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UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Adams

October 3, 2008

UMG RECORDINGS, INC., BMG MUSIC, AND SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
MATTIE ADAMS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter is before the Court on the Motion for Default Judgment and Permanent Injunction brought by Plaintiffs UMG Recordings, Inc., BMG Music and Sony BMG Music Entertainment against Defendant Mattie Adams (Doc. 11). For the following reasons the motion will be granted and the Clerk of Court will be directed to enter judgment as follows: (1) Plaintiffs are awarded statutory damages under 17 U.S.C. § 504(c)(1) in the total amount of $6,000; (2) Plaintiffs are awarded $420 in costs under 17 U.S.C. § 505; and (3) Plaintiffs are awarded permanent injunctive relief under 17 U.S.C. §§ 502 and 503.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs filed this action against Defendant on July 29, 2008, seeking damages and injunctive relief for willful copyright infringement under the copyright laws of the United States, 17 U.S.C. §§ 101 et seq. Plaintiffs allege they are the holders of copyrights or licenses in the following sound recordings: (1) "You" on album "Moodring," by artist "Mya" (SR# 338-694); (2) "Patiently Waiting" on album "Get Rich Or Die Tryin'," by artist "50 Cent" (SR# 337-801); (3) "6 Minutes" on album "I'm A Hustla," by artist "Cassidy" (SR# 377-767); (4) "Goodbye" on album "Jagged Little Thrill," by artist "Jagged Edge" (SR# 302-328); (5) "U Make Me Wanna" on album "Kiss of Death," by artist "Jadakiss" (SR# 356-267); (6) "I Need Love" on album "Bigger And Deffer," by artist "LL Cool J" (SR# 83-510); (7) "Nothing In This World" on album "Soul Sista," by artist "Keke Wyatt" (SR# 303-159); and (8) "Hypothetically" on album "Lyfe 268-192," by artist "Lyfe Jennings" (SR# 363-168) (hereinafter, "the Copyrighted Recordings"). See Complaint ("Compl.") ¶ 9 & Ex. A.

Plaintiffs allege that Defendant, without their permission and consent, has used, and continued to use, a P2P [peer-to-peer] network to download and/or distribute to the public the Copyrighted Recordings." Compl. ¶ 13. Plaintiffs allege that Defendant has infringed their exclusive rights of reproduction and distribution of the Copyrighted Recordings, in violation of the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. §§ 101 et seq., and that Defendant's "acts of infringement have been willful and intentional, in disregard of and with indifference" to Plaintiffs' rights in the Copyrighted Recordings. Id. at ¶ 16. In their complaint Plaintiffs seek: (1) statutory damages pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 504(c); (2) costs pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 505; and (3) injunctive relief pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §§ 502 and 503 prohibiting Defendant from further infringing Plaintiffs' rights in the Copyrighted Recordings and ordering Defendant to destroy all copies of the Copyrighted Recordings. See id. at ¶¶ 17-18.

Although Defendant was properly served with Plaintiffs' complaint on August 26, 2008, she did not file an answer or otherwise respond to the complaint. On September 24, 2008, Plaintiffs filed a motion for entry of default (Doc. 9), whereupon a default was entered by the Clerk of Court on the same day (Doc. 10). Plaintiffs now have moved for entry of a default judgment against Defendant (Doc. 11), requesting an award of statutory damages under 17 U.S.C. § 504(c)(1) in the total amount of $6,000, an award of costs under 17 U.S.C. § 505 in the total amount of $420, and permanent injunctive relief under 17 U.S.C. §§ 502 and 503. Having reviewed carefully Plaintiffs' submissions in support of their request for entry of a default judgment in this case, the Court now is prepared to rule.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Procedure for Obtaining Default Judgment

Obtaining a default judgment entails two steps. First, the party seeking a default judgment must file a motion for entry of default with the clerk of a district court by demonstrating that the opposing party has failed to answer or otherwise respond to the complaint, and, second, once the clerk has entered a default, the moving party may then seek entry of a default judgment against the defaulting party. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 55; Conn-Selmer, Inc. v. Apex Indus., Inc., No. 04C0245, 2006 WL 752895, at *1 (E.D. Wis. Mar. 20, 2006). Cf. Keesh Constr., Inc. v. United States, No. 1:02-CV-899, 2004 WL 2536840, at *1 n. 1 (S.D. Ohio Sept. 28, 2004). Rule 55 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that the clerk may enter a judgment by default when the plaintiff's claim is for a sum certain or for a sum which can be computed with certainty and the defendant has been defaulted for failure to appear and is neither an infant nor incompetent. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(1); Palladino v. General Crushed Stone Co., No. 96-CV-1355, 1997 WL 67792, at *1 (N.D.N.Y. Feb. 13, 1997). In all other cases, the party seeking a judgment by default must apply to the presiding district judge for entry of a default judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(2).

In this instance, Plaintiffs request entry of a judgment of default by the Court pursuant to Rule 55(b)(2), which provides,

[T]he party must apply to the court for a default judgment. A default judgment may be entered against a minor or incompetent person only if represented by a general guardian, conservator, or other like fiduciary who has appeared. If the party against whom a default judgment is sought has appeared personally or by a representative, that party or its representative must be served with written notice of the application at least 3 days before the hearing. The court may conduct hearings or make referrals--preserving any federal statutory right to a jury trial--when, to enter or effectuate judgment, it needs to:

(A) conduct an accounting;

(B) determine the amount of damages;

(C) establish the truth of any allegation by ...


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