District Judge Robert W. Sweet


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The Shoshanna defendants are a New York-based retailer, and web site’s operator. On Sept. 24, 2015, the U.S. Copyright Office registered California-based photojournalism firm FameFlynet Inc.’s (FFN) two subject photographs of celebrity Emmy Rossum (Rossum Photos). The subject Rossum Photos were first published on July 16, 2015, by E! Entertainment Online, which paid FFN a $75 license fee. One of defendants’ employees uploaded the Rossum Photos to the web site. District court granted FFN summary judgment in its copyright infringement suit. In finding that FFN made out a prima facie claim for direct copyright infringement, the court determined that defendants actually and improperly copied the Rossum Photos. Finding no license from E! Entertainment, the court rejected defendants’ claim that the subject photographs’ republication mirrored permitted uses granted FFN’s licensees. Finding FFN entitled to statutory damages the court rejected, as arbitrary, FFN’s claim for a total of $25,000, which it sought upwardly adjusted to $150,000 upon a finding of willful infringement. Rather, discussing 17 USC §504(c)(1) and (2), the court approved an award of $750 to FFN, which was also entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees.