United States District Court, W.D. Washington
Honorable Richard A. Jones United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Criminal
Productions, Inc.'s sixteen nearly identical motions for
default judgment in the above captioned cases. Plaintiff
seeks default judgment against the following Defendants:
Reina Marroquin, Greg Gordon Sr., Michael Stoker, Maria Hull,
Collin Kelly, Phillip Pisciotta, Jeff Corder, Kueejin Eum,
James Puckett, Liang Deng, Valerie Mosser, Joseph David
Orndonez, Kristin White, Blessings Kambala, Liam McDonald,
and Sarah Larson. These motions are noted on the Court's
docket as follows: C16-729-RAJ, Dkt. # 88 (Marroquin), # 90
(Gordon Sr.); C16-1177-RAJ, Dkt. # 49 (Stoker), # 51 (Hull);
C16-1272-RAJ, Dkt. # 62 (Kelly), # 64 (Pisciotta), # 66
(Corder), # 68 (Eum), # 70 (Puckett); C16-1352-RAJ, Dkt. # 66
(Deng), # 68 (Mosser), # 70 (Orndonez), # 72 (White), # 74
(Kambala); C16-1351-RAJ, Dkt. # 61 (McDonald), and Dkt. # 63
(Larson). For the reasons that follow, the Court
GRANTS the motions and enters default
judgment against Defendants.
cases are among ten nearly identical actions filed between
May 2016 and January 2017 alleging copyright infringement by
various Doe Defendants who participated in BitTorrent
“swarms.” The facts are straightforward.
Plaintiff is a developer and producer of the motion picture
Criminal. See, e.g., C16-729, Dkt. # 14
(Am. Compl.) ¶¶ 5-6. Plaintiff owns a registered
copyright in Criminal, Registration No. PA
1-984-029. Id. ¶ 6. All Defendants-including
those against whom Plaintiff seeks default judgment-are
alleged to have participated in a peer-to-peer network using
the BitTorrent protocol to download and share Criminal.
These Defendants are each alleged to have used or shared an
IP address which was observed sharing
Criminal. Plaintiff has not authorized any Defendant
to use an online media distribution system, including
BitTorrent, to misappropriate, reproduce, or distribute
Criminal to the public. See, e.g., C16-729,
Dkt. # 14 (Am. Compl.) ¶ 46.
Court has entered an order of default for failure to answer,
plead, or otherwise defend as to each of the Defendants
against whom Plaintiff seeks default judgment. Id.,
Dkt. # 82 (Marroquin and Gordon Sr.); C16-1177, Dkt. # 38
(Hull), # 42 (Stoker); C16- 1272, Dkt. # 49 (Kelly,
Pisciotta, Corder, Eum, and Puckett); C16-1352, Dkt. # 36
(Mosser and White), # 49 (Deng, Orndonez, and Kambala);
C16-1351-RAJ, Dkt. # 42 (McDonald), Dkt. # 39 (Larson).
Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b) authorizes a court to grant
default judgment. Typically, default judgment is entered
after the Clerk of Court has entered default under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a), but district courts also have
that authority. See Dreith v. Nu Image, Inc., 648
F.3d 779, 789 (9th Cir. 2011). The Court's role in
considering a motion for default judgment is not ministerial.
The Court must accept all well-pleaded allegations of the
complaint as established fact, except facts related to the
amount of damages. TeleVideo Sys., Inc. v.
Heidenthal, 826 F.2d 915, 917-18 (9th Cir. 1987). Where
those facts establish a defendant's liability, the Court
has discretion, not an obligation, to enter a default
judgment. Alan Neuman Prods., Inc. v. Albright, 862
F.2d 1388, 1392 (9th Cir. 1988); Aldabe v. Aldabe,
616 F.2d 1089, 1092 (9th Cir. 1980). The plaintiff must
provide evidence to support a claim for a particular sum of
damages. TeleVideo Sys., 826 F.2d at 917-18; see
also Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(2)(B). Where the plaintiff
cannot prove that the sum he seeks is “a liquidated sum
or capable of mathematical calculation, ” the Court
must conduct a hearing or otherwise ensure that the damage
award is appropriate. Davis v. Fendler, 650 F.2d
1154, 1161 (9th Cir. 1981).
Whether Plaintiff Has Proven Copyright Infringement
must first prove the respective Defendants' liability. To
establish copyright infringement, Plaintiff must show two
elements: “(1) ownership of a valid copyright, and (2)
copying of constituent elements of the work that are
original.” L.A. Printex Indus., Inc. v.
Aeropostale, Inc., 676 F.3d 841, 846 (9th Cir. 2012)
(quoting Feist Publ'ns, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv.
Co., 499 U.S. 340, 361 (1991)).
has alleged and shown its ownership of a valid and registered
copyright in the Criminal film. See, e.g.,
C16-729, Dkt. # 14 (Am. Compl.) ¶¶ 1, 6;
id., Dkt. # 15 at 2-3 (Certificate of Registration).
This “is considered prima facie evidence of the
validity of the copyright.” Syntek Semiconductor
Co., Ltd. v. Microchip Tech. Inc., 307 F.3d 775, 781
(9th Cir. 2002); see also 17 U.S.C. § 410(c).
As such, Plaintiff has established the first element.
Court also finds that Plaintiff has adequately alleged that
each of the Defendants copied pieces of Criminal.
Each of the relevant Amended Complaints specifically alleges
that the relevant Defendants' IP addresses were observed
copying pieces (or the entirety) of Criminal. The
complaints also allege that the “physical make up and
layout” of Defendants' residences and the security
measures taken by Comcast IP make it unlikely that these IP
addresses were hijacked by others. The complaints further
allege that the infringing activity was not an isolated
incident and would have diminished the bandwidth of
Defendants' Internet connections such that they would
likely have been aware that it was occurring. The Court must
deem the facts in the Amended Complaints to be true for the
purposes of establishing liability. See Derek Andrew,
Inc. v. Poof Apparel Corp., 528 F.3d 696, 702 (9th Cir.
2008). As such, the Court must find that the second element
has been met and that Plaintiff has established the
Defendants' liability for copyright infringement.
Whether Default Judgment is Warranted
established liability, Plaintiff must also show that default
judgment is warranted. Courts often apply the factors listed
in Eitel v. McCool, 782 F.2d 1470, 1471-72 (9th Cir.
1986) to determine if default judgment is appropriate. Those
factors are: (1) the possibility of prejudice to plaintiff,
(2) the merits of plaintiff's substantive claims, (3) the
sufficiency of the complaint, (4) the sum of money at stake
in the action; (5) the possibility of a dispute concerning
the material facts; (6) ...