$4M Default Judgment for Private in Copyright Suit

Feb 15, 2012 10:30 AM PST

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Private Media Group has been awarded $4 million in damages against the operators of adult tube site PornVisit.com in a default judgment.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Mark W. Bennett was made Tuesday after operators Mark Faragalla and Mina Faragalla of Beaumont, Calif., failed to respond to the suit for allegedly streaming 19 videos on PornVisit.

Bennett also ordered an injunction against the Faragallas and any employees from poaching and streaming Private's content.

Private's copyright infringement suit through its Fraserside IP division said PornVisit placed its own watermark on the videos subject to the infringement claim and "proudly" displayed the number of instances in which they were viewed.

With a default ruling at hand, Bennett said that Private had faced $2.85 million in damages on copyright claims — but that wasn't all.

Bennett also calculated $1.1 million in damages on Lanham Act claims and $13,000 in attorneys fees, totaling $4 million.

"The PornVisit.com website is a cash cow, made all the more profitable by the fact that its product is the result of pirating copies of other adult films," Bennett ruled. "Based on PornVisit.com's 100,000-plus pages on Google, the site generated $60,000 per month in advertising revenue alone, or $720,000 a year."

Bennett also calculated PornVisit's revenue based on the recruitment of new members, which he said generated $135,000.

With advertising and membership revenue added up, Bennett said that "erring on the conservative side," concluding that Private had suffered $1.1 million in actual damages on Lanham Act claims.

Private spokesman Jason Tucker told XBIZ that Bennett used strong language to make his point. 

"Judge Bennett understood the situation that this content producer is in and the frustration we experience in seeking justice against those who pilfer our hard work product," Tucker said. "I am very pleased with the outcome. 

"With maximum damages — $150,000 per infringement — awarded across the board, I think that the message is clear; if proven a pirate of protected work, you will pay a high price.  Along with Attorney Chad Bellville, we will continue to fight on behalf of producers.”

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