United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
RICHARDSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Plaintiff Steve Sands's unopposed
Motion for Default Judgment (Doc. No. 22,
“Motion”) against Defendant, Fan Fest News, LLC
(“Fan Fest”). On August 5, 2019, pursuant to the
Court's July 18, 2019 Order, Plaintiff filed a
Supplemental Memorandum of Law (“Supplemental
Brief”) providing additional evidence and legal
arguments in further support of its Motion. (Doc. No. 26).
Defendant has not appeared or otherwise sought to defend
itself in this action. For the reasons discussed below,
Plaintiff's Motion will be GRANTED IN
is a professional photographer engaged in the business of
licensing his photographs to online and print media for a
fee. (Doc. No. 1 ¶ 5). Plaintiff's usual place of
business is New York. (Id.).
is a domestic limited liability company organized and
existing under the laws of Tennessee with its place of
business in Spring Hill, Tennessee. (Id. ¶ 6).
At all relevant times, Defendant owned and operated a website
at the URL: https://fanfest.com (“Website”).
point,  Plaintiff photographed actor Jonathan
Bernthal on the set of Netflix TV series The
Punisher. (Id. ¶ 7). On June 20, 2017,
the photographs were registered with the United States
Copyright Office under registration number VA 2-062-421.
(Doc. No. 1-3).
about April 15, 2017, Defendant published an article on its
Website titled ‘The Punisher': Jon Bernthal
Dons Icon Costume in New Photos (Doc. No. 1-4,
“Article”). (Doc. No. 1 ¶ 15). The Article
featured four of Plaintiff's registered photographs
(“Photographs”). According to Plaintiff,
Defendant published the Photographs without obtaining
Plaintiff's consent or authorization. Plaintiff alleges
that Defendant is liable for willful copyright infringement
of each of the four Photographs as a separate work.
filed his Complaint against Defendant on December 7, 2018.
(Doc. No. 1). Defendant was served on January 2, 2019, via
personal service upon Defendant's registered agent. (Doc.
Nos. 10, 19). Defendant did not respond, either within the
time allowed by the Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure or at any point thereafter. On May 22, 2019, the
Clerk of Court issued an Entry of Default Judgment pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a). (Doc. No. 20). On
July 2, 2019, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b). (Doc. 22). To date,
Defendant has not responded or otherwise sought to defend
itself in this action.
currently seeks an award of statutory damages in the amount
of $120, 000 ($30, 000 per Photograph) in civil penalties for
willful copyright infringement pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §
504(c) and $1, 500 in attorney's fees and $529.99 in
costs pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §505. (Doc. No. 22-1
order to obtain a default judgment under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 55, the plaintiff must have first secured an
entry of default from the Clerk of Court, which requires a
showing, “by affidavit or otherwise, ” that the
defendant “has failed to plead or otherwise
defend” itself in the action. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). Upon
entry of default, if the plaintiff's claim is not for a
sum certain, he or she “must apply to the court for a
default judgment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(1)-(2).
an entry of default, the complaint's well-pleaded
allegations pertaining to liability are taken as true. In
re Family Resorts of Am., Inc., No. 19-4127, 1992 WL
174539, at *4 (6th Cir. July 24, 1992). However, the default
is not considered an admission of damages. Vesligaj v.
Peterson,331 Fed.Appx. 351, 355 (6th Cir. 2009)
(“Where damages are unliquidated a default admits only
[the defaulting party's] liability and the amount of
damages must be proved.”). In order to determine
damages, the court can, but is not required to, hold an
evidentiary hearing. “[A] hearing is not necessarily
required if the moving party submits uncontested, sworn
affidavits sufficient to establish the amount of
damages.” Broad. Music, Inc. v. Marler, No.
9-cv-193, 2009 WL 3785878, at *5 (E.D. Tenn. Nov. 12, 2009);
see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(2) (A district court
“may conduct hearings ... when, to enter or
effectuate judgment, it needs to: (A) conduct an accounting;
(B) determine the amount of damages; (C) ...