mavrix v buzzfeed

Document Sample
mavrix v buzzfeed Powered By Docstoc
					Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1   Filed 10/11/12 Page 1 of 24 Page ID #:4
     Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1         Filed 10/11/12 Page 2 of 24 Page ID #:5


 1   U.S.C. § 1400(a) in that the claim arises in this Judicial District, the Defendants may be
 2   found and transact business in this Judicial District, and the injury suffered by Plaintiff took
 3   place in this Judicial District. Defendants are subject to the general and specific personal
 4   jurisdiction of this Court because of their contacts with the State of California.
 5                                             PARTIES
 6         3.     Plaintiff Mavrix is a corporation incorporated and existing under the laws of
 7   Florida, with offices located in Miami, Florida and Los Angeles, California.
 8         4.     Mavrix is informed and believes that BuzzFeed is a Delaware corporation,
 9   with its principal place of business at 54 West 21st Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY
10   10010.
11         5.     Mavrix is informed and believes that BuzzFeed has not registered and has not
12   designated an agent with the Copyright Office under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
13   (“DMCA”), nor is its business model one that is entitled to any limitations on liability
14   under the DMCA.
15         6.     DOES 1 through 10, inclusive, are unknown to Plaintiff, who therefore sues
16   said Defendants by such fictitious names. Plaintiff will seek leave of Court to amend this
17   Complaint and insert the true names and capacities of said Defendants when the same have
18   been ascertained. Plaintiff is informed and believes and, upon such, alleges that each of the
19   Defendants designated herein as a “DOE” is legally responsible in some manner for the
20   events and happenings herein alleged, and that Plaintiff’s damages as alleged herein were
21   proximately caused by such Defendants.
22                                    STATEMENT OF FACTS
23                               The Defendants and the Marketplace
24         7.     On information and belief, BuzzFeed owns and operates a website,
25   BuzzFeed.com that purports to be a leading social news organization.
26         8.     BuzzFeed boasts of BuzzFeed.com’s widespread popularity, claiming to reach
27   more than 25 million monthly unique visitors.
28         9.     Despite its economic resources and apparent sophistication on intellectual
                                                    2
                                              COMPLAINT
     Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1         Filed 10/11/12 Page 3 of 24 Page ID #:6


 1   property matters, BuzzFeed has, on information and belief, violated federal law by willfully
 2   infringing Mavrix copyrights to at least 9 different photographs on BuzzFeed.com.
 3         10.    In the marketplace, celebrity photos such as those at issue in this case carry
 4   tremendous monetary value. Mavrix procures images of celebrities at a significant cost and
 5   licenses these images to various third parties to create highly sought after feature spreads,
 6   among other things, on television, print, and online.
 7         11.    Defendants herein have driven massive traffic to BuzzFeed.com—including
 8   millions of visitors monthly across the United States and California—in part due to the
 9   presence of the sought after and searched-for celebrity images that frame this dispute. All
10   of this traffic translates into significant ill-gotten commercial advantage and revenue
11   generation for Defendants as a direct consequence of their infringing actions.
12                    The Photos Forming the Subject Matter of This Dispute
13         12.    Mavrix is a prominent celebrity photography agency that licenses its
14   photographs on an exclusive and non-exclusive basis to a multitude of top-tier media
15   outlets, including the world’s leading newspapers, television programs, and magazines,
16   such as, e.g., People and US Weekly.
17         13.    BuzzFeed has reproduced, publicly distributed, and publicly displayed
18   copyright-protected photographs belonging to Mavrix on numerous occasions via its
19   website without Mavrix’s permission, consent, or license.
20         14.    Despite having no permission, consent, or license to do so, on or around June
21   6, 2011, and other subsequent dates including but not limited to September 28, 2012,
22   BuzzFeed reproduced, publicly distributed, and publicly displayed certain images of
23   superstar singer Katy Perry on a rooftop in Miami belonging to Mavrix (the “Perry Rooftop
24   Photos”). True and correct copies of BuzzFeed’s website demonstrating its unauthorized
25   use of these photos is attached hereto as Exhibit 1. Mavrix sought a copyright registration
26   for these photos within 90 days of their first publication, and the copyright registration for
27   these photos is attached hereto as Exhibit 4.
28         15.    Despite having no permission, consent, or license to do so, on or around June
                                                     3
                                              COMPLAINT
     Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1         Filed 10/11/12 Page 4 of 24 Page ID #:7


 1   24, 2011, and other subsequent dates including but not limited to September 28, 2012,
 2   BuzzFeed reproduced, publicly distributed, and publicly displayed certain images of
 3   superstar singer Katy Perry in a bikini in Miami belonging to Mavrix (the “Perry Bikini
 4   Photos”). True and correct copies of BuzzFeed’s website demonstrating its unauthorized
 5   use of these photos is attached hereto as Exhibit 2. Mavrix sought a copyright registration
 6   for these photos within 90 days of their first publication, and the copyright registration for
 7   these photos is attached hereto as Exhibit 5.
 8         16.    Despite having no permission, consent, or license to do so, on or around
 9   March 29, 2011, and other subsequent dates including but not limited to July 6, 2011,
10   BuzzFeed reproduced, publicly distributed, and publicly displayed certain images of actress
11   and comedian Kathy Griffin belonging to Mavrix (the “Griffin Photos”). True and correct
12   copies of BuzzFeed’s website demonstrating its unauthorized use of these photos is
13   attached as Exhibit 3. Mavrix sought a copyright registration of these photos within 90
14   days of their first publication and the copyright registration for these photos is attached
15   hereto as Exhibit 6.
16         17.    The Perry Rooftop Photos, Perry Bikini Photos, and Griffin Photos are
17   collectively referenced herein as the “Mavrix Photos.” BuzzFeed has reproduced,
18   distributed, and publicly displayed at least 9 of the Mavrix Photos, and derivatives thereof,
19   on its website without permission, consent, or license from Mavrix, as evidenced in
20   Exhibits 1-3.
21                                  FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF
22                           (Copyright Infringement, 17 U.S.C. § 501)
23         18.    Mavrix incorporates here by reference the allegations in paragraphs 1 through
24   17 above.
25         19.    Mavrix is the rightsholder to the copyrights of the Mavrix Photos, which
26   substantially consist of material wholly original with Mavrix and which constitute
27   copyright subject matter under the laws of the United States. Mavrix complied in all
28   respects with the Copyright Act and all of the laws of the United States governing
                                                     4
                                              COMPLAINT
     Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1          Filed 10/11/12 Page 5 of 24 Page ID #:8


 1   copyrights. The Mavrix Photos have been timely registered with the United States
 2   Copyright Office. Attached hereto as Exhibits 4-6 are the Copyright Registration
 3   Certificates for the Mavrix Photos.
 4         20.       Defendants have directly, vicariously, and/or contributorily infringed, and
 5   unless enjoined, will continue to infringe Mavrix’s copyrights by reproducing, displaying,
 6   distributing, and utilizing the Mavrix Photos for purposes of trade in violation of 17 U.S.C.
 7   § 501 et seq.
 8         21.       Defendants have willfully infringed, and unless enjoined, will continue to
 9   infringe Mavrix’s copyrights by knowingly reproducing, displaying, distributing, and
10   utilizing the Mavrix Photos for purposes of trade.
11         22.       On information and belief, Defendants’ acts of infringement are willful
12   because, inter alia, Defendants are sophisticated online publishers with full knowledge of
13   the strictures of federal copyright law and the basic requirements for licensing the use of
14   copyrighted content for commercial exploitation.
15         23.       On information and belief, Defendants, despite such knowledge, willfully
16   reproduced, publicly distributed, and publicly displayed the Mavrix Photos on
17   BuzzFeed.com.
18         24.       Defendants have received substantial benefits in connection with the
19   unauthorized reproduction, display, distribution, and utilization of the Mavrix Photos for
20   purposes of trade, including by increasing the traffic to Defendants’ website and, thus,
21   increasing the advertising fees realized.
22         25.       Defendants’ actions were at all times performed without Mavrix’s permission,
23   license, or consent.
24         26.       Defendants’ wrongful acts have caused, and are causing, great injury to
25   Mavrix, of which damages cannot be accurately computed, and unless this Court restrains
26   Defendants from further commission of said acts, Mavrix will suffer irreparable injury, for
27   all of which it is without an adequate remedy at law. Accordingly, Mavrix seeks a
28   declaration that Defendants are infringing Mavrix’s copyrights and an order under 17
                                                     5
                                                 COMPLAINT
     Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1           Filed 10/11/12 Page 6 of 24 Page ID #:9


 1   U.S.C. § 502 enjoining Defendants from any further infringement of Mavrix’s copyrights.
 2            27.   As a result of the Defendants’ acts alleged herein, Mavrix has suffered and is
 3   suffering substantial damage to its business in the form of diversion of trade, loss of profits,
 4   injury to goodwill and reputation, and the dilution of the value of its rights, all of which are
 5   not yet fully ascertainable.
 6            28.   Because of the willful nature of the copyright infringement, Mavrix is entitled
 7   to an award of statutory damages equal to $150,000 per work infringed.
 8            29.   Mavrix has identified at least 9 works infringed by Defendants, which
 9   occurred by way of reproduction, public distribution, and public display of the Mavrix
10   Photos on BuzzFeed.com.
11            30.   At least 9 of the works infringed are eligible for statutory damages. Therefore,
12   Mavrix is entitled to an award of $1,350,000 in statutory damages.
13            31.   Alternatively, at its discretion, Mavrix is entitled to actual damages in an
14   amount to be proven at trial for the infringement of all works at issue.
15            32.   Mavrix is also entitled to its attorney’s fees in prosecuting this action.
16
17                                       PRAYER FOR RELIEF
18            WHEREFORE, Mavrix requests judgment against Defendants as follows:
19                  1.    Defendants, their officers, agents, servants, employees, representatives,
20   and attorneys, and all persons in active concert or participation with them, be permanently
21   enjoined from designing, copying, reproducing, displaying, promoting, advertising,
22   distributing, or selling, or any other form of dealing or transaction in, any and all
23   advertising and promotional materials, print media, signs, websites, or any other media,
24   either now known or hereafter devised, bearing any image, design, or mark that infringes,
25   contributorily infringes, or vicariously infringes upon Mavrix’s rights in the photographs at
26   issue.
27                  2.    Defendants be held liable to Mavrix in statutory damages for copyright
28   infringement, including willful infringement, in accordance with 17 U.S.C. §§ 504(a)(2) &
                                                      6
                                                COMPLAINT
Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1   Filed 10/11/12 Page 7 of 24 Page ID #:10
Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1   Filed 10/11/12 Page 8 of 24 Page ID #:11
Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1   Filed 10/11/12 Page 9 of 24 Page ID #:12
Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1   Filed 10/11/12 Page 10 of 24 Page ID #:13
Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1   Filed 10/11/12 Page 11 of 24 Page ID #:14
Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1   Filed 10/11/12 Page 12 of 24 Page ID #:15
Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1   Filed 10/11/12 Page 13 of 24 Page ID #:16
Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1   Filed 10/11/12 Page 14 of 24 Page ID #:17
Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1   Filed 10/11/12 Page 15 of 24 Page ID #:18
Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1   Filed 10/11/12 Page 16 of 24 Page ID #:19
Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1   Filed 10/11/12 Page 17 of 24 Page ID #:20
Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1   Filed 10/11/12 Page 18 of 24 Page ID #:21
Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1   Filed 10/11/12 Page 19 of 24 Page ID #:22
Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1   Filed 10/11/12 Page 20 of 24 Page ID #:23
Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1   Filed 10/11/12 Page 21 of 24 Page ID #:24
Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1   Filed 10/11/12 Page 22 of 24 Page ID #:25
Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1   Filed 10/11/12 Page 23 of 24 Page ID #:26
Case 2:12-cv-08715-CAS-RZ Document 1   Filed 10/11/12 Page 24 of 24 Page ID #:27

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Tags:
Stats:
views:2088
posted:10/19/2012
language:Unknown
pages:24
Description: mavrix v buzzfeed photo copyright complaint