Can Korean Copyright Owners Sue Australian Defendants in California? Judges Disagree–DFSB Kollective v. Bourne

30 06 2012

By Eric Goldman

DFSB Kollective Co. Ltd. v. Bourne, 2012 WL 2376209 (N.D. Cal. June 22, 2012).

DFSB Kollective is a Korea-based copyright owner and a leading producer of Korean music. It went on a litigation tear on March 7, 2011, filing seven similar copyright enforcement actions in the Northern District of California (against Bourne, Doe (revealed to be Yang), Jenpoo, Kuoch, Ma, Tran and Yew). Rather than assigning the seven cases to the same judge or otherwise relating/consolidating them, the cases were divvied up among district judges.

The Jenpoo, Kuoch and Ma cases appear to have settled. Bourne, Tran, Yang (nee Doe) and Yew all no-showed, leading to entries of default against all of them except Yang (which is still pending).

In September 2011, DFSB got a default judgment against Yew for $325k and an injunction from Judge Alsup. I (and most others) missed the Yew case when it came out, but the issues it raises are subsumed by the Tran opinion.

This post focuses on the Tran and Bourne cases. The cases are virtually identical. Both defendants are located in Australia and allegedly ran linking sites focused on the Korean music community (and may have uploaded infringing files themselves). Both cases raise a fairly fundamental question: why is a Korean copyright owner with no operations in California suing Australian defendants in a California court?


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