The Federal Court of Canada recently issued an important decision on Internet piracy and statutory damages under the Copyright Act: Odyssey v. Ellas TV, 2018 FC 337 (Court File T-2141-15). The court in its decision rendered a significant monetary award payable to the exclusive copyright licensee.
On March 26, Justice Phelan of the Federal Court awarded $5 million in statutory damages to Toronto-based Odyssey Television, against Chicago-based Ellas TV and Toronto-based Greek World Music and Encore Productions.
The plaintiffs successfully argued that they had the right to operate and distribute in Canada the international content of some of the largest television stations in Greece (Alpha, Mega, and Antenna) via cable television, satellite television and Internet, and that Ellas TV and Greek World Music breached that right by offering and distributing the protected content to their customers, including their online subscribers.
In addition to the damages award, the Court ordered the defendants to pay to the telecommunication companies $50,000 in legal costs.
Both the damages and costs awards represent an unusual amount in the Federal Court, and are reflective of the defendants' misconduct.
The Court described the defendants conduct as "egregious" and "deserving of condemnation." The Court also found that the defendants' position in this proceeding was made up of "blanket or general denials and vague, unsubstantiated allegations which lack(ed) an air of reality."
The terms of an injunction against the defendants, which would be in addition to the damages amount, are pending a further order of the Court.
Peter Mantas, Gerald (Jay) Kerr-Wilson, and Alexandra Logvin with the Fasken Ottawa office represented the plaintiffs in this matter.
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