June 15, 2010

Attorneys' Fees Denied In Recording Software Case

Waves Audio Ltd v. Reckless Music LLC, 09 Civ 2282, 6/15/10 NYLJ "Decision of Interest" (S.D.N.Y. June 9, 2010).

This is a copyright infringement action concerning audio software designed for use in recording studios. Following a jury trial, the defendant, Reckless Music, LLC, doing business as Skyline Recording Studio ("Skyline"), was found liable for infringing two versions of copyrighted software created by the plaintiffs, Waves Audio, Ltd., and Waves, Inc. (collectively "Waves"). Waves moved for an award of attorneys' fees and costs pursuant to the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. §505.

The motion was denied because defenses asserted were not "unreasonable." The remaining factors also favored Skyline or are neutral. There was no suggestion that Skyline's conduct either prior to or in the course of litigation was frivolous or improperly motivated. The goals of compensation and deterrence were fully satisfied by the statutory damage award assessed by the jury. And, finally, the financial strength of the parties counseled against an award of fees. Skyline appeared to be a relatively modest one-man operation, while Waves seemed fully capable of bearing its own costs.