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Ackourey v. Raja Fashions Bespoke Tailors

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

September 11, 2014

RICHARD C. ACKOUREY, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
RAJA FASHIONS BESPOKE TAILORS, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

ANITA B. BRODY, District Judge.

Plaintiff Richard C. Ackourey, Jr. brings suit against Defendants Raja Bespoke Tailors and Raja Daswani, asserting claims of copyright infringement in violation of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 501, et seq. On March 5, 2014, the Clerk of Court entered default against Defendants for their failure to respond to the Complaint. Following entry of default, Ackourey filed a motion for entry of default judgment. On September 10, 2014, the Court conducted a hearing on Ackourey's motion. For the reasons set forth below, I will grant Ackourey's motion for default judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Richard Ackourey is the sole member and owner of Graphic Styles/Styles International LLC ("Graphic Styles"). In 2005, Ackourey prepared, published, and distributed the Graphic Styles International Stylebook, Best of Seasons through Spring and Summer 2005 ("2005 Stylebook). In 2006, Ackourey prepared, published, and distributed the Graphic Styles International Stylebook, Best of Seasons 2006 ("2006 Stylebook"). The 2005 Stylebook and 2006 Stylebook ("Stylebooks") contain hundreds of images of drawings of men's and women's fashion clothing styles. Ackourey owns the compilation copyrights to both Stylebooks.

The following statement appears on the first page of both Stylebooks: "The images found in the Styles International Stylebook may not be reproduced in any form or by any means - graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying or information storage and retrieval systems - without the expressed written consent and permission of the copyright holder." Compl. ¶ 27. The first page of the 2006 Stylebook also contains the message: "I encourage you to use this book to enhance your business, however, please do it legally.... Any unlawful use or violation of the copyright laws for these illustrations will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." Id. at ¶ 28. The margin of each page in the Stylebooks also contains the following copyright notice, "© Copyright, Graphic Fashions Inc. Phila., PA."

Ackourey sells copies of the Stylebooks to tailors and tailored clothing businesses. He also uses images in his Stylebooks to make custom books for clients. Additionally, he sells licenses for the use of the images in the Stylebooks. His licensing fee for one year of use is $1, 850.00 for an illustration and $2, 500 for a cover illustration. Renewal fees for each additional year of use are set at $600 for an illustration and $825 for a cover illustration.

Defendant Raja Fashions Bespoke Tailors ("Raja Fashions") is a business located in Hong Kong that sells custom tailored clothing for women and men. Raja Fashions has made suits for individuals including, David Beckham and Prince Charles. Raja Fashions employs between 400 to 500 tailors, and makes over 50, 000 suits a year. Defendant Raja Daswani is the owner of Raja Fashions.

Beginning on April 25, 2013, Defendants placed on their website, Raja-Fashions.com, approximately 85 images that were copied from Ackourey's Stylebooks. Defendants did not obtain permission to use these images from Ackourey, nor did they attribute the images as belonging to Ackourey. Instead, they passed the images off as their own and placed the following notice, "© 2011 Raja Fashions, " on each separate webpage containing images copied from the Stylebooks. In June 2014, Raja Fashions ceased using any of Ackourey's copyrighted images.

Ackourey alleges that Defendants are liable for copyright infringement. Ackourey requests entry of default judgment in the amount of $300, 000 in statutory damages, $9, 485 in attorney's fees, and $373.60 in costs.[1]

II. LEGAL STANDARD FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT

"It is well settled in this Circuit that the entry of a default judgment is left primarily to the discretion of the district court." Hritz v. Woma Corp., 732 F.2d 1178, 1180 (3d Cir. 1984). "Three factors control whether a default judgment should be granted: (1) prejudice to the plaintiff if default is denied, (2) whether the defendant appears to have a litigable defense, and (3) whether defendant's delay is due to culpable conduct." Chamberlain v. Giampapa, 210 F.3d 154, 164 (3d Cir. 2000).

"A consequence of the entry of a default judgment is that the factual allegations of the complaint, except those relating to the amount of damages, will be taken as true." Comdyne I, Inc. v. Corbin, 908 F.2d 1142, 1149 (3d Cir. 1990) (internal quotation marks omitted). "While these well-pleaded allegations are admitted and accepted, the Court need not accept the moving party's legal conclusions or factual allegations relating to the amount of damages. A party's default does not suggest that the party has admitted the amount of damages that the moving party seeks." E. Elec. Corp. of New Jersey v. Shoemaker Const. Co., 652 F.Supp.2d 599, 605 (E.D. Pa. 2009) (citations omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted). Indeed, "a party entitled to judgment by default is required to prove the amount of damages that should be awarded." Oberstar v. F.D.I.C., 987 F.2d 494, 505 n.9 (8th Cir. 1993) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2)).

III. DEFAULT JUDGMENT

Entry of default judgment is appropriate in this case because Defendants' failure to respond prejudices Ackourey by preventing him from establishing liability by any other means, signifies the absence of any litigable defense, and indicates culpable conduct. Teri Woods Publishing, L.L.C. v. Williams, No. 12-4854, 2013 WL 6179182, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 25, 2013); Bibbs ...


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