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Maverick Recording Co. v. Harper

598 F.3d 193 (2010)

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Maverick Recording Co. v. Harper

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

598 F.3d 193 (2010)

Facts

Several recording companies that held valid copyrights to 37 recordings (plaintiffs) launched an investigation into the illegal downloading of audio files containing copyrighted material. The investigation revealed that Whitney Harper (defendant) had used a file-sharing program to download 544 audio files. Harper obtained the files from the internet without paying for them, via file-sharing programs such as LimeWire. The recording companies filed a motion for summary judgment on their copyright claims for 37 of the audio files and requested statutory damages of $750 per infringed work. The district court granted summary judgment, finding that Harper did infringe on the recording companies’ copyrights, but the court assessed statutory damages at $200 per infringed work based on the finding that Harper was an innocent infringer under 17 U.S.C. § 504(c)(2). On appeal, the recording companies argued that the district court erred in reducing damages based on the innocent-infringer defense. Harper attested that she believed the file-sharing programs used were akin to listening to a noninfringing internet radio station.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Brown Clement, J.)

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