United States District Court, D. Arizona
DOUGLAS L. RAYES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
LHF Productions has moved for default judgment against
Defendants Katrina Holt and Jovanni Tamayo pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b). (Docs. 34-35.) No
response has been filed and the time for filing one has
passed. For reasons stated below, default judgment is
owns the copyright to the 2016 action thriller “London
Has Fallen.” LHF alleges that Defendants unlawfully
copied and distributed the movie using a network called a
“BitTorrent protocol, ” where users can turn
media into digital files and transfer them to their computers
and share them with others online. LHF brought a copyright
infringement suit against the then-unknown defendants in
April 2016. The amended complaint filed six months later
identifies Defendants by name and asserts claims for direct
and contributory copyright infringement. LHF seeks injunctive
relief, actual or statutory damages, and an award of
attorneys' fees and costs.
served process on Holt and Tamayo on October 30, 2016. After
Holt and Tamayo failed to answer, LHF filed applications for
default judgment, which the Clerk entered on December 19,
2016. LHF filed the present motions on January 11, 2017.
default is entered by the clerk, the district court may enter
default judgment pursuant to Rule 55(b). The court's
“decision whether to enter a default judgment is a
discretionary one.” Aldabe v. Aldabe, 616 F.2d
1089, 1092 (9th Cir. 1980). Although the court should
consider and weigh relevant factors as part of the
decision-making process, it “is not required to make
detailed findings of fact.” Fair Housing of Marin
v. Combs, 285 F.3d 899, 906 (9th Cir. 2002).
following factors may be considered in deciding whether
default judgment is appropriate: (1) the possibility of
prejudice to the plaintiff, (2) the merits of the claims, (3)
the sufficiency of the complaint, (4) the amount of money at
stake, (5) the possibility of factual disputes, (6) whether
default is due to excusable neglect, and (7) the policy
favoring decisions on the merits. See Eitel v.
McCool, 782 F.2d 1470, 1471-72 (9th Cir. 1986). In
considering the merits and sufficiency of the complaint, the
court accepts as true the complaint's well-pled factual
allegations, but the plaintiff must establish all damages
sought in the complaint. See Geddes v. United Fin.
Group, 559 F.2d 557, 560 (9th Cir. 1977).
Possible Prejudice to Plaintiff
first Eitel factor weighs in favor of default
judgment. Holt and Tamayo failed to respond to the complaint
or otherwise appear in this action despite being served with
the complaint, the application for default, and the motion
for default judgment. If default judgment is not granted, LHF
“will likely be without other recourse for
recovery.” PepsiCo, Inc. v. Cal. Sec. Cans,
238 F.Supp.2d 1172, 1177 (C.D. Cal. 2002). The prejudice to
LHF in this regard supports the entry of default judgment.
Merits of the Claims and Sufficiency of the
second and third Eitel factors favor default
judgment where, as in this case, the complaint sufficiently
states a plausible claim for relief under the pleading
standards of Rule 8. See Id. at 1175; Danning v.
Lavine, 572 F.2d 1386, 1388-89 (9th Cir. 1978). A review
of the complaint's well-pled allegations shows that LHF
has stated a plausible claim for relief against Holt and
the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 106, the owner of a
copyright has exclusive rights to reproduce, display, and
distribute the copyrighted work. Infringement occurs when a
person violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright
owner as provided by [§] 106.” 17 U.S.C. §
501(a). To state valid copyright infringement claims,
plaintiffs must allege two elements: “(1) they must
show ownership of the allegedly infringed material and (2)
they must demonstrate that the alleged infringers violate at
least one exclusive right granted to copyright holders under
17 U.S.C. § 106.” LGS Architects, Inc. v.
Concordia Homes of Nev., 434 F.3d 1150, 1156 (9th Cir.
alleges in the amended complaint that it owns the copyright
for the movie London Has Fallen and attaches a valid
certificate of copyright registration. “Registration is
prima facie evidence of the validity of a copyright.”
Three Boys Music Corp. v. Bolton, 212 F.3d 477,
488-89 (9th Cir. 2000) (citing 17 U.S.C. § 410(c)). LHF
further alleges that Holt and Tamayo downloaded an
unauthorized copy of the movie on the internet using
BitTorrent. LHF ...