March 2, 2016

Law360 features Jessica Grant's arguments in precedent-setting copyright infringement trial

2 min

In a March 2, 2016 article, Law360 featured arguments from Venable partner Jessica Grant in the first major copyright trial of the viral-video era. Representing Jukin Media, Grant, along with partner Tamany Bentz and associate Melissa McLaughlin, argued that Equals Three willfully infringed and that they turned down licensing opportunities.

During closing arguments, Grant said just because a video is funny does not make it a parody protected by fair use. "Sexually charged or lewd jokes or offensive comment about a person's race or how skinny or not skinny they are — I don't think that advances the public interest," Grant told the jury. She also argued that Equals Three's posts of Jukin's videos were not "transformative" works or presented to add a new meaning or message. Grant added that Equals Three was exploiting Jukin's video's for their own profit further tipping "the balance against fair use." She continued, "Adding a character that makes funny jokes, that's not taking something and making it totally different."

Grant also noted that Jukin takes the time to find the owners of the video they parody and secure a licensing agreement, adding Equals Three "doesn't do any of that." As a result, according to Grant, "Jukin loses revenue on each video that Equals Three poaches for its own channel without payment or credit to Jukin."

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