Russian Defendant Appeals $83M Default Judgment in Record Labels’ ‘Stream Ripping’ Case

Tofig Kurbanov has appealed a default judgment entered against him in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act case accusing him of operating illegal music download websites. The notice of appeal filed late last week challenges a dismissal opinion, an order compelling production of discovery, and an order enjoining the defendant from further copyright infringement and requiring him to pay the $83 million award in addition to reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.

The case dates to 2018 when major American record labels including Atlantic Recording Corporation, Capitol Records LLC, UMG Recordings Inc., and Warner Bros. Records Inc. sued the Russian national for allowing users to repeatedly download about 1,615 chart-topping songs free of charge from two pirated websites. Specifically, the websites help users convert URLs from streaming sites like into free downloadable MP3s through a process known as “stream ripping.”

In one filing the plaintiffs referred to Kurbanov as an “international scofflaw” who understood the illegality of his actions, flouted the court’s orders, and yet continued to run and profit from advertising revenue earned on his illicit sites.

Procedurally, the Alexandria, Virginia lawsuit took a trip to the Fourth Circuit where a panel reinvigorated the record labels’ case in a personal jurisdiction decision. Thereafter, the district court denied Kurbanov’s motion to dismiss and the parties delved into discovery, though complications arose. Citing Kurbanov’s refusal to participate in the evidentiary process, the record labels moved for entry of default judgment, which was granted last October.

Two months later, a magistrate judge assigned to the case recommended an award of $83 million. Kurbanov opposed adoption of the order while the plaintiffs urged it. In February, the district court sided with the plaintiffs and finalized the decision. In last week’s order, Kurbanov made known his intentions to seek reversal from the Fourth Circuit.

The plaintiffs are represented by Oppenheim + Zebrak LLP while Kurbanov is represented by Sands Anderson PC, Boston Law Group PC, and Ciampa Fray-Witzer LLP.