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Inc. v. Pumaras

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

October 19, 2017

ME2 PRODUCTIONS, INC., Plaintiffs
v.
FERDINAND PUMARAS, et al., Defendants

          AMENDED ORDER ADOPTING IN PART AND MODIFYING IN PART FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION THAT DEFAULT JUDGMENT BE AWARDED AGAINST DEFENDANT FERDINAND PUMARAS

          Susan Oki Mollway, United States District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION.

         Plaintiff ME2 Productions, Inc., owns the copyright to “Mechanic: Resurrection, ” a movie starring Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, and Tommy Lee Jones. ME2 has sued 150 defendants in numerous cases in this district for downloading and then sharing “Mechanic: Resurrection” over BitTorrent, an online peer-to-peer file-sharing network. ME2 alleges that Defendant Ferdinand Pumaras is one of the individuals who have pirated this movie by downloading and sharing it over BitTorrent without paying for it.

         Pumaras defaulted in this case. This court must now decide what Pumaras must pay for pirating ME2's movie over BitTorrent. ME2 asks for $7, 500 in statutory damages and $2, 187.36 in attorney's fees and taxes for time spent by its attorney, Kerry S. Culpepper.

         On August 22, 2017, the Magistrate Judge issued findings and a recommendation (“F&R”) that this court grant in part and deny in part ME2's motion for default judgment. See ECF No. 35. ME2 timely objected.

         The court adopts the F&R to the extent ME2 did not object to it. After de novo review of the parts of the F&R that ME2 did object to, this court adopts in part and modifies in part the remainder of the F&R. Default judgment is granted in favor of ME2 and against Pumaras. For Pumaras's violation of ME2's copyright rights in connection with downloading “Mechanic: Resurrection” over BitTorrent, the court declines to award ME2 the amount of damages and fees requested. The Complaint in this case is a cookie-cutter document nearly identical to several other complaints filed in this district. The Complaint names numerous Defendants based on identical allegations. Against Pumaras specifically, this court awards ME2: 1) statutory damages of $750; 2) $250 in attorney's fees, and 3) an injunction requiring Pumaras to delete or destroy any and all illegal copies of “Mechanic: Resurrection” in his possession or over which he has control and to refrain from downloading “Mechanic: Resurrection” again via BitTorrent or any other file-sharing network or protocol in violation of ME2's copyright.

         II. BACKGROUND.

         On February 1, 2017, ME2 filed the Complaint in this matter against 20 Doe Defendants, asserting claims of copyright infringement (First Claim for Relief) and contributory copyright infringement (Second Claim for Relief) in violation of 17 U.S.C. §§ 106, 501, and 504. ME2, the copyright holder for the movie “Mechanic: Resurrection, ” claims that each Doe Defendant violated its copyright by downloading the movie via BitTorrent, an online peer-to-peer file-sharing network. Each Doe Defendant, having allegedly downloaded a copy of the movie from BitTorrent to his or her computer, then allegedly made the movie (or parts thereof) available for others to download over BitTorrent. Thus, for example, Doe Defendant 4 allegedly downloaded “Mechanic:

         Resurrection” from BitTorrent via IP address 72.234.114.156, then made the movie (or parts of it) available for others to download from his computer via BitTorrent. See ECF No. 1.

         On May 22, 2017, ME2 filed an Amended Complaint that named Defendant Ferdinand Pumaras as Doe Defendant 4. See ECF No. 20. Pumaras is not alleged to have been the first person to make that movie available for others to download over BitTorrent.

         The Complaint in this case is nearly identical to complaints asserting the same claims on behalf of ME2 against 130 other Doe Defendants in Civil Nos. 17-00079 LEK/RLP, 17-00096 LEK/KSC, 17-00098 LEK/KSC, 17-00130 KJM, 17-00131 ACK/KJM, 17-00155 JMS/KSC, and 17-00320 RLP.

         III. STANDARD.

         A district judge reviews de novo those portions of a magistrate judge's findings and recommendation to which an objection is made and may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings and recommendation made by the magistrate judge. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b); Local Rule 74.2. Kealoha v. Totto, 2017 WL 1839280, *2 (D. Haw. May 8, 2017); Paco v. Meyers, 2013 WL 6843057, *1 (D. Haw. Dec. 26, 2013). In other words, a district judge “review[s] the matter anew, the same as if it had not been heard before, and as if no decision previously had been rendered.” Freeman v. DirectTV, Inc., 457 F.3d 1001, 1005 (9th Cir. 2006).

         The district judge may accept those portions of the findings and recommendation that are not objected to if the district judge is satisfied that there is no clear error on the face of the record. United States v. Bright, 2009 WL 5064355, *3 (D. Haw. Dec. 23, 2009); Stow v. Murashige, 288 F.Supp.2d 1122, 1127 (D. Haw. 2003). The district judge may receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The district judge may also consider the record developed before the magistrate judge. Local Rule 74.2. While the district judge must arrive at independent conclusions about those portions of the magistrate judge's report to which objections are made, a de novo hearing is not required. United States v. Remsing, 874 F.2d 614, 617 (9thCir. 1989); Kealoha, 2017 WL 1839280, *2; Local Rule 74.2.

         IV. ANALYSIS.

         Before the court are objections to the very thorough F&R. After de novo review, the court adopts the F&R in part and modifies it in part.

         The court adopts the F&R to the extent it determines that Pumaras, having defaulted, should be subject to default judgment in favor of ME2 with respect to the copyright infringement claims asserted in the Amended Complaint. There is no dispute that ME2 owns the copyright to “Mechanic: Resurrection” or that Pumaras downloaded a copy of that movie via BitTorrent and later made the movie available for others to copy it via BitTorrent.

         A. ...


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