Federal Copyright Case Cites 'Perfect 10' Ruling

Rhett Pardon
CHICAGO — In a case of particular interest to adult webmasters, a federal court has allowed evidence of “archived” versions of content stored at a third-party website.

Telewizja Polska USA Inc., a provider of television programming, and Echostar Satellite Corp. were involved in a contract dispute that centered on the contention that Echostar sold Telewizja Polska’s programming after their contract had expired.

But U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois turned back Telewizja Polska’s challenge to the admission of paper printouts of website content, ruling that the evidence met Federal Rule of Evidence 901’s threshold requirement of “genuineness” and that the genuineness of the website materials were for the jury to decide.

One of several pretrial motions filed by Telewizja Polska sought to bar the admission of the “archived” version of the website. The company contended that the exhibit constituted double hearsay.

But Keys disagreed and cited another federal court ruling, Perfect 10 Inc. vs. Cybernet Ventures Inc., No. CV01-2595 (2002), involving online adult companies.

In that case, a federal court admitted printouts of a website under the “best evidence” rule.

The court determined that Perfect 10 was likely to prevail on its claims contributory and vicarious copyright infringement against Cybernet for featuring more than 10,000 copyrighted Perfect 10 images in the Adult Check family of websites. It also ruled for Perfect 10 in its claims of unfair competition under California Business and Professions Code Section 17200.

In the current case, Telewizja Polska contended that Echostar had not properly authenticated the evidence, questioning the reliability of the Internet Archive Company as a verification source.

Keys noted, however, that despite Internet Archive’s relative newness to the industry, Telewizia Polska presented no evidence that it was unreliable or biased.

The case is Telewizja Polska USA Inc. vs. Echostar Satellite Corp., No. 02C3293.