Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Mr Video to pay punitive damages for copyright infringement

The Mr Video movie rental franchise – which had been interdicted and restrained from renting out films not acquired through Nu Metro earlier this month – was ordered in the Cape High Court this week to hand over the DVDs to Nu Metro and the copyright holders according to Die Burger. This report follows an earlier posting by Afro-Ip here. The group and 22 of its franchisees in the Western Cape were also ordered to pay the costs and punitive damages (ie a high award or so-called additional damages) of the application lodged against it by Nu Metro, the exclusive licensee of the movies, and the four copyright holders. Nu Metro had succesfully claimed that the group had been lending out zone 1 DVDs only intended for the North American and that the conduct of Mr Video constituted infringement under Section 23(1) of the Copyright Act 98 of 1978 read with Section 8(1)(g) of the Act which provides that hiring out a film is the exclusive right of a copyright owner. The case is interesting because it finds copyright infringement in respect of parallel imports and Afro-IP would be grateful for a copy of the decision to be sent here. For more information see allAfrica report here.

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