USDC D. Massachusetts, December 7, 2009

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  • Court grants plaintiff record companies’ request for a permanent injunction barring defendant from downloading unauthorized copies of plaintiffs’ copyrighted works and requiring defendant to destroy all such files, but court denies plaintiffs’ request for a permanent injunction barring defendant from “promoting” use of the internet to infringe copyrights, on First Amendment grounds.

In a separate memorandum handed down on the same date, the court granted the plaintiffs’ request for a permanent injunction barring the defendant from infringing on plaintiffs’ copyrights now and in the future and requiring the defendant to destroy all copies of plaintiffs’ recordings that defendant has downloaded without plaintiffs’ authorization. However, the court denied the plaintiffs’ request for a permanent injunction barring the defendant from promoting or advertising using the internet or any online media distribution system to infringe copyrights on First Amendment grounds. According to the court, it must refrain from issuing an injunction that imposes an unconstitutional prior restraint on defendant’s right to free speech. “Although plaintiffs are entitled to statutory damages, they have no right to silence defendant’s criticism of the statutory regime under which he is obligated to pay those damages.”