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Los Angeles News Service v. Reuters Television International, Ltd.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
340 F.3d 926 (2003)


Facts

Los Angeles News Services (LANS) (plaintiff) films newsworthy events and licenses the tapes for use in news programs. During the 1992 Los Angeles riots, LANS captured footage of an infamous event during the riots. LANS licensed two versions of the recordings, entitled The Beating of Reginald Denny and Beating of Man in White Panel Truck (the clips). The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) licensed the clips from LANS for use on The Today Show. Based on a contract with Visnews International (USA), Limited (Visnews) (defendant), NBC sent Visnews in New York a copy of The Today Show broadcast that included the clips. Visnews then transmitted the broadcast to its subscribers in Europe and Africa. Visnews also sent a copy of the broadcast to the European Broadcast Union (EBU) at its New York location, which in turn sent a copy to Reuters Television International, Limited (Reuters) (defendant) in London. LANS sued Visnews and Reuters for copyright infringement. The district court granted partial summary judgment in favor of the defendants, holding that there could be no liability for infringement that occurred outside of the United States. The district court also held that LANS had failed to prove actual damages domestically and that damages were unavailable if they arose extraterritorially. LANS appealed the ruling on actual damages. The court of appeals reversed the ruling, holding that extraterritorial infringement can result in damages if the infringement arose out of a completed act of infringement within the United States. On remand, the district court held that extraterritorial damages were not available for actual damages, but were instead limited to damages based on profit or unjust enrichment. The district court further held that Reuters and Visnews had not profited on the infringement, and LANS was limited to $60,000 in statutory damages. LANS appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (O’Scannlain, J.)

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