Judge: Hand Over 6 Gay Tube Sites or Face $1K-a-Day Fines
OAKLAND, Calif. — A federal judge has given the operators of JerkYourTube.com, GayForIt.com and ItsAllGay.com until the end of business day today to hand over their websites to a receiver or face $1,000-a-day fines.
U.S. Judge Maxine Chesney also ordered three more of the company's websites transferred to a receiver, as well, in her contempt order against GLBT Ltd.
Those sites — JerkYourTube.eu, GayForIt.eu and ItsAllGay.eu — all received traffic directed from the three similar .com names, Chesney said.
Attorney Marc Randazza, who represents Corbin Fisher, one of three plaintiffs in the copyright infringement suit, said that the U.K. operators of the site think they are "beyond the reach of the courts" in the U.S.
"There is no indication they will voluntarily hand over the websites," Randazza told XBIZ.
In its original $29 million complaint made last year, gay studios Channel One Releasing, Corbin Fisher and Titan Media contend that GLBT Ltd.'s business model follows a system where it requires uploaders to "strip away any evidence that the content is a professional or copyright registered work by prohibiting any video that has the copyright owners’ titles, credits or watermarks."
GLBT Ltd. is owned and operated by Steven and David Compton, both U.K. residents, who not only are known as operators of the six similar-formatted sites, but the pair two years ago rolled out COP-CMS, a software program that proclaims to protect adult studios from copyright infringement.
In August, the three gay studios filed for a preliminary injunction to stop GLBT Ltd. from dispersing its assets, with a federal judge granting the studios' injunction.
Chesney at the time also ordered that the GLBT Ltd. domains be put into receivership pending resolution of the suit.
The lawsuit took another turn in August when the studios filed a motion for terminating sanctions, claiming the defendants had destroyed evidence relevant to the case.
GLBT Ltd., from the outset of the case, said that it was immune from civil liability because the company operates as an Internet service provider under the safe provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The company also contended that it can't be sued in the U.S. because it is an "inconvenient forum" because it operates as an U.K.-based company.
Last month, GLBT Ltd. fired its counsel, with the attorney, Jonathan Capp, telling the court that he "hereby gives notice that he has been instructed by defendants to participate no further in this proceeding."
The Oceanside, Calif., attorney earlier did not comment on whether GLBT Ltd., the operators of the defendant websites, planned on producing substitute counsel. If substitute counsel isn't arranged, courts typically ask plaintiffs to enter default judgments against defendants.