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Decision Peta

Decision Peta

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Published by mschwimmer
copyright decision SDNY IDEA v PETA re statuory damages
copyright decision SDNY IDEA v PETA re statuory damages

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Published by: mschwimmer on Sep 10, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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06/28/2010

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTSOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
...................................................................
X
THE INSTITUTE FOR THE DEVELOPMENTOF EARTH AWARENESS,Plaintiff.ELEC1-RONICALLY
FILED
DATE FILED:
f
'
Wo/
08 Civ. 6195 (PKC)MEMORANDUMAND ORDERPEOPLE FOR THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OFANIMALS,Defendant.
...................................................................
X
PEOPLE FOR THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OFANIMALS.Counterclaim-Plaintiff,THE INSTITUTE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OFEARTH AWARENESS and MARJORIE SPIEGEL.Counterclaim-Defendants.
...................................................................
X
P. KEVIN CASTEL. U.S.D.J.:Plaintiff The Institute for the Development of Earth Awareness ("IDEA") bringsthis copyright infringement action, under 17 U.S.C.
5
101(The Copyright Act of 1976),against defendant People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ("PETA"). IDEA alleges thatPETA has infringed a copyrighted work entitled "The Dreaded Comparison: Human and AnimalSlavery" (the "Work"), and it seeks a permanent injunction to prevent PETA from "reproducing,making, reprinting, publishing, displaying, manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, promoting,advertising, distributing andlor commercially exploiting in any manner, either directly ox
 
indirectly, the Infringing Materials or other works which incorporate the original, protectibleexpression of the Work
. . . ."
(Amend. Compl. at 11
.)
IDEA also seeks compensation fordamages suffered as a result of PETA's allegedly infringing acts, and it seeks an award of
all
profits derived from those acts in an amount to be determined at trial.
Id.
In lieu of suchdamages and profits, IDEA requests, "where applicable and should it so elect," an award ofstatutory damages with respect to each infringement under 17 U.S.C.
$
504(c).
Id.
IDEAdemands that PETA be directed to deliver to all materials which, if sold, distributed or used inany way, would violate the requested injunction.
Id.
Finally, IDEA seeks to recover from PETAall costs incurred in this action, including the reasonable attomey's fees incurred in connection
with
IDEA's claim, together with such other relief as the Court may deem just and proper.
Id.
t11-12.PETA moves, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), Fed. R. Civ. P., to dismissIDEA's claims for statutory damages and attomey's fees. For the reasons explained below,PETA's motion is granted.'I. BackgroundThe following facts are alleged in the First Amended Complaint (the "AmendedComplaint") and accepted as true for purposes of this motion. All reasonable inferences aredrawn in the light most favorable to IDEA as the non-movant.Not later than 1988, IDEA's co-founder, Marjorie Spiegel, authored an illustratedwork entitled "The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery." (Amend. Compl.
7
6.)A second edition of the work was published in 1989 and the current, revised and expandededition was published in 1996.
Id.
The 1996 edition is still in print and remains commercially
'
PETA has also asserted a counterclaim for declaratory judgment against IDEA and IDEA's principal, MarjorieSpiegel. Answer to First Amended Complaint and Counterclaim for Declaration of Non-lnfingement
(Dkt.
No.
18).
The Court does not address PETA's counterclaim in this Order.
 
available.
Id.
In addition to authoring the original textual matter for the Work, Ms. Spiegelcreatively selected, coordinated and arranged certain illustrations, photographs and quotesincluded in the Work.
Id.
7.
The Work also includes an original forward written by AliceWalker.
Id.
In
2006,
IDEA, through its division, Mirror Books, registered a copyright in theWork.
Id.
t Ex. A.Subsequent to the Work's publication in
1988,
PETA and IDEA engaged innegotiations regarding PETA's proposal to reprint excerpts, to obtain multiple copies, or toreprint and distribute copies of the work in its entirety, but no agreement was ever reached.
Id.
15.
IDEA alleges that, "since at least
2005
and continuing through to the present,PETA has, without authorization from or attribution to IDEA, prepared, reproduced, distributedand publicly displayed certain textual and graphical materials
.
.
copied from and substantiallysimilar to protectible elements of the Work."
Id.
16.
IDEA further alleges that PETA used itsinfringing materials: in a media campaign entitled the "Animal Liberation Project," whichincludes a touring exhibit; in electronic versions featured on certain websites under PETA'scontrol; in printed brochures and promotional materials; and in connection with advertising andfund-raising activities.
Id.
17.
IDEA contends that, because the similarities between PETA'smaterial and the Work are "neither fortuitous nor
&
minimis," PETA has infringed andcontinues to infringe upon IDEA's registered copyright in the Work.
Id.
21-22.
Not later than August
3
1,2005,
IDEA objected to PETA's use of the allegedinfringing materials and has communicated its continuing objection since that time.
Id.
7
23.
Despite IDEA's objections, PETA has continued to reproduce, distribute and display theallegedly infringing materials.
Id.

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