Plaintiff and news publisher Dow Jones & Company sued Chinese publisher Juwai Ltd. for copyright infringement under U.S. and Hong Kong law, violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and breach of contract, claiming that Juwai illegally reproduced Dow Jones’ articles on Juwai’s own Chinese-language website. Juwai moved for dismissal, which the New York federal district court granted as to the Hong Kong law and breach of contract claims but denied with respect to Dow Jones’ causes of action under the U.S. Copyright Act and DMCA.
Juwai moved to dismiss Dow Jones’ DMCA and copyright infringement claims under U.S. law primarily on territorial grounds, arguing that it operated beyond American law’s territorial reach as a Chinese company publishing a Chinese-language website. The court analyzed the foreign infringement in the context of additional “plus factors” going beyond the online availability of a website in the United States, which include “the direction of copyrighted material into the United States,” “when foreign acts are intended to, and do, have an effect within the United States,” and “the uploading of copyrighted materials to servers located in the United States.” The court noted that Juwai.com is served to users by the CloudFront content delivery network, which stores copies of a website’s content on “edge servers” located around the world and generally delivers data to users from their closest edge server. The court concluded that the Juwai website’s use of CloudFront servers in the U.S. to store and distribute copies of the infringed articles in the U.S. adequately supported a claim of direct copyright infringement to survive a motion to dismiss.
Finally, Juwai moved to dismiss Dow Jones’ infringement claims under Hong Kong copyright law, on the grounds of forum non conveniens. Although the court acknowledged that the doctrine is traditionally applied to dismissal of an entire action rather than only some of the claims, it found application appropriate where Dow Jones had only added the Hong Kong claims in the alternative should the court decide that the territorial jurisdiction of U.S. copyright law was insufficient to reach Juwai’s foreign infringement. The court reasoned that the relevant witnesses and evidence would likely be located in Hong Kong for injuries sustained there and that the courts in Hong Kong would be better positioned to interpret and apply Hong Kong law, as well as compel participation if necessary. The court concluded that Hong Kong would be a significantly preferable forum and dismissed Dow Jones’ foreign law claims on that basis.
Summary prepared by Melanie Howard and Jordan Meddy