Warner Bros Home Entertainment filed 16 separate copyright infringement lawsuits (read two of them here and here) this week against vendors who sell “counterfeit product” DVDs on Amazon Marketplace. From the Harry Potter movies to TV series like The Wire, The Sorpranos, Game of Thrones, One Tree Hill, and Hung, the company alleges “the Defendants have distributed, advertised and/or sold and continue to copy, reproduce, distribute, advertise and/or sell unauthorized copies of motion pictures owned by Warner Bros.” Amazon is not listed as a defendant in any of the nearly identical actions.
“Warner Bros is informed and believes and based thereon alleges that this infringement activity is systematic and willful and done with reckless disregard of Warner Bros’ intellectual property rights,” says one of the suits. A studio insider tells Deadline: “We were able to purchase multiple counterfeit copies of our material from all of [the sellers targeted in the suits]”. Warner Bros wants the court to stop all such sales and the marketing of them. It also wants “the Defendants to pay actual damages increased to the maximum extent permitted by the law and/or statutory damages at Warner Bros’ election”, and legal costs paid by the sellers.
The sellers use Amazon’s Marketplace service, which allows independents and third parties to offer products from used books to bike to clothes to DVDs for sale, almost always at discounted prices. An estimated 2 million Amazon independent retailers use the system, Warner Bros says in the suits. Each of the suits asks for a jury trial on the matter. Warner Bros is represented by Glendale attorneys J. Andrew Coombs and Nicole Drey.