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Gardner v. Cafepress Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. California

December 4, 2014

STEVEN M. GARDNER, an individual, Plaintiff,
v.
CAFEPRESS INC., a Delaware Corporation, et al., Defendants.

ORDER: (1) GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART CAFEPRESS'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON LIABILITY OR, ALTERNATIVELY, FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON DAMAGES; [ECF No. 96] (2) GRANTING CAFEPRESS'S MOTION TO STRIKE; [ECF No. 128] (3) VACATING HEARING DATE I. INTRODUCTION

GONZALO P. CURIEL, District Judge.

Before the Court is Defendant CafePress Inc.'s ("CafePress") Motion for Summary Judgment on Liability, or, Alternatively, for Partial Summary Judgment on Damages. (ECF No. 96.) Plaintiff Steven M. Gardner ("Gardner") opposes. (ECF No. 117.) CafePress replied to Gardner's opposition. (ECF No. 127.)

The parties have fully briefed the motion. (ECF Nos. 96, 117, 127.) The Court finds the motion suitable for disposition without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1(d)(1). For the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART CafePress's motion for summary judgment or partial summary judgment.

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On May 8, 2013, Gardner filed a complaint against CafePress alleging copyright infringement. (ECF No. 1.) On May 13, 2013, Gardner filed a first amended complaint. (ECF No. 3.) On October 14, 2014, Gardner filed a second amended complaint (the "SAC"). (ECF No. 112.)

On August 28, 2014, CafePress filed a motion for summary judgment, or alternatively partial summary judgment on damages. (ECF No. 96.) On October 24, 2014, Gardner filed an opposition to CafePress's motion. (ECF No. 117.) On November 7, 2014, CafePress filed a response to Gardner's opposition. (ECF No. 127.)

On November 7, 2014, Gardner filed objections to the Declaration of Lindsay Moore, (ECF No. 96-2). (ECF No. 129.) On November 8, 2014, CafePress filed a motion to strike three documents: (1) the declaration of Darren J. Quinn, (ECF No. 119); (2) Gardner's response to CafePress's statement of undisputed facts, (ECF No. 124); and (3) Gardner's objections to the declaration of Lindsay Moore, (ECF No. 125). (ECF No. 128.)

III. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

CafePress is an e-commerce vendor that operates http://www.cafepress.com. (ECF No. 96-2 ¶ 3.) CafePress allows users to upload images of artwork, slogans, and designs for printing on items such as shirts, bags, and mugs. ( Id. ¶ 5.) These images are uploaded at the direction of CafePress users and are stored on CafePress's servers through its website. ( Id. ¶¶ 3, 8.) CafePress provides its users services including "online service, printing, shipping and related services." ( Id. ¶ 38.) CafePress users can also offer the uploaded images for sale to third parties who then select one of CafePress's unbranded items on which to print the image. ( Id. ¶ 5.) These items or images are sold through either: (1) a user's "virtual shop" on CafePress's website, (2) the CafePress Marketplace on CafePress's website, or (3) a CafePress "feed" on a third party website such as http://www.amazon.com or http://www.ebay.com. ( Id. ¶ 16.) Once a customer purchases an item bearing a CafePress user's uploaded image, CafePress's employees then "hand print[]" the item. (ECF No. 119 ¶ 14; ECF No. 119-14.)

Gardner is the holder of U.S. copyright registrations in four works at issue in this case: (1) "Alaska Wildlife"; (2) "Polar Bears 10 Hidden Bears"; (3) "Find 12 Tigers"; and (4) "Harmony of Wolves." (ECF Nos. 118-1, 118-2, 118-3, 118-4, Exs. A-D.) Several CafePress users, including Beverly Teall, Lakin Southall, and PrideAndMore, uploaded copies of Gardner's works to CafePress's service. (ECF No. 119 ¶ 2.) These CafePress users then sold items bearing copies of Gardner's works through CafePress's service on http://www.cafepress.com and other websites. (ECF No. 119 ¶ 3.) CafePress generated approximately $6, 000[1] in revenue from these allegedly infringing sales. (ECF No. 96-2 ¶¶ 38, 42, 43.)

CafePress also purchased advertisements which display copies of Gardner's works. ( See, e.g., ECF Nos. 118-7, 118-8, 118-9, 118-10, 118-11, 118-12, Exs. G-L) CafePress generated revenue from users who clicked on these advertisements. (ECF No. 121, Ex. 4.)

IV. LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 empowers the Court to enter summary judgment on factually unsupported claims or defenses, and thereby "secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325, 327 (1986); FED. R. CIV. P. 56. Summary judgment is appropriate if the "pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). A fact is material when it affects the outcome of the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of any genuine issues of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. The moving party can satisfy this burden by demonstrating that the nonmoving party failed to make a showing sufficient to establish an element of his or her claim on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Id. at 322-23. If the moving party fails to bear the initial burden, summary judgment must be denied and ...


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