The plaintiff in a copyright infringement action has the option to choose to receive statutory damages rather than to establish its actual quantum of damages it has suffered. Statutory damages range from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $20,000 for the infringements related to a given work. A plaintiff might choose statutory damages when the amount of its loss is difficult to quantify, particularly when works are downloaded in large quantities from the internet. The Canadian Copyright Act provides for various remedies for copyright infringement, including statutory damages as an alternative to compensatory damages and/or profits.
CarGurus is the second largest digital marketplace provider for new and used vehicles in the United States. In 2015, it entered the Canadian market and became a direct competitor of the Canadian company, Trader Corporation, which operates “digital marketplaces” for new and used vehicles in Canada through its websites “autotrader.ca” and “autohebdo.net” and related mobile applications.
In this litigation (Trader v. CarGurus, 2017 ONSC1841 dated April, 2017), Trader alleged that CarGurus infringed Trader’s copyright in 196,740 photos taken pursuant to its Capture Service. Trader sought a declaration of copyright infringement and a permanent injunction restraining CarGurus from using Trader’s photos. Trader also claimed statutory damages under the Copyright Act in the amount of $98,370,000 ($500 per infringing photo) and punitive damages of $1 million. Continue Reading