Skip to main content

SBS Wins Attorneys Fees in Copyright Fight

(Image credit: SBS)

Calling it a blow against copyright trolls, the attorneys for Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) are celebrating a recent court decision.

The U.S. Court for the Southern District of New York has granted SBS $845,040.95 (SBS had asked for $1 million) for the fees it spent on those attorneys to win a copyright infringement suit, saying the original suit was unreasonable and frivolous and filed in bad faith. It awarded both district court and appellate court fees. The court said the plaintiffs appeared to "roll the dice on costly litigation without evidence."

The court had ruled in SBS' favor in May 2017--the case had been going on for years prior to that--but the decision was appealed, so SBS had to spend more money to defend that appeal, which it did successfully. James Sammataro, co-head of Pryor Cashman’s Media+Entertainment practice, represented Spanish Broadcasting System.

It then asked the court to make the plaintiffs pay their attorney fees.

The court has done so, in the hopes that it will help "deter Plaintiffs from bringing meritless infringement cases in the future." It did balk at covering the $1,000 per hour fee of one attorney, however, capping it at $750 per hour.

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.