Perfect 10's $25M Suit Alleges 165,000 Poached Images
SAN DIEGO — No stranger to filing claims against alleged pirates, Perfect 10 has waged a $25 million suit against Texas-based Giganews Inc. and Livewire Services Inc., claiming the operator is illegally posting its copyrighted images on its servers.
Perfect 10 claims in its suit that Giganews and Livewire, as well as scores of accompanying websites, broker "massive quantities" of infringing materials and that the company was rebuffed by cease-and-desist letters sent in August to the companies.
In all, Perfect 10 says the defendants have in total, copied, distributed, displayed, and sold more than 165,000 Perfect 10 copyrighted images. "Roughly 15,000 Perfect 10 copyrighted images per website," the suit said.
All of the allegedly infringing sites, Perfect 10 noted, are hosted by Data Foundry Inc. and controlled by Ron Yokubaitis, a longtime Austin, Texas-based Internet entrepreneur.
Websites owned by Giganews include Giganews.com and Supernews.com; Livewire sites include RhinoNewsgroups.com, PowerUsenet.com, InfinityUsenet.com, EuroUsenet.com, GalacticGroups.com, CheapNewsgroups.com, FastUsenet.com, UsenetGiant.com and Usenet.net.
"On each of the websites, defendants sell to their customers for as little as $4.99 per month, access to their servers, which are virtual warehouses containing billions of dollars worth of copyrighted works, including pictures, movies, songs, and copyrighted software," the suit said. "Defendants purportedly copy all of the materials on their servers from a global system of online bulletin boards.
"Defendants allow users to search their massive collections of infringing materials for specific files."
Perfect 10's Norm Zada, who founded the company, told XBIZ that the two companies on their 11 sites "have posted more that $30 million worth of content without paying a dime."
"I'm trying to protect the property Perfect 10 owns," he said. "If you get robbed you do something about it. Copyright infringement is copyright infringement, and cyberspace shouldn't be any different."
Yokubaitis, who owns and operates Data Foundry, was not available for immediately available for comment to XBIZ. Data Foundry is one of the largest and oldest data centers in Texas. It was founded in 1994.
The suit, filed Thursday at U.S. District Court in San Diego, seeks for the destruction of Perfect 10 copyrighted images and an injuction, as well as restitution of $5 million, actual damages of $5 million, statutory damages under the Copyright Act of $5 million, treble damages of $5 million and additional statutory damages under California law for $5 million, as well as punitive damages.