Meta Interfaces Asks Judge to Dismiss Private's $30M Suit

Oct 11, 2010 4:15 PM PST
SAN FRANCISCO — Meta Interfaces, defending itself over a $30 million copyright suit waged by Private Media Group, says it paid a flat license fee of $106,000 for the same Private content now being litigated in an infringement claim.

In the suit, Private, through its Fraserside Holdings division, claims that Meta Interfaces committed more than 200 instances of copyright infringement because numerous tube sites it works with or operates — including SkimTube.com, EskimoTube.com and Tjoob.com — displayed two-minute Private videos alongside third-party advertising.

All of the videos accompany statements that say, "Download Full Scene at X-Movie," which links to XMovie.com and is owned and controlled by Meta Interfaces.

Meta Interfaces, in its defense, said that it had a three-year deal to distribute Private videos that started in May 2009 and that if the allegations, even if true, amount to minor breaches of contractual covenants that have resulted in little if any harm to Private.

As a result, Meta Interfaces has asked a judge to dismiss the claims.

"[Private] accuses Meta Interfaces of violating terms of a license agreement, but makes no claim that Meta is a thief, counterfeiter or pirate — the conduct against which federal copyright laws are designed to protect," according to a motion by Meta Interfaces.

According to court documents, Meta Interfaces insists there is "no reasonable basis" to infer that Meta breached third-party provisions.

Meta Interfaces attorneys, calling Private's suit "draconian" because it seeks enhanced statutory damages — $150,000 for each infringed motion picture — said Private's claims are off base and fail to state a claim.

"A key rationale for statutory damages is that it is often difficult to establish the number of copies that had been made by an underground pirate business, because counterfeiters generally do not maintain books or records," Meta Interfaces said. "That justification has no application here.

"Meta is no underground pirater. Meta is [Private's] licensee."

Attorneys from both sides did not immediately respond to XBIZ requests for comment. The parties are slated to face off over Meta Interfaces' motion to dismiss at U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Nov. 15.

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