The Court Answers Last Two Questions in Online Television Streaming Copyright Infringement

Last week we presented an overview of the court’s process in making its decision in a recent copyright infringement lawsuit involving broadcasters and an online television streaming company. This week’s wrap-up will focus on the ancillary questions presented at the end of last week’s post—what the scope of the injunction should be and what amount of bond should be required of the plaintiffs.

As to the first question, the matter of scope was complicated by jurisdictional issues. As the defendants’ business had been running on a nationwide basis, different district courts had already weighed in and while Ninth Circuit had come to a similar conclusion to this court, the Second Circuit, having come to a different conclusion on whether the streaming service violated copyright law, had not granted an injunction. Further, the Copyright Act mandated that whenever an injunction was granted based on a claim of copyright infringement, that the injunction should be “operative throughout the United States.” Attempting to square this circle, the court referred to D.C. Circuit precedent that allowed it to limit the scope of injunctions in circumstances such as these and, accordingly, limited the scope of the injunction to cover the entirety of the United States except for the Second Circuit.

Finally, the court turned to the issue of bond. As it noted, the D.C. Circuit is not a mandatory-bond jurisdiction and, as a result, the court had the option of requiring no bond if the circumstances warranted it. The defendants, concerned that the injunction might destroy their business, asked the court to require a $10,000,000 bond. The court, however, noting the “considerable assets” held by the plaintiffs of this case, instead imposed a $250,000 bond.



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