Jury Finds in Favor of Publisher in Online Custom Mug Copyright Infringement Case, but Awards Only a Fraction of the Maximum Statutory Damages Sought

| Mark KachnerDaniel P. Hughes

Editors: John Sganga, Joseph Cianfrani and Boris Zelkind

Judgments and Awards

On August 11, 2017, a Los Angeles jury found that Zazzle, Inc (“Zazzle”) owed Greg Young Publishing Inc. (“GYP”) $460,000 for copyright infringement—a fraction of the maximum statutory damages GYP could have received.  Zazzle provides customized gifts to customers by allowing users to upload images for printing on blank mugs, canvases, shirts and other items.  GYP accused Zazzle of allowing customers to print its copyrighted works for gift customization and requested statutory damages of $5.7 million—the maximum $150,000 dollars statutory amount for each infringed copyrighted work.  In its defense, Zazzle argued that it reviewed 20,000 images a day to prevent infringement and had removed many of GYP’s copyrighted works before they were ever sold.  After a year of litigation, the jury awarded GYP $460,000 in statutory damages, ranging from $200 to $66,800 for each infringed work.

This case is Greg Young Publishing, Inc., v. Zazzle Inc., Case No. 2:16-cv-04587