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Spanski Enters. v. Telewizja Polska S.A.

United States District Court for the District of Columbia

December 2, 2016, Decided; December 2, 2016, Filed

Civil Action No. 12-cv-957 (TSC)

Opinion

 [*97]   [***1229]  AMENDED MEMORANDUM OPINION SETTING FORTH FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW1

Plaintiff Spanski Enterprises, Inc. ("SEI") sued Defendant Telewizja Polska, S.A. ("TVP") for copyright infringement under 17 U.S.C. §101 et seq., alleging that TVP displayed television show episodes in the United States over which Plaintiff holds exclusive rights.

The court held a five-day bench trial from February 22, 2016 through [**2]  February 26, 2016, and the parties filed post-trial briefs on April 1, 2016.

Based upon the evidence presented at trial, and having reviewed the parties' submissions, the court makes the findings of fact and conclusions of law set forth below. Based on these findings of fact and conclusions  [*98]  of law, the court concludes that Plaintiff has sustained its burden of proof on its copyright claim, and that judgment must therefore be entered in favor of SEI.

Specifically, the court finds that Plaintiff has carried its burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that: (1) SEI was the exclusive licensee and owner of valid copyrights over 51 TVP Polonia episodes discussed herein; (2) TVP infringed SEI's exclusive copyright on the 51 shows by making them available in the U.S. via the website www.tvp.pl from the period of December 2011 to March 1, 2012; (3) TVP's infringement was volitional and intentional, and not due to a failure of its geoblocking system or an effort at circumventing geoblocking by SEI; and (4) Defendant did not carry its burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that SEI should be equitably estopped from bringing this claim.

I. FINDINGS OF FACT

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222 F. Supp. 3d 95 *; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166506 **; 121 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1227 ***; Copy. L. Rep. (CCH) P31,019

SPANSKI ENTERPRISES, INC., Plaintiff, v. TELEWIZJA POLSKA S.A., Defendant.

Subsequent History: As Amended December 12, 2016.

Later proceeding at Spanski Enters. v. Telewizja Polska S.A., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20465 (D.D.C., Feb. 14, 2017)

Costs and fees proceeding at, Motion granted by, in part, Motion denied by, in part Spanski Enters. v. Telewizja Polska S.A., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161663 (D.D.C., Sept. 30, 2017)

Affirmed by Spanski Enters. v. Telewizja Polska, S.A., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 5331 (D.C. Cir., Mar. 2, 2018)

Prior History: Spanski Enters. v. Telewizja Polska, S.A., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29786 (S.D.N.Y., Apr. 23, 2007)

CORE TERMS

TVP, episodes, formats, geoblocking, infringed, workflow, programming, territorial, website, registered, video, deletions, technology, internet, minus, court finds, volitional, logs, user, jak, exclusive right, restrictions, screenshots, broadcast, displayed, database, recorded, ameryki, blocked, stream