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Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc. v. McGraw-Hill Global Educ. Holdings LLC

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

August 2, 2019, Decided; August 2, 2019, Filed

16-cv-5393 (KMW)

Opinion

 [*124]  OPINION & ORDER

KIMBA M. WOOD, United States District Judge:

Plaintiffs Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc. and Jose Pelaez (collectively, "Pelaez") bring  [*125]  this action for copyright infringement against Defendants McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings LLC and McGraw-Hill School Education Holdings LLC (collectively, "McGraw-Hill"). McGraw-Hill moves for summary judgment on all of Pelaez's claims. Pelaez moves for summary judgment on 129 of his 573 infringement claims and requests a ruling that the infringement he alleges was willful. For the reasons below, both parties' motions are GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

BACKGROUND

I. Factual [**2]  Background

The following facts are not genuinely disputed unless otherwise noted.

Jose Pelaez is a commercial photographer and president and sole owner of Jose Luis Pelaez Inc., a corporation organized under New York law. (Pls.' Resp, to Defs.' Statement of Undisputed Material Facts ("Pelaez 56.1 Response"), ECF No. 155, ¶ 3.) McGraw-Hill is a publisher of textbooks and educational products. (Id. ¶ 1.)

Beginning in 1990, Pelaez entered into representation agreements with non-parties Corbis and its predecessor-in-interest The Stock Market (collectively, "Corbis"), authorizing Corbis to sub-license Pelaez's photographs on his behalf. (Defs.' Resp. to Am. Statement of Undisputed Material Facts ("McGraw-Hill's 56.1 Resp.") ¶ 8, ECF No. 132.) The agreements authorized Corbis to issue limited licenses for the use of Pelaez's images by third parties in exchange for reasonable license fees. (Id. ¶ 9.)

During the time period relevant to this suit, Corbis and McGraw-Hill entered into a series of preferred pricing agreements (collectively, the "PPAs"), including:

• An agreement entitled "Textbook rates Glencoe valid through 5-1-2001," effective as of June 29, 2000 (the "2000 PPA");

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399 F. Supp. 3d 120 *; 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129705 **; 2019 WL 3533010

JOSE LUIS PELAEZ, INC. AND JOSE PELAEZ, Plaintiffs, -against- MCGRAW-HILL GLOBAL EDUCATION HOLDINGS LLC AND MCGRAW-HILL SCHOOL EDUCATION HOLDINGS LLC, Defendants.

Prior History: Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc. v. McGraw-Hill Global Educ. Holdings LLC, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125955 (S.D.N.Y., Aug. 8, 2017)

CORE TERMS

license, infringement, photographs, invoices, registration, summary judgment, images, implied license, statutory damages, limitations, contends, copyright infringement, parties, licensee, damages, three year, argues, terms, summary judgment motion, copyrighted work, willful, rights, print, usage, written agreement, copyright owner, copies, discovery rule, license to use, material fact

Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Appropriateness, Genuine Disputes, Legal Entitlement, Burdens of Proof, Movant Persuasion & Proof, Nonmovant Persuasion & Proof, Judgments, Evidentiary Considerations, Copyright Law, Civil Infringement Actions, Elements, Copying by Defendants, Scope of Copyright Protection, Ownership Rights, Reproductions, Ownership, Copyright Infringement Actions, Defenses, Assignments & Transfers, Licenses, Scope of Conveyances, Burdens of Proof, Evidence, Allocation, Elements, Damages, Types of Damages, Compensatory Damages, Statutory Damages, Infringement Profits, Formalities, Deposit & Registration Requirements, Registration, Remedies, Damages, Registration, Registration Certificates, Application Requirements, Defenses, Statute of Limitations, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Affirmative Defenses, Laches, Governments, Legislation, Statute of Limitations, Time Limitations, Tolling, Business & Corporate Law, Duties & Liabilities, Knowledge & Notice, Agent Knowledge, Contracts Law, Contract Interpretation, Licenses, Rule Application & Interpretation, Contract Interpretation, Ambiguities & Contra Proferentem, Parol Evidence, Intent, Parol Evidence, Course of Dealing, Business & Corporate Compliance, Contract Formation, Acceptance, Meeting of Minds, Discovery, Methods of Discovery, Depositions, Corporate Governance, Directors & Officers, Management Duties & Liabilities