In a decision believed to be the largest award in Canada to date
for copyright infringement, the Federal Court of Canada has awarded
over $10 million to Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation for
copyright infringement of its The Simpsons and Family Guy
Twentieth Century Fox asserted that the defendant, Mr.
Hernandez, offered entire episodes of The Simpsons and Family Guy
for viewing by the public on his Watch Family Guy Online (WFGO) and
Watch The Simpsons Online (WTSO) websites. All episodes from
all seasons were apparently offered on the sites totalling at least
700 separate episodes.
The Court agreed that Mr. Hernandez had copied The Simpsons and
Family Guy programs, uploaded the unauthorized copies to computer
file servers, and enabled the public to download, stream and/or
copy the unauthorized content via the Internet and through the WFGO
and WTSO websites.
In its judgment, the Federal Court awarded Twentieth Century Fox
$10,000,000.00 in statutory damages, $500,000.00 in punitive and
exemplary damages, $78,575.25 in costs, as well as interest.
In addition to the monetary judgment, the Court issued an
injunction restraining Mr. Hernandez from further infringing
Twentieth Century Fox' copyright in The Simpsons and Family Guy
programs and ordered him to deliver up to Twentieth Century Fox all
copies of the programs and related documents and materials in his
The order was issued by the Court on a default judgement
motion. Such motions may be brought in cases where a
defendant fails to file a statement of defence. However, a
defendant in Federal Court who has not filed a responding pleading
is not deemed to admit the allegations in the statement of
claim. Accordingly, a plaintiff seeking default judgment must
prove its case to the Court with sufficient evidence.
Twentieth Century Fox succeeded in doing so given that it secured a
significant statutory damages award.
In Canada, statutory damages of between $500.00 and $20,000.00
per work infringed are available for copyright infringement when
the infringement is for commercial purposes. In this case,
the Court found that Mr. Hernandez' infringement was indeed for
commercial purposes. The pleading noted that Mr. Hernandez derived
revenue from the WFGO and WTSO sites through various means
including through pay-per-click advertisements and by driving
traffic to other commercial websites. Based on the over 700 works
at issue, the Court's award of $10 million in statutory damages
represents an award of approximately $14,000.00 per work
(i.e., per television episode). With respect to the award of
$500,000.00 for punitive and exemplary damages, the Court noted
that Mr. Hernandez' infringement was blatant, repeated,
high-handed and intentional, and that he acted in bad faith showing
callous disregard for the Plaintiff's copyright
This decision shows the real teeth that the Canadian
Copyright Act has and that plaintiffs can secure
substantial relief from the Canadian Federal Court in cases of
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