritten in marker. Thus, upon information and belief, Defendant or his agents engaged directly in the infringing copying, as well as infringing distribution, of the Computer Software Products.
Plaintiffs are informed and believe and therefore allege that Defendant has engaged in such acts willfully and intentionally.
By selling and/or distributing infringing copies of Plaintiffs' software in and to the District of Connecticut, Defendant availed himself of Connecticut and its laws, and knew or reasonably should have anticipated being hauled into court in Connecticut to account for the damage and harm suffered arising out of the infringing sales made to and in this District.
Plaintiffs repeat and incorporate by this reference each and every allegation set forth in paragraphs 1 through 43, inclusive.
Plaintiffs are the sole owners and licensors of the copyrighted Computer Software Products alleged herein, as well as related software and components, including user reference manuals, user guides, screen displays and/or product packaging covered by Plaintiffs' registered copyrights, as reflected in the attached Certificates of Registration.
Defendant has infringed the copyrights in Plaintiffs' software, including but not limited to the Computer Software Products described herein and covered by Plaintiffs' registered copyrights and Certificates of Registration, by copying and/or distributing infringing copies of such software without the approval or authorization of Plaintiffs.
Defendant's conduct has been willful within the meaning of the Copyright Act. At a minimum, Defendant has acted with willful blindness to and in reckless disregard of Plaintiffs' registered copyrights.
As a result of his wrongful conduct, Defendant is liable to Plaintiffs for copyright infringement. Plaintiffs have suffered, and will continue to suffer, substantial losses, including, but not limited to, damage to their goodwill and business reputation. Plaintiffs are entitled to recover damages, which include their losses and all profits Defendant has made as a result of their wrongful conduct, pursuant to 17U.S.C. § 504(b).
Alternatively, Plaintiffs are entitled to statutory damages pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 504(c).
In addition, because Defendant's conduct has been willful within the meaning of the Copyright Act, the award of statutory damages should be enhanced pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 504(c)(2).
Plaintiffs are also entitled to injunctive relief pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 502. Plaintiffs have no adequate remedy at law for Defendant's wrongful conduct because, among other things, (a) Plaintiffs' copyrights are unique and valuable property which have no readily determinable market value, (b) Defendant's infringement harms Plaintiffs' goodwill and business reputation such that Plaintiffs could not be made whole by any monetary award, and (c) Defendant's wrongful conduct, and the resulting damage to Plaintiffs, is continuing.
Plaintiffs are also entitled to recover their attorneys' fees and costs of suit pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 505.
Payer for Relief
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs respectfully request judgment against Defendant as
1) That the Court enter a judgment against Defendant finding: a. that Defendant has willfully infringed Plaintiffs' rights in the Plaintiffs' Computer Software Programs, including their registered copyrights, in violation of 17 U.S.C. § 501; and b. that Defendant has otherwise injured Plaintiffs' goodwill and business reputation by the acts and conduct set forth in this Complaint.
2) That the Court issue temporary and/or preliminary injunctive relief enjoining and restraining Defendant and his respective agents, servants, employees, successors and assigns, and all other persons acting in concert or conspiracy with Defendant or affiliated with Defendant, from: a. copying, reproducing, distributing, or using any unauthorized copies of Plaintiffs' copyrighted computer software programs; b. otherwise infringing any of Plaintiffs' copyrights; c. destroying any copies of software products, components materials, or documents, including without limitation electronic files or business records, that relate or pertain to:
i. the copying, reproduction, advertisement, offering for sale, sale, distribution, or use of, or transmission or receipt of any payment for, Plaintiffs' Computer Software Products; or ii. the infringement of Plaintiffs' copyrights.
d. inducing, causing or materially contributing to the infringement of Plaintiffs' copyrights by others; e. assisting, aiding, or abetting any other person or business entity in engaging in or performing any of the activities referred to in subparagraphs (a)-(d) above. ) That the Court issue a permanent injunction making permanent the orders requested in paragraphs 2(a) through (e) of this Prayer for Relief;
4) That the Court order Defendant to pay Plaintiffs' general, special, actual, and statutory damages as follows:
a. Plaintiffs' damages and Defendant's profits pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 504(b) or, alternatively, enhanced statutory damages pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 504(c) and 17 U.S.C. § 504(c)(2), for Defendant's willful infringement of Plaintiffs' copyrights;
5) That the Court enter an order, pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 504(b), requiring Defendant to prepare an accounting of all "profits" received by Defendant from his infringement of Plaintiffs' copyrights.
6) That the Court enter an order, pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 504(b), declaring that Defendant hold in trust, as constructive trustee for the benefit of Plaintiffs, all "profits" received by Defendant from his infringement of Plaintiffs' copyrights, and issue temporary, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief enjoining and restraining Defendant and his agents from transferring, concealing or dissipating all profits and assets acquired in whole or in part with those profits.
7) That the Court issue an order requiring Defendant within, thirty (30) days after service of an injunction, to file with this Court and serve on Plaintiffs a report in writing and under oath, setting forth in detail the manner and form in which Defendant has complied with the injunction;
8) That the Court order preliminary relief impounding all infringing copies of Plaintiffs' computer software programs, as well as associated articles, in Defendant's possession or control, and, upon judgment, enter an appropriate order regarding the disposition of same;
9) That the Court award Plaintiffs their reasonable attorney's fees pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 505;
10) That the Court award Plaintiffs their costs of suit incurred herein; and
11) That the Court grant to Plaintiffs such other and additional relief as is just and proper.
The case was filed in the U.S. District Court District of Connecticut. The presiding judge assigned to the case is Janet C. Hall. Apple is being represented by Roche Pia LLC.
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