Titan Media Wins $1.2 Million in Piracy Case

Joanne Cachapero
SAN FRANCISCO — Titan Media has won $1.275 million in damages in a copyright infringement suit against Gilbert Michael Gonzales and 21 additional defendants in a judgment that was handed down yesterday.

“This is yet another victory for not only Titan, but the entire adult industry. The ruling is a huge blow to online piracy blogs,” Titan Media Vice President Keith Webb said.

“You can run and hide but in the end, everything you do online can be traced back to you,” Webb added. “We were able to subpoena ISPs and track the IP address and individual identity of each person on the pirate blog [who was] posting and distributing our films. Once again, the message is clear — if you steal and pirate Titan films, you will be caught and you will be prosecuted.”

The case was filed at the end of September in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. It named Gilbert Michael Gonzales and 21 John Doe defendants who were involved in an online piracy ring that utilized free hosting websites, including Blogspot.com, Ning.com and RapidShare.com to infringe on more than 45 of Titan’s movie titles.

At the time, Titan estimated that the ring might be responsible for more than 100,000 illegal downloads of Titan material, including full-length videos, as well as video extras and behind-the scenes footage.

The base statutory damages awarded by U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel amounted to $25,000 per title for 17 titles. However, the judge tripled the amount of damages per title, because she found that the infringement was “willful.”

“We are realistic, and we know the chances of collection on this default judgment are slim,” Titan attorney Gill Sperlein told XBIZ. “The judgment is nonetheless important, and its significance should not be understated. Clearly, federal judges are willing to evaluate damages in cases involving adult content the same as they would any other case. This is an important message to adult content owners and pirates alike.”