Court slaps BitTorrent user with $35,000 default judgment

Columbia Pictures filed a copyright infringement suit against defendant May in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Columbia accused May of operating a server and website that allowed users to download infringing copies of copyrighted motion pictures and television shows for free and without authorization.

Despite numerous opportunities, May never answered Columbia’s complaint, nor contested the entry of default. In awarding damages to Columbia, the court considered “the massive online piracy that May apparently orchestrated, and the harsh effects illegal downloads have on the motion picture industry.” Accordingly, the court concluded that Columbia’s request for $35,000 in statutory damages was a “suitable award.”

In addition, the court enjoined May from “downloading, uploading, and/or otherwise reproducing or distributing [Columbia's] copyrighted works, whether using the BitTorrent network or by any other means.”

Columbia Pictures Indus. v. May, (Slip Op.) 2006 WL 1085120 (E.D.Wis., April 24, 2006).