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Warner Bros. Records Inc. v. Gullfoyle

March 14, 2007

WARNER BROS. RECORDS INC., A DELAWARE CORPORATION; CAPITOL RECORDS, A DELAWARE CORPORATION; SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT, A DELAWARE GENERAL PARTNERSHIP; ARISTA RECORDS LLC, A DELAWARE LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY; BMG MUSIC, A NEW YORK GENERAL PARTNERSHIP; UMG RECORDINGS, : INC., A DELAWARE CORPORATION; AND MOTOWN RECORD COMPANY, L.P., A CALIFORNIA LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
KEVIN GULLFOYLE, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wolfson, District Judge

OPINION

Presently before the Court is a motion by Plaintiffs, Warner Bros. Records, Inc., Capitol Records, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Arista Records LLC, BMG Music, UMG Recordings, Inc., and Motwon Record Company, L.P., for default judgment on their claims against Defendant, Kevin Gullfoyle, for failure to appear or otherwise respond to Plaintiffs' Complaint of March 1, 2006. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiffs' motion will be GRANTED.

I. Background

Plaintiffs, Warner Bros. Records, Inc., Capitol Records, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Arista Records LLC, BMG Music, UMG Recordings, Inc., and Motwon Record Company, L.P. are the "copyright owners or licensees of exclusive rights under United States copyright with respect to certain copyrighted sound recordings . . . ." Pl's Compl. at ¶13. Upon Plaintiffs' information, Defendant "is an individual residing in this District." Id. at ¶11.

On March 17, 2006, Plaintiffs commenced this suit against Defendant alleging that Defendant infringed on Plaintiffs' copyrights, including but not limited to the following sound recordings:

Copyright OwnerArtistRecording TitleAlbum TitleSR# Warner Bros. Records Inc.ZZ TopGot Me Under PressureEliminator45-132 Capitol Records, Inc.EverclearFather of MineSo Much for the Afterglow181-328 Sony BMG Music EntertainmentIncubusStellarMake Yourself278-818 Arista Records LLCAvril LavigneComplicatedLet Go312-786 BMG MusicTyreseSweet LadyTyrese237-788 UMG Recordings, Inc.LudacrisWhat's Your FantasyBack For the First289-433 Motown Record Company, L.P.98 DegreesI Do (Cherish You)98 Degrees & Rising237-315 UMG Recordings, Inc.Shania TwainFrom This Moment OnCome On Over243-502 UMG Recordings, Inc.Mary J. BligeI Can Love YouShare My World238-818

Pls' Compl. at Ex. A.

Defendant was served with a copy of the Summons and Complaint on April 10, 2006.

Pls' Request Default J. at 1. Defendant failed to plead or otherwise appear. Id. Thereafter, on May 10, 2006, Plaintiffs requested that the Clerk of the Court enter default pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a), and default was entered on January 24, 2007. Id. at 2; see also Pls' Appl. Default J. at ¶ 1. On February 1, 2007, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Default Judgment. Pls' Appl. Default J. at ¶ 12. The Motion was returnable on March 5, 2007. Id. As of today, Defendant has not responded to nor opposed this Motion.

II. Standard for Default Judgment

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55 governs the entry of default judgment. To obtain a default judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(2), a litigant must first obtain an entry of default from the clerk of the court pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a). Once this procedural hurdle has been met, it is within the discretion of this court whether to grant a motion for a default judgment. Chamberlain v. Giampapa, 210 F.3d 154, 164 (3d Cir. 2000). Moreover, when a defendant is in default, the Court treats all pleadings and allegations of the plaintiff as true. See Comdyne I, Inc. v. Corbin, 908 F.2d 1142, 1149 (3d Cir.1990). However, even after properly following the requirements of Rule 55, parties are not entitled to default judgment as of right and it is left to the "sound judicial discretion" of the Court. Hritz v. Woma Corp., 732 F.2d 1178, 1180 (3d Cir.1984). Furthermore, the preference is to dispose of cases on the merits whenever practicable. Id. at 1181 (citations omitted).

III. Discussion

Since April 2006, Defendant has failed to appear and defend Plaintiffs' claims against him. Pls' Request Default J. at 1. Moreover, on January 24, 2007, pursuant to an application by the Plaintiffs, an entry of default was made by the Clerk of the Court against the Defendant. Pls' Appl. Default J. at ¶ 1. Subsequently, on February 1, 2007, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Default Judgment. Id. at ¶ 12.

Plaintiffs bring this action against Defendant pursuant to the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq. Pls' Compl. at ¶ 1. The facts plead in the Complaint concerning Defendant's actions regarding his infringement of Plaintiffs' copyrights and exclusive rights are sufficient to state a cause of action thereunder. Id. ¶¶ 12-19. Specifically, Plaintiffs have plead: that Defendant, without the permission or consent of Plaintiffs has used, and continues to use, an online media distribution system to download the Copyrighted Recordings, to distribute the Copyrighted Recordings to the public, and/or to make the Copyrighted Recordings available for distribution to others. In doing so, Defendant has ...


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