As part of its copyright infringement lawsuit against Bang Energy Drink maker Vital Pharmaceuticals, Pryor Cashman client Sony Music Entertainment's request for sanctions against Bang was granted in the Southern District of Florida by U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Becerra.

The order from Judge Becerra sanctioned Bang for failing to hand over social media videos and data as part of discovery in Sony Music Entertainment et al. v. Vital Pharmaceuticals Inc. et al.

The judge noted that the drink maker "should have preserved this data, notified any other custodians to do the same and implemented appropriate measures for that preservation within the discovery period" and ordered them to pay attorney's fees to Sony.

In its coverage of the decision, Law360 noted:

Sony said Vital had a duty to preserve evidence, which includes a set of 22 videos posted to Vital's social media accounts and another set of 171 containing engagement data that allegedly show the extent of the copyright infringement, which Sony needs to prove damages.

"Such actions deprived plaintiffs of crucial evidence to which they were entitled and caused them prejudice, as they cannot adequately address them in this case — which they are clearly entitled to do," Judge Becerra wrote in her order.

In her order, Judge Becerra allowed Sony to establish one of two elements of copyright infringement, particularly the presumption that Vital copied the music included in social media videos, and that the videos reached as many people as other posts on its social media accounts, although Sony still must prove it owns the music.

Vital said it should not be sanctioned because it "inadvertently" failed to preserve the social media videos, but was still able to provide some videos and screenshots of others, according to Judge Becerra's order.

Judge Becerra ordered the parties to meet in order to determine "reasonable" attorney fees and for Sony to provide Vital an invoice within 30 days of her order.

Sony Music is being represented by Pryor Cashman Partners David C. Rose and James G. Sammataro.

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