AAP Files Amicus Brief in Important Copyright Case: UMG et. al. v Kurbanov
On Tuesday, March 19, 2019, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) filed an amicus curiae brief in UMG v. Kurbanov, an important copyright case regarding whether a U.S. rights holder may bring action against a foreign-based site in U.S. courts. The AAP brief urges the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to reverse the flawed decision of a Virginia District Court and clarify the law regarding personal jurisdiction to ensure that victims of copyright infringement have meaningful and effective recourse to U.S. federal courts.
The lower court, in a flawed and outdated approach to federal jurisdiction, dismissed the case brought by a group of recording companies against two foreign-based sites that facilitate “stream ripping,” a process by which a user “rips” a content stream (file) from a streaming service and converts the file into a downloadable file. In its brief, AAP points out that should the lower court’s decision remain unchanged, it would effectively deny U.S. publishers and rights holders the “ability to enforce their intellectual property rights against some of the most brazen and prolific infringers of content created and distributed by U.S. rights holders.”
As AAP explains, the ability to seek recourse with U.S. courts is of critical importance to the ability of publishers to protect and enforce their rights – especially online -- given the lack of adequate processes and effective enforcement mechanisms in many foreign jurisdictions. “The District Court improperly applied a more stringent standard for acts conducted over the Internet than it would have applied if those same acts were conducted using other means,” the brief states. Moreover, “[t]he District Court’s flawed approach demonstrates the problems inherent in attempting to apply a framework developed in 1997 to modern day Internet websites and services…, and unnecessarily places the focus on the classification of websites rather than on how defendants use the Internet to target their activity toward the forum state…”.
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