LOS ANGELES — The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today refused to rehear its previous decision in the case of Perfect 10 Inc. v. Giganews Inc., which alleged a newsgroup service provider was culpable in the piracy of adult content.
Perfect 10' s $25 million lawsuit accused Texas-based Giganews Inc. of direct and contributory infringement by allowing users to upload more than 165,000 erotic images owned by Perfect 10 and neglecting to remove them when notified.
A federal judge sided with Giganews in 2015 and ordered Perfect 10 to pay the Usenet service provider's $5.64 million in attorneys' fees and court costs defending the suit.
But Perfect 10 appealed the decision, challenging the central issue of "safe harbor" as defined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
In February, however, the 9th Circuit said that all of Perfect 10's arguments in the case lacked merit, upholding the multimillion-dollar judgment for attorneys’ fees.
Norman Zada, president of adult media company Perfect 10, told XBIZ today that the 9th Circuit decision “effectively immunized those who illegally copy, distribute and sell access to pirated movies, songs, images and other copyrighted works, as long as they use a computer to automate that process.”
Zada founded Perfect 10 as a softcore print magazine in 1997, and later integrated its adult content into the online world.
The brand, which continues to have a presence on the internet at Perfect10.com, stands behind a motto that says it all: "The world's most beautiful natural women." Perfect 10 was one of only three adult magazines allowed to be sold to the U.S. armed forces.
Zada said that the 9th Circuit’s refusal to rehear the case offers “substantial damage to this country’s movie and recording studios as a result of its ruling” because it upends copyright law by immunizing automated piracy.
“This ruling is very bad news for this nation’s creative industries and their employees, who need to be paid for the use of their works,” he said.
Zada said that Perfect 10’s evidence in the case “fell on death ears” with 9th Circuit judges.
“Despite receiving an amicus brief from the Recording Industry of America, which described defendants as blatant copyright infringers, the 9th Circuit nevertheless allowed them to continue to copy and sell access to roughly 25,000 trillion bytes of copyrighted works, virtually every imaginable movie, song, television show, computer game, software and image, without payment to, or permission of copyright holders.”
Zada said that his only hope left is a request for review by the U.S. Supreme Court. But the nation's top court “rarely grants such requests,” he said.