Court verdict: Tuzov to pay 265,000 rubles to PenzaNews for photo copyright infringement
Penza, 15 June 2016. PenzaNews. The individual businessman Alexander Tuzov is to pay a compensation of 265,000 rubles to “VolgaInterMedia” for illegal use of PenzaNews copyrighted photos, in accordance with the verdict of the Penza region Arbitration Court that has been announced by judge Svetlana Novikova during the case session on Wednesday, June 15.
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Before the verdict, both the defendant and the complainant again stated their opinions on the case, with no significantly new facts.
In particular, the representative of the complainant, PenzaNews editor-in-chief Pavel Polosin reminded that the court was provided all necessary evidence which confirms that “VolgaInterMedia” holds the copyright for the photos and the defendant breached the copyright in question.
In turn, Alexander Tuzov undertook another attempt to convince the court that he is innocent, claiming that the photos and the texts, published on the website of the online news source where he acts as the founder and editor-in-chief, were submitted by users rather than him.
One of the questions asked by judge Svetlana Novikova to the defendant was related to the original authors of the article. In his reply, Alexander Tuzov once again began describing a “pool of analysts” that “do not want to state themselves” and even “exist outside of Penza.”
After he was asked to list the exact names of the people who cooperate with the news source, the defendant said: “I don’t know.”
“You know, the texts of certain articles… There is a feeling that nearly everything was written by one and the same person,” the judge remarked.
Alexander Tuzov declined to participate in the debates, claiming that he already expressed his opinion.
In turn, the representative of the defendant Pavel Stukalov reminded that the participants of the case process sought to find answers to a number of questions.
“Does ‘VolgaInterMedia’ hold the copyright for the photos in question? Where the photos in question published on the website that belongs to Mr. Tuzov? Did the publication of photos in question on Mr. Tuzov’s website constitute a copyright breach against ‘VolgaInterMedia’? Should Mr. Tuzov be held responsible for the copyright breach against ‘VolgaInterMedia’? I believe that the case sessions allowed us to answer in affirmative to each of these questions,” the said, following the statement with arguments on each point.
The resolution part of the verdict was announced by judge Svetlana Novikova several minutes before the end of the work hours.
“As per Art. 110, 16-170 of the Arbitration Code, the [Penza region] Arbitration Court partially satisfies the claims by ‘VolgaInterMedia.’ The state duty expenses will be placed on defendant in accordance with the paid compensation. The individual businessman Alexander Tuzov will pay a fine of 265,000 [rubles], as well as the state duty expenses of 6,800 rubles, in favor of ‘VolgaInterMedia.’ The remaining amount of requested compensation is dismissed. ‘VolgaInterMedia’ will receive back its state duty of 24,400 rubles, as paid by the payment document No. 58 of 7 December 2015, from the federal budget,” she said.
The full text of the verdict will be available within five days, Svetlana Novikova clarified.
“The parties may appeal the verdict within one month after it is received by the 11th Arbitration Appeal Court in Samara through the Penza region Arbitration Court. The meeting is closed,” the judge said at 17.54.
Alexander Tuzov immediately left the court hall afterwards.
The Alexander Tuzov’s case was reviewed in the Penza region Arbitration Court for a total of 5 months and two days.
In a comment on the verdict and the potential appeal (since the requested claim was halved in the verdict), the PenzaNews editor-in-chief announced that all actions should be taken after the argumentation behind the verdict becomes available.
“As we all recall, the court frequently recommended the parties – and, lately, the defendant in particular – to achieve a consensus before the verdict. However, Tuzov failed to propose anything sensible, likely thinking that the court will decide in his favor and he will be able to pay off with just several thousand rubles. By the end, the complainant took an unprecedented decision to decrease the requested claim amount to the minimum of 530,000 rubles, or 10,000 rubles for each fact of illegal use of photos. The court found it acceptable to bring the sum down even further. I hope that we will be able to learn the arguments behind this decision in the rest of the verdict,” he said.
In addition, Pavel Polosin expressed his opinion that the court chose to be simply sympathetic towards Tuzov.
“During the last few court sessions, Tuzov was constantly bawling – which is the most suitable description – that he is a military pensioner with limited income, that the banners on his website are just ‘make-believe’ and bring no money, that the verdict will be a heavy burden on his family, and so on and so forth. He was constantly pleading for sympathy, even though he has a cottage in a luxury area of the Akhuny residential area and a crossover car. In any case, Tuzov has lost – the court found that he committed a copyright breach, and that illegal use of photos can be punished, which is the most important. In addition, it is a big hit to Tuzov’s ego,” the PenzaNews editor-in-chief concluded.