$1.4 Million Copyright Award Sets a Record for AICO

Q Boyer
SYDNEY — An Australian federal court has ordered Jim Karakikes and his company, Digital Sinema Australia, to pay more than $900,000 to Calvista Australia.

The Australian trade group Adult Industry Copyright Organization (AICO) made the announcement of the decision Tuesday. Calvista is a founding member of AICO.

The Federal Magistrates Court of Australia found that Digital Sinema had acquired Calvista’s customer mailing list database and used the list without authorization to distribute DVD catalogs. The court ordered Digital Sinema to pay $914,000 to account for profits generated by its unauthorized use of the list.

“Jim Karakikes and the Digital Sinema case was particularly egregious for Calvista,” said Hui Newnham, general manager of Calvista Australia. “Not only was he pirating our movies, but he used a ripped-off copy of our mailing list to advertise them. Fortunately the courts saw straight through his lies and have now dealt a hefty punishment for his crimes.”

This latest judgment comes on top of $500 in compensatory damages and $500,000 in additional punitive damages for copyright breaches that have already been entered against Digital Sinema, bringing the full damages to an AICO record of $1.4 million.

“This new record shows that not only does AICO continue to vigorously prosecute film pirates but that Courts have no hesitation in severely punishing intellectual property thieves,” said AICO’s Executive Officer, Graeme Dunne.

According to AICO, their legal team used subpoenaed bank account records, credit card transaction data and telephone records, among other information, in the forensic analysis of Digital Sinema’s financial records. Dunne said that future offenders can expect the same sort of rigorous examination and aggressive pursuit from AICO.

“We will not hesitate to actively use the powers of subpoena, compelling banks and financial institutions to provide the monetary records of respondents for the calculation of damages,” Dunne said. “This case truly cements AICO’s track record of winning cases and obtaining ever increasing awards for damages. The message must now be crystal clear that anyone found dealing in counterfeit material faces financial ruin when caught.”

Dunne said that AICO’s investigations continue, and the group plans to initiate more prosecutions soon.