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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)


 [*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.


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


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)


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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