Court Smacks Down Copyright Lawyer For Bad Faith Pursuit Of Copyright Infringement

from the keep-that-in-mind dept

With tens of thousands of new (questionable) copyright infringement lawsuits hitting the courts, it's worth pointing to a recent appeals court decision in the 9th Circuit, upholding a district court ruling thatsmacked down a copyright lawyer for repeatedly pushing forward in a case, where he apparently misrepresented who actually held the copyright (i.e., not his client) as well as different aspects of the law. The case involved lawyer Anthony Kornarens, who was representing an Indian musician, who had composed some music for an Indian film. Under Indian copyright law, this was a clear work-for-hire situation, where the musician did not retain the copyrights. But during the course of a long, and convoluted, legal campaign, that's not how Kornarens represented things to the court. Kornarens suggested he made mistakes, since he wasn't familiar with Indian copyright law, but the court doesn't buy it:
The law of India is straightforward and the IPRS decision is in English. Indeed, there is nothing legally remarkable or unique about applicable Indian law that would reasonably require expert advice. Generally, a composer who creates a film score for hire forfeits a copyright interest in his work.
From there, things seem to just get worse. Kornarens apparently misrepresented Indian copyright law, citing an "immaterial concurring opinion" and misquoting other rulings by inserting parenthetical notations into those rulings, that changed the meaning. The court doesn't take that sort of stuff kindly:
The district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding Kornarens' misrepresentations of Indian law evidenced his bad faith and recklessness in pursuing Lahiri's copyright claim.

Kornarens now concedes his written submissions to the district court contained "mistakes." However, viewed in the context of the history of this litigation, the court did not abuse its discretion in finding that Kornarens acted recklessly and in bad faith in pursuing a frivolous copyright claim for five years.
Now, this situation is clearly a pretty extreme one, given the details of the case, but with so many copyright lawsuits being filed these days on such flimsy evidence, some of the lawyers involved might want to pay attention to what can happen when you aggressively pursue a bogus copyright claim.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2010 @ 1:45pm

    some laywers will do anything to push a case, and copyright is no exception. seems like you are trying to damn all copyright lawyers by the bad acts of a single one. petty, perhaps?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Jun 8th, 2010 @ 1:46pm

    The defendants in the case should be allowed to further pursue this a$$hole in court too. Nice to see the courts actually do sanction lawyers like this. More please!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2010 @ 1:49pm

    Shocked!

    I'm absolutely shocked that a copyright lawyer would act recklessly! Shocked I say! Simply SHOCKED!!1!

    Think of the children!

    /sarc

    sometimes the karma bird craps on the correct head... lol

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2010 @ 1:53pm

    Re:

    There must be more to this story. I'm sure there's something that a non-professional like TAM doesn't understand.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2010 @ 1:55pm

    Why should others pay attention?

    The base assumption of American courts is that all lawyers are paragons of virtue and would never file any frivolous or misleading actions. Notice, it took five years before anybody bothered to smack him down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2010 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re:

    hi mike.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    harbingerofdoom (profile), Jun 8th, 2010 @ 2:02pm

    Re:

    and dont you regularly condemn anyone who doesnt immediately snap-to and fall in line with what the massive corporate interest dictates?

    physician heal thyself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2010 @ 2:09pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    If only shooting healthy lawyers cured sick kids.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2010 @ 2:09pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hi false dilemma + ad hominem + hasty generalization + logical fallacy dude!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2010 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    you shoot, you score. that is exactly what mike is doing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2010 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Just because you keep repeating it, doesn't make it true.

    Sadly, only the MythBusters are allowed to substitute reality with their own.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Andrew F (profile), Jun 8th, 2010 @ 6:04pm

    >> Some of the lawyers involved might want to pay attention to what can happen when you aggressively pursue a bogus copyright claim.

    Well, actually, if a lawyer aggressively pursues any bogus claim, shit can happen. See the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 11. http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/Rule11.htm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2010 @ 6:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You know what they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Adorable!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    jak tomson, Jun 8th, 2010 @ 6:48pm

    I dont see anything wrong with it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    mkam, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 4:29am

    Wording Fix

    Normally I don't care about a few misplaced words but this changes the meaning of the article.
    But during the course of a long, and convoluted, legal campaign, that's now how Kornarens represented things to the court.
    should be...
    But during the course of a long, and convoluted, legal campaign, that's not how Kornarens represented things to the court.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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