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No sanctions for lawyers in copyright case

Richmond federal Judge John Gibney determined not to impose sanctions on lawyers for adult video makers who have asked the federal courts to help them enforce their copyrights.

In an Oct. 5 order, Gibney questioned whether the lawyers for the video companies had filed pleadings for an improper purpose in three separate cases. He suggested the lawsuits, naming multiple anonymous defendants, were filed only to get information to allow the companies to intimidate downloaders into paying settlements.

The lawsuit targeted defendants who allegedly downloaded the copyrighted movies for free through BitTorrent technology.

At a brief hearing Tuesday, Gibney backed away from his threat of sanctions.

Richmond’s Wyatt Durrette Jr. , who represented Raw Films Ltd. for the purpose of the show cause hearing, said a key issue was the company’s intention to actually litigate some of the claims in court.  Durrette said Gibney took note of the fee agreement for the company’s lawyer, which promised the highest fee percentage for cases that actually go to trial.

Gibney has ordered the cases be separated into individual actions, finding an insufficient basis to join the claims together.

By Peter Vieth

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