FTV Wins Injunction in Alleged Counterfeiting Case
LAS VEGAS — First Time Videos (FTV) has been granted a preliminary injunction against Superstar Media Labs, which is alleged to have sold counterfeit DVDs after it was terminated from a distribution deal with FTV nearly three years ago.
FTV, which produces intimate, erotic and solo-masturbation videos, said that it sent a series of cease-and-desist letters starting in 2009 to Long Beach, Calif.-based Superstar Media and its owner Regan Franks, receiving one promise after another from him that the company would remove FTV titles from its online retail store, DVDHotties.com.
Superstar Media, from 2004 to 2008, had a deal with FTV to produce and distribute videos.
As months passed after the initial series of cease-and-desist letters, FTV execs and company attorneys assumed that the alleged infringing material for sale was taken offline, but according to the suit Superstar Media "utilized a technical measure to make the website inaccessible" to them.
"This prevented plaintiff and plaintiffs' counsel from discovering the infringement," the suit said.
In May, however, FTV execs went back to the site and discovered rampant infringement on DVDHotties.com, the suit said, with listings of 219 "FTVGirl" titles for sale.
An FTV investigator later ordered an alleged counterfeit video on DVDHotties.com, requesting Superstar Media to send the tape to a Las Vegas address, which spurred the initiation of the lawsuit.
Filed last month at U.S. District Court in Las Vegas but sealed from public access until now, the suit claims that Superstar Media not only made for sale FTV material compiled from its earlier deal but current online material as well.
"[Superstar Media] used the copied content to create and distribute adult videos and DVDs that are substantially similar to plaintiff's copyrighted content," the suit said.
According to filings in support of the injunction, Superstar Media's computer systems were inspected under court order by forensics experts where they found numerous hard drives containing eight terabytes of FTV content, as well as more than 50 mini DVD tapes.
Superstar Media's Franks wasn't able to be reached by XBIZ for comment on the case; however FTV attorneys say the company hasn't denied guilt in the civil matter.
"[Superstar Media] has not denied that it sent a counterfeit DVD to [an FTV] investigator," a court filing said. "Defendants are using the 'FTV' marks themselves to sell counterfeit products."
Late last month, U.S. Judge Kent J. Dawson agreed with FTV over seeking a preliminary injunction relative to the production and distribution of alleged counterfeit FTV videos and unsealed court documents after the court-ordered inspection took place.
FTV is asking for damages of $1 million per counterfeit mark, treble damages amounting to three times statutory damages and attorneys fees. It also seeks a permanent injunction enjoining Superstar Media from using the marks.