Hawaii Court Recommends Denial of Motion Against YTS Apps

By Bill Toulas / October 10, 2020

Hawaii District Court Magistrate Judge has recommended the sparing of YTS-branded apps and websites targeted by ‘42 Ventures LLC’, and which were threatened with a default judgment of $250,000. The particular company is operating under the ownership of intellectual property attorney Kerry S. Culpepper, who has specifically created it to trademark pirate brands like “YTS” and “Popcorn Time” and use it as a vehicle to introduce legal trouble for copyright infringers on a new space.

Since ’42 Ventures’ holds the rights to the YTS trademark, they had the right to file an infringement lawsuit against the operators of yts.lt, ytsag.me, yts.ae, ytsmovies.cc, yts.ms, and also the developers and owners of the “Y Movies,” “YTS Movies Library,” and “YTS movies” apps. The defendants are based in various places in the world, and none of them bothered to appear in court and defend themselves. Thus, the next step in the process would be the ask a default judgment, which is where things got stuck.

Magistrate Judge Wes Reber Porter believes that the court lacks jurisdiction to approve the motion for default judgment because there isn’t any compelling evidence that the apps mentioned above and websites directed their activities towards the United States. Since the defendants are in China, India, and Egypt, additional proof of them doing business with Americans needs to be provided.

Culpepper is an experienced expert in the field, so he wouldn’t initiate a legal motion that’s baseless. He did prove that the specific YTS sites and apps were available in the United States, and their owners even contracted domain registrars and payment providers who are US-based companies. Thus, there’s a definitive business link there, but not one that would convince Judge Porter at an adequate level.

The reasoning of the Judge was that utilizing Apple and Google app stores is inevitable for any app developer since the two have a monopoly in software distribution. Thus, accepting that this constitutes an element that guarantees jurisdiction would be like saying that anyone with a Gmail account would be subject to US court jurisdiction.

Of course, the recommendation for the case’s dismissal will have to be reviewed by the court, and while things haven’t gone the way K. Culpepper would have wanted, nothing is certain yet. We expect the lawyer to continue to apply pressure to pirate domains and apps, as this is the operational model of ’42 Ventures.’

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