In a recent Federal Court of Canada (the "Court")
decision, the Court awarded statutory and punitive damages for the
copyright infringement of the popular programs Family Guy and The
Popular animated television shows Family Guy and The Simpsons
were at the centre of a recent copyright infringement action. These
programs are copyright protected works owned by Twentieth Century
Fox (the Plaintiff). The action was brought against Nicholas
Hernandez (and other unknown Defendants), alleging that Hernandez
was engaged in activities that infringed the Plaintiff's
copyright in the two programs. Subsequently, the Plaintiff brought
a motion for default judgment in the case.
In the default judgment, the Court made its determination in
view of affidavit evidence and on hearing submissions made by the
First, the Court confirmed that copyright subsists in each of
the Family Guy and The Simpsons programs and that Twentieth Century
Fox is the owner of this copyright.
As well, the Court declared that Hernandez had infringed the
copyright in these programs. Particularly, the Court stated that
copied The Simpsons and Family Guy programs from television
broadcasts and other media;
copied the programs onto a computer system;
uploaded the unauthorized copies to computer file servers;
created links to the unauthorized copies;
communicated the programs to the public in Canada and elsewhere
by telecommunication; and
enabled the public to infringe the copyright in the programs by
downloading, streaming and/or copying the content of the
unauthorized copies through the Internet.
Additionally, the Court found that Hernandez's infringement
was done in bad faith and for commercial purposes.
Although the Plaintiff elected for statutory damages, the Court
decided that those damages alone would not be sufficient in this
case due to Hernandez's "repeated, unauthorized, blatant,
high-handed and intentional misconduct". Accordingly, the
Court determined that in addition to statutory damages, a penalty
of punitive damages was justified.
Particularly, the quantum of the damages awarded by the Court
was $10 million in statutory damages and $500,000 for punitive and
In addition to these damages, the Defendant was also restrained
from engaging in any activities that infringed the copyright of the
Plaintiff's works, and from engaging in any Internet
transmission, communication or performance of the Family Guy or The
Simpsons programs. As well, the Defendant was ordered to deliver up
all copies of the Family Guy and The Simpsons programs and any
other related materials.
It is clear from this case that the Defendant's conduct
influenced the Court's decision on the quantum and type of
damages that should be awarded. Particularly, where the infringer
financially benefits from the infringing activities and willfully
continues to disregard a copyright owner's rights, the Court
will award substantial damages in order to achieve the goals of
punishment and deterrence.
"Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation v. Nicholas
Hernandez, John Doe and Jane Doe", Docket: T-1618-13, 3
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