OAKLAND, Calif. — In a lawsuit that’s been active in the courts for two years, a federal judge has ruled that U.K.-based GLBT Ltd., which was accused of mass infringement by Channel 1 Releasing, Corbin Fisher and Titan Media, is liable for damages that could amount to more than $29 million.
During the course of the proceedings, attorney Marc Randazza who had represented Corbin Fisher, had called GLBT “cockroaches”, and Jonathan Capp, the attorney defending GLBT which operates JerkYourTube.com, GayForIt.conm and ItAllGay.com quit last September.
At the time, Capp told the court that he had been instructed by the defendants to participate no further in the proceeding.
In the original complaint made in 2010, gay studios Channel One Releasing, Corbin Fisher and Titan Media contended that the GLBT Ltd.’s business model follows a system where it requires uploaders to “strip away any evidence that the content is a professional or copyright registered work by prohibiting any video that has the copyright owners’ titles, credits or watermarks.”
“Defendants place their brand on plaintiff’s intellectual property as if it belonged to them,” the original complaint said.
GLBT Ltd. is primarily owned by Steven and David Compton, both U.K. residents, who not only are known as operators of the three similar-formatted sites, but the pair in 2010 rolled out COP-CMS, a software program that proclaims to protect adult studios from copyright infringement.
In making his cockroaches comment, Randazza, told XBIZ last year that the way the case was going and because of the fact that GLBT was caught moving assets out of the US “seems to be a clear indication that these cockroaches realize that they’ve crawled through enough pesticide.”
“They created a business based on intellectual property theft, and they may have been under the mistaken impression that when Channel One, Titan, and Corbin Fisher come after a thief, they won’t go all the way,” Randazza said.
“[Titan Media attorney Gil Sperlein] and I have, I hope, shown them and the other thieves out there that this is a mistake.”
Apparently it was.
GLBT Ltd., from the outset of the case, said that it was immune from civil liability because the company operates as an Internet service provider under the safe provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The company also contended that it couldn’t be sued in the U.S. because it is an “inconvenient forum” because it operates as an U.K.-based company.
In a decision on a motion for summary judgment, U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney [pictured] ruled that GLBT Ltd. operators Steven and David Compton are liable for direct copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement and contributory copyright infringement.
The ruling now paves the way for collection efforts for the three studios after two years of litigation over content allegedly poached and streamed on the Compton’s JerkYourTube.com, GayForIt.com and ItsAllGay.com tube sites.
In its original suit, the Comptons’ three sites were described as “prime examples of websites designed with the sole purpose of redirecting profits from copyright holders to the un-invested poachers operating the infringing sites.”
Later, the Comptons dumped their .com sites and transferred content to .eu sites, rebranding efforts as JerkYourTube.eu, GayForIt.eu and ItsAllGay.eu.
In an attempt to move their assets out of the US, and after refusal to hand over the tube sites to a receiver and not honor an injunction, a federal judge imposed $1,000-a-day fines, while also ruling that the Comptons destroyed internal emails, takedown notices and removal notifications, allowing for sanctions.
In the past six months, however, the Comptons have turned their backs on the U.S. justice system, not responding to court communications and orders after they fired their California attorney, Capp.