Historically, copyright owners have had difficulty enforcing their rights against users of pirating software. One common reason is that the maximum recovery from each pirate is often too small to cover the copyright holder’s legal expenses. Meanwhile, there are often thousands, sometimes millions of acts of infringement. If you could claim them all at once, the total damages from all infringements could easily dwarf litigation costs. If the pirates had the cause of action, this might appear to be ideal for a class action. But can a class be the defendants?
In Salna v Voltage Pictures, LLC, 2021 FCA 176, the Federal Court of Appeal (“FCA”) appears to have said yes.