Under the Copyright Act, an owner of a copyright suing for infringement may elect to seek statutory damages instead of actual damages. The amount of statutory damages under the Copyright Act are limited to $30,000 for innocent infringement and up to $150,000 for willful infringement. In Desire, LLC v. Manna Textiles, Inc., et al. (decided February 2, 2021), the Ninth Circuit was confronted with the issue of whether a plaintiff is entitled to multiple statutory damage awards where some of the defendants are found to be jointly and severally liable with each other.
Desire is a fabric supplier that had obtained and registered with the Copyright office “a two dimensional floral print textile design.” Shortly thereafter, a woman’s clothing manufacturing, Top Fashion, purchased a couple of yards of the fabric from Desire in order to secure a clothing order with Ashley Stewart, Inc., a woman’s clothing retailer. Unfortunately, Top Fashion and Desire had a dispute over the fabric’s price. Top Fashion then showed the design to Manna, a fabric designer, who in turn used a Chinese textile design firm to modify the design. That designer changed approximately 30-40% of the original design, and Manna subsequently registered the “new” design with the Copyright Office.
Continue Reading The Interplay Between Statutory Damages and Joint and Several Liability in a Copyright Infringement Action