Lex Machina issued a report last Tuesday that analyzes copyright litigation trends over the last five years. The report is impressive for the level of detail in the statistical analysis and charts presented in the 37 page document. The report is designed to highlight legal analytics in copyright litigation. The target audience appears to be plaintiffs with a heavy interest in protecting their media assets, firms that are considering taking on copyright cases, and those with an interest in the mechanics of copyright litigation. As the report indicates, it is the first survey of its kind. I’ve followed file sharing and other IP cases which I have reported on in this forum from time to time. I found the report interesting for its snapshot of how litigation progresses through the courts.
Highlights from the press release include:
- Top plaintiffs include music (Broadcast Music, Sony/ATV Songs, Songs of Universal, UMG Records, EMI, and more), software (Microsoft), fashion (Coach), and textile patterns (Star Fabrics) industries.
- Top defendants include retailers (Ross Stores, TJX (TJ Maxx), Amazon, Burlington Coat Factory, Rainbow USA, J.C. Penny, Sears, Forever 21, Wal-mart, and Nordstroms), music labels (Universal Music, Sony Music Entertainment, UMG Recordings), & publishing / education, (Pearson Education and John Wiley and Sons).
- Doniger Burroughs, a California fashion, art, and entertainment boutique leads among plaintiffs firms with 741 cases, more than double the next firm.
- Copyright litigation is heavily concentrated in the Central District of California (2,496 cases, 26.2% of all since 2009) and the Southern District of New York (1,061 cases, 11.1%).
- Fair use is usually decided on summary judgment.
- The majority of infringement findings happen as a result of default, and almost all default findings are for infringement.
- Top parties winning damages include companies in movies and entertainment (Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, Universal, Paramount Pictures, and more), software (Quantlab, Foundry Networks), and music (UMG Recording).
- In file sharing cases, about 90% of cases settle. Top plaintiffs include movie production companies. And an erotic website leads the list of Internet file-sharing plaintiffs with 4,238 cases – about 15 times as many cases as the next most litigious plaintiff.
The report registration and download link is here.