Infringement Case Against Porn.com Is Tossed; MetArt Vows to Appeal

Infringement Case Against Porn.com Is Tossed; MetArt Vows to Appeal
Rhett Pardon

PHOENIX — A federal judge has dismissed copyright infringement claims made by the parent company of the MetArt Network against the companies that operate and are affiliated with Porn.com.

In a decision made this week, U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell ruled that MetArt had no jurisdiction over the Seychelles-based Porn.com or any of the other foreign entities and individuals named as defendants.

Those entities and individuals include an owner of Porn.com who is a resident of Seychelles; Sagan Ltd., a company based in Seychelles; MXN Ltd., based in Barbados; and Netmedia Services Inc., based in Canada.

MetArt, which filed the infringement suit in May 2016, alleged that Porn.com and its defendants engaged in a practice called “scraping,” by which entities aggregate on their own, user information and videos from other websites, then create a façade that those users exist on their own website and upload the videos to their websites directly.

Porn.com was alleged to have displayed four of MetArt’s movies over four separate Porn.com URLs. Porn.com claimed that the poached videos were uploaded by third-party users.

Campbell, in an order made this week, granted the defendants’ motions to dismiss and terminated the case on the issue of personal jurisdiction.

“Plaintiffs have failed to show that foreseeable harm occurred in the forum as a result of defendants’ conduct giving rise to this suit, and therefore have failed to satisfy the purposeful direction element of personal jurisdiction analysis,” Campbell wrote.

Campbell also said that MetArt cited no authority in support of its argument to show that the company, as a Cyprus corporation, was harmed in the U.S.

“Plaintiffs have provided no more than bare bones assertions to support of the claim that they have operations in the U.S. or that the foreseeable harm to them in the U.S. was jurisdictionally significant,” Campbell wrote.

“Accordingly, the court finds that, even assuming that the operators of Porn.com intentionally acted in a manner targeting the U.S., plaintiffs have not sufficiently shown that foreseeable harm occurred to them in the forum.”

The dismissal marked a loss for Hydentra, the parent company of MetArt, which has brought copyright claims against website operators in courts around the U.S.

Val Gurvits, Porn.com’s attorney in the litigation, said in a statement today that the dismissal sent an important message.

“We always saw this case — and the others brought by [MetArt] — as being little more than copyright-trolling,” Gurvits said. “Porn.com respects intellectual property rights of others, and we were very confident that we would have prevailed on the merits of this claim, had it proceeded past this point, but we were also confident that there was no jurisdiction over Porn.com or any of the other defendants within the U.S. We were pleased that the court agreed with us on this point.

Gurvits went on to say that MetArt’s parent company “brings these cases in the U.S. simply because they believe they can bully the defendants into paying a settlement rather than defending the claims.”

“We don’t bully so easily,” Gurvits said.

In a statement made to XBIZ, MetArt co-owner Niko said that his company has taken a stand on piracy and will continue to do so. Niko also said that MetArt will be appealing Campbell’s ruling in the case.

“We will always aggressively enforce the theft of our content,” Niko said. “They argued jurisdiction and for the moment won the right to avoid the U.S. As a studio, we have to protect ourselves from pirates.

"We look forward to the appeal where we can actually address the claims. This case is not over.” 

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