A new report by Lex Machina, an intellectual property litigation research company, has brought to light just how prevalent file sharing litigation has become lately in the world of intellectual property and copyright law. The analysis, which spanned more than five and a half years from the first quarter of 2009 to the second quarter of 2015, studied the trends of copyright cases that were filed in United States district courts during that period. The year 2011 witnessed an upsurge in file sharing cases and three years later, in the summer of 2014, file sharing cases outnumbered all other copyright cases by a significant margin.
Who are the Parties?
The most prevalent plaintiffs in the recent increase in file sharing cases are those in the music, software, publishing and fashion industries. Broadcast Music has filed close to 1,000 lawsuits since 2009 and Sony/ATV Song has filed just over 500. Warner-Tamerlane Publishing, Songs of Universal and EMI Blackwood have filed about 1,100 lawsuits combined. The top defendants have been retailers, recorded book publishers and music publishers. Ross Stores has had to defend itself against file sharing lawsuits 181 times in the past five years. TJX Companies, Universal Music, Amazon.com and Burlington Coat Factory have been contested just under 300 times combined.
How are the Cases Decided and How Long Does it Take?
The report highlights that fair use, a concept in U.S. copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without asking permission from the rights holder, is usually decided before a trial begins at summary judgment. About three out of four plaintiffs who won their cases did so at summary judgment. Of the lawsuits studied, the defendant succeeded in winning their case less than three percent of the time, but the plaintiff won their case 22 percent of the time, making them seven times more likely to have a successful outcome than the defendant in terms of file sharing cases. However, 64 percent of cases ended in settlement and almost 11 percent ended because of a procedural error by one of the parties.
The average time for a temporary restraining order was eight days, 1.2 months for a preliminary injunction and 7.5 months for a permanent injunction. In cases wherein a trial occurs, the average time it takes for a trial to begin is just over two years.
Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green Represent Clients in Intellectual Property Litigation Cases
Philadelphia business lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green have been fighting for our clients in complex business and copyright matters since 1958 – almost 60 years. Call 215-574-0600 or contact us online to talk to one of our knowledgeable Philadelphia copyright lawyers.