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Analysis of Litigation Between Dan Black and Columbia Pictures

The case under analysis is a complex one as far as the causes for action, the parties, and the jurisdictions of the litigation might be different depending on the laws and their interpretation by court in a certain way. On the one hand, the parties involved in the litigation are the file sharing platform and Columbia Pictures. On the other hand, the platform is not liable for the content that its users place on it, and the parties will change to the student, Dan Black, and Columbia Pictures again. The causes for action as well as the forms of relief involved are also different and controversial.

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On the whole, to start the litigation a party should file a lawsuit against another party, or parties, and have valid causes of action, the parties, and the proper jurisdiction. The litigation involves pleadings, discovery, motions, and trial phases, and the traditional causes for action include intellectual property concerns, intellectual property licensing concerns, and torts. In the case under analysis, the intellectual property is the likely cause of action because the dispute concerns the intellectual property on the whole and the copyright infringement in particular. Columbia Pictures owns the copyright for the film under analysis and either the file sharing platform and/or the student have infringed this copyright.

Concerning the parties to the litigation, it is more difficult to identify them. Traditionally, corporate and individual defendants are singled out among the litigation parties based on the Respondeat Superior rule according to which corporate defendants are held responsible for the actions of their members within the limits of the corporate responsibility delivered to these members. In the case under analysis, the University of South Florida cannot be held responsible for Dan Black’s actions as distributing the video files is not under the University control and cannot be included into its responsibilities. Retspan.com cannot be responsible either as even despite the fact that Black is its member, Retspan.com is not liable for the content its members share via its network. Therefore, the parties to the litigation are likely to be the student, Dan Black, and Columbia Pictures. However, based on Vicarious Liability, Retspan.com can also be held responsible as it could supervise Black’s activities and had direct financial interest in covering them as sharing files through Retspan.com involves fees paid by the customers. Accordingly, there could be either two separate litigations against Black and Retspan.com as well as a single litigation against Retspan.com and Black as its member.

Moreover, the litigation jurisdiction is also difficult as it is impossible to define the location of the materials that infringed the copyright law and where this infringement took place as it was the Internet resource headquartered in Washington. Accordingly, it is possible only to define that the state court should be the authority for the litigation and that the place of litigation, according to Fla. Stat. §47.011 should be the state and the city where the defendants reside. So, if the litigation involves only the student, it should take place in the Florida state court, while the litigation with Retspan.com might also take place in the Washington state court.

Finally, only the monetary relief form applies to the case because the copyright owner, i. e. Columbia Pictures, suffered financial losses from the copyright infringement, while Retspan.com and Dan Black benefited from the illegal film distribution. As well, the copyright is always about the right to dispose of the objects with the potential monetary value, and infringements of copyrights also involve monetary relief.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Analysis of Litigation Between Dan Black and Columbia Pictures'. 20 March.

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