Judge Orders Preliminary Injunction In Copyright E-book Suit

United States Senior District Judge Marsha J. Pechman of the Western District of Washington issued a preliminary injunction on Thursday for publishers, including Amazon Publishing and Penguin Random House, and authors in their suit against Kiss Library, who the plaintiffs alleged infringed on their copyrights for the unauthorized sale of the plaintiffs’ e-books on the defendants’ websites.

The plaintiffs are seeking relief under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rules 4, 26, and 65. The plaintiffs’ complaint and ex parte motion, filed in July, alleged and “provided evidence” that the defendants “are engaged in ongoing, widespread copyright infringement of Plaintiffs’ works…through a ring of substantively identical mirror websites.” The court issued various orders and granted the plaintiffs’ requested relief shortly after they filed the complaint. The court then ordered the defendants to show cause as to why a preliminary injunction should not be issued; the defendants had until August 14 to answer and were set to appear at the show cause hearing on August 25. However, despite being notified about the teleconference hearing, the defendants did not appear at the hearing or file any response to the plaintiffs or the court.

The court found that upon review of the documents submitted and after the show cause hearing, the plaintiffs “have demonstrated that they are entitled to immediate injunctive relief” because they demonstrated that “they are likely to succeed on the merits of their copyright claims,” “they have and are suffering irreparable injury in the absence of an injunction based on Defendants’ illegal reproduction, display, and distribution of Plaintiffs’ Works,” “the balance of hardships weights in Plaintiffs’ favor,” and “the public interest favors granting injunctive relief.” As a result, the court granted the requested preliminary injunction.

Furthermore, the court stated that in regards to “the need for injunctive relief to secure assets without notice and expedited discovery to discover Defendants’ identities and assets,” the court contended that the defendants have taken “great lengths to conceal their identities, locations, and proceeds from Plaintiffs’ and this Court’s detection,” such as by using fake addresses or deceptive contact information. The court added that it is likely that some of the defendants are overseas and some only communicate via email. The court argued that it is likely that the defendants would “destroy, move, hide, or otherwise make inaccessible the proceeds of their infringement, copies of infringed Works, and the Websites used to display and distribute those Works, to the Court and Plaintiffs if they received advance notice.”

The court has ordered the defendants and other affiliated entities or third parties are restrained from “(d)irectly infringing Plaintiffs’ Works by reproducing, displaying, distributing, offering for sale, or selling” said works; “(i)nducing, causing, or materially contributing to the infringement of Plaintiffs’ copyrights”; “(m)oving, destroying, or otherwise disposing of any items, merchandise, or documents relating to the reproduction, distribution, or sale of Plaintiffs’ Works, Defendants’ Websites, and/or Defendants’ assets and operations”; and “(r)emoving, destroying or otherwise disposing of any computer files, electronic files business records, or documents relating to Defendants’ Websites, Defendants’ assets and operations, or relating in any way to the distribution or sale of plaintiffs’ Works, or any reproduction of Plaintiffs’ Works.” The preliminary injunction will remain in effect through the litigation unless the court orders otherwise.

For the ex parte asset restraint, the defendants and any other related entity or individuals are ordered to “immediately locate all accounts connected to Defendants or the Websites, and that such accounts be temporarily restrained and enjoined from transferring or disposing of any money or other of Defendants’ assets, not allowing such funds to be transferred or withdrawn” and within three days of receiving this order to “temporarily disable” their website domain names “through a registry hold or otherwise, and make them inactive and non-transferable pending further order.” Additionally, any third-parties working with the defendants must temporarily cease service to the defendants.

Lastly, for expedited discovery, the court has ordered that the plaintiffs may continue to provide discovery notice to the defendants, the individuals, related entities and third-parties. Third parties must provide copies of requested documentation and information within five days of said notice.

The plaintiffs are represented by Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.