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Murakami-Wolf-Swenson, Inc. v. Cole

United States District Court, D. Oregon

August 13, 2014

MURAKAMI-WOLF-SWENSON, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
LAWRENCE A. COLE, individually and d/b/a ACME-TV; MAGNUM PRODUCTIONS LLC, an Oregon Domestic Limited Liability Company; and DOE 1 through DOE 100, inclusive, Defendants

For Plaintiff: MICHAEL M. RATOZA, Bullivant Houser Bailey, PC, Portland, OR; BRIDGET B. HIRSCH, Los Angeles, CA; EVAN S. COHEN, Los Angeles, CA.

For Defendants: SCOTT N. BARBUR, JUSTIN R. STEFFEN, Barbur Law Office, LLC, Milwaukie, OR.

Page 1366

OPINION AND ORDER

ANNA J. BROWN, United States District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion (#23) for Partial Summary Judgment on the Issue of Liability and Defendants' Cross-Motion (#29) for Summary Judgment. The Court concludes the record is sufficiently developed such that oral argument would not be helpful.

For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion and DENIES Defendants' Cross-Motion.

BACKGROUND

In 1970 Murikami Wolf Productions, Inc., predecessor in interest to Plaintiff Murikami-Wolf-Swenson, Inc., created an audiovisual animated film produced for television entitled The Point. The Point was broadcast on television by the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) in 1971.

In 1985 Plaintiff's licensee Vestron Video[1] released a videocassette recording of The Point. The outside packaging of The Point videocassette and the label on The Point videocassette contained a copyright notice stating " © 1985 Murikami-Wolf-Swenson, Inc." Suppl. Decl. of Evan Cohen, Ex. A at 2-3.

On January 22, 1987, Murikami Wolf Productions registered a copyright for The Point with the Register of Copyrights. Murikami Wolf Productions noted in its Copyright Registration that The Point was

Page 1367

created in 1970 and listed the date " of first publication of this particular work" as February 11, 1970.[2] Compl., Ex. A at 1.

" At least as early as 2012" Defendant ACME-TV[3] offered for sale and sold copies of The Point on ACME-TV.com and through online retailers such as Amazon.com and eBay. Defendants did not have a license or other authorization from Plaintiff to manufacture or to sell copies of The Point.

On October 16, 2013, Plaintiff filed an action in this Court against ACME-TV, Magnum Productions, and Lawrence Cole in which Plaintiff asserts a claim against Defendants for willful copyright infringement in violation of 17 U.S.C. § 501. Plaintiff seeks damages and injunctive relief.

On April 24, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on the Issue of Liability. On May 14, 2014, Defendants filed a Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court took the Motions under advisement on June 21, 2014.

STANDARDS

Summary judgment is appropriate when " there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Washington Mut. Ins. v. United States, 636 F.3d 1207, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011). See also Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party must show the absence of a dispute as to a material fact. Rivera v. Philip Morris, Inc., 395 F.3d 1142, 1146 (9th Cir. 2005). In response to a properly supported motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and show there is a genuine dispute as to a material fact for trial. Id. " This burden is not a light one. . . . The non-moving party must do more than show there is some 'metaphysical doubt' as to the material facts at issue." In re Oracle Corp. Sec. Litig., 627 F.3d 376, 387 (9th Cir. 2010) (citation omitted).

A dispute as to a material fact is genuine " if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Villiarimo v. Aloha Island Air, Inc., 281 F.3d 1054, 1061 (9th Cir. 2002)(quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)). The court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Sluimer v. Verity, Inc., 606 F.3d 584, 587 (9th Cir. 2010). " Summary judgment cannot be granted where contrary inferences may be drawn from the evidence as to material issues." Easter v. Am. W. Fin., 381 F.3d 948, 957 (9th Cir. 2004)(citation omitted). A " mere disagreement or bald assertion" that a genuine dispute as to a material fact exists " will not preclude the grant of summary judgment." Deering v. Lassen Cmty. Coll. Dist., No. 2:07-CV-1521-JAM-DAD, 2011 WL 202797, at *2 (E.D. Cal., Jan. 20, 2011) (citing Harper v. Wallingford, 877 F.2d 728, 731 (9th Cir. 1989)). When the nonmoving party's claims ...


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