Copyright Infringement: On the Negative Side of “Outrageous”

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Copying and selling counterfeit software can be a risky proposition if Microsoft, Adobe and Rosetta Stone team up against you.

A Toronto man sold pirated software on Kijiji and Craigslist and three software vendors combined forces to sue him for copyright infringement by way of summary judgment, a truncated procedure that avoids the need for a full trial. Last month, the Canadian Federal Court found that the man’s conduct was “on the negative side” of “outrageous” and “highly unreasonable”. This conduct added $105,000 to the overall damage award of $445,000 for copyright infringement, made up of statutory damages, punitive damages, costs, plus pre- and post-judgment interest. A few interesting points about this decision:

  1. Statutory damages under the Copyright Act range from $500 to $20,000. Here, the judge awarded maximum statutory damages of $20,000 per infringed work.
  2. The court reviewed when punitive damages are appropriate: “when a party’s conduct has been malicious, oppressive and high-handed, offends the court’s sense of decency, and represents a marked departure from ordinary standards of decent behaviour”. In this case, the court was convinced that a significant punitive damage award was warranted.

The case is: Adobe Systems Inc. et al v. Dale Thompson dba Appletree Solutions 2012 FC 1219.

Published In: Civil Procedure Updates, Civil Remedies Updates, Intellectual Property Updates, Science, Computers & Technology Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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