Amazon, Publishers and Authors Move for Default Judgment in Copyright Case

The plaintiffs have asked the Seattle, Washington court for an entry of judgment of $7.8 million and a permanent injunction against Kiss Library, Rodion Vynnychenko, and Artem Besshapochny, for their alleged international piracy ring that distributed large volumes of copyright-protected books. Plaintiffs Amazon Content Services LLC and Penguin Random House LLC, alongside several authors including Lee Child, R.L. Stine, and Monique Turong, allege that since the filing of the suit, the defendants have only doubled-down on their efforts to evade responsibility, forcing the plaintiffs’ hand.

Monday’s motion explains that after the plaintiffs filed the copyright infringement lawsuit, the Ukrainian-based defendants failed to answer the complaint or appear before the court. Worse yet, the filing avers, the defendants “turned to spoliation, quickly submitting data deletion requests to the payment processors and email providers that they used to operate their piracy scheme.”

In their complaint, the plaintiffs allege that they own copyrights in at least fifty-two works that the defendants unlawfully distributed on pirate websites, reaping ill-gotten proceeds from the unauthorized sales. The defendants reportedly employed myriad techniques to evade detection, including mirror websites and fake aliases and contact information. Consequently, the plaintiffs allege that they suffered economic losses and non-economic harms “in the form of lost customers, goodwill and reputation, investigative resources, and disruption to distribution licenses.”

In September, the clerk of the court entered an order of default against the defendants. Now, the plaintiffs argue that the defendants’ “egregious, unrepentant, and willful” infringement of  best-selling literature has been admitted by their default and established through substantial evidence. The complainants assert that they meet the multi-part entry of default judgment test, including that the defendants’ failure to appear is inexcusable and that their knowing failure to defend outweighs the preference for adjudication on the merits.

The plaintiffs also argue that they are entitled to willful statutory damages. The defendants have not only admitted to the complaint’s allegations but have also “purposefully disguised their illicit operation to potential customers and visitors,” the motion says. It specifies that the defendants did so by dishonestly claiming that their distribution was through legitimate partnerships with authors and publishers, stating that they have a Digital Millennium Copyright Act-compliant copyright agent, and promising to respond to customer service inquiries, among other deceitful acts.

The plaintiffs are represented by Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.