NEW YORK—Ventura Content, the copyright-holding company for adult content producer Pink Visual and the TopBucks network, has filed a multimillion-dollar copyright infringement lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Mansef, Inc., a Canadian-based company also know as Mansef Productions, and 6721851 Canada Inc.
The complaint alleges that the defendants own and operate four tube sites—www.keezmovies.com, www.extremetube.com, www.pornhub.com and www.tubeb.com—and that by means of those sites they have willfully engaged in direct and contributory copyright infringement as well as inducement of copyright infringement.
In a statement released Tuesday by Ventura, the company further claims that the four websites have reproduced, displayed, performed and distributed Ventura Content’s copyrighted material tens of millions of times.
“Using the leverage of the Internet, defendants and others like them appropriate the value of … adult video content on a massive scale for their own benefit by operating websites known as ‘Tube Sites’ that allow users to view and download a vast library of infringing adult video content for free,” Ventura said in its complaint. “Like other notorious infringing services before them such as Napster, Grokster and Kazaa, the emergence of these Tube Sites operated by defendants and others threatens not just Ventura, but the entire adult entertainment industry.”
Ventura is represented in the case by the law firm Jenner and Block LLP, the same firm that represented copyright owners in successful actions against Grokster, Torrentspy and Usenet.com, among others.
“We are extremely confident in the legal theory and supporting arguments that have been constructed by our legal team, and we believe our case is very strong,” said Ventura President Allison Vivas.
Ventura is seeking statutory and actual damages, compensation for its costs in bringing the action and injunctive relief. At a minimum, plaintiffs allege that monetary damages would work out to $150,000 per each infringed work. An exhibit attached to the complaint contains 45 specific instances of infringement, which works out to damages in the range of $6.750,000, but the statement issued by Ventura Tuesday also indicates an intractable position with respect to the call for injunctive relief.
Indeed, Vivas, in stating that Ventura "fully intends to see the case through to its conclusion in order to protect its content from being infringed by the defendants’ tube sites," strongly implies that the company will settle for nothing less than "injunctive relief that requires the defendants to 'cease directly or indirectly infringing, or causing, enabling, facilitating, encouraging, and inducing or participating in the infringement of any of Ventura’s respective copyrights or exclusive rights protected by the Copyright Act, whether now in existence or hereafter created.'"
The lawsuit comes shortly after the seizure by the U.S. government of over $6 million from bank accounts operated by Mansef, Inc. subsidiary, Premium Services, LLC.
Calls for comment to the Mansef offices were not returned by post time.
AVN legal columnist Clyde DeWitt provided the following comments after reviewing the complaint.
"The defendants here obviously will claim DMCA immunity," he said. "However, I note that the complaint alleges what I have suspected all along, which is that the tube sites are uploading the content themselves. If Pink Visual can prove that, it should be the demise of all of the defendant tubes.
"Assuming that the defendants assert a DMCA defense, which they certainly will," he continued, "the plaintiffs will have an opportunity to discover the extent, if any, that these tube sites comply with DMCA takedown requests. The result of that certainly will be interesting. DMCA requires that, in order for the immunity to apply, the site must take down infringing items within a reasonable time of receiving the notice; and, more significantly, they must have in place a system of dealing with repeat offenders. It does not appear that the tubes do the latter, although you can’t be sure as an outsider looking in."
The complaint can be read here.