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Playboy Wins Copyright Infringement Suit

In what it is calling a landmark legal victory, Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (PEI) announced today it won an Internet copyright infringement suit filed against San Diego-based Five Senses Productions.

A federal judge in Southern California awarded PEI $3.74 million in damages in connection with the unauthorized use by Five Senses Productions of approximately 7,500 Playboy images.

PEI said it took legal action because the subscription-based area of Five Senses' Web site featured thousands of images scanned from Playboy magazine.

After federal marshals raided Five Senses' offices last year, removing computer hard-drives and CD-ROMS containing Playboy images, Five Senses owner Francesco Sanfilippo agreed to a preliminary injunction that prevented the site from using Playboy images until the suit was resolved.

PEI said U.S. District Court Judge Irma Gonzalez ruled in her order last week on PEI's motion for summary judgment that the individual Playboy images had independent economic value and were worthy of protection.

In a statement issued today, PEI said the decision is noteworthy from a legal standpoint because it considered each use of a Playboy image on Five Senses' site as an individual copyright infringement, as opposed to limiting the violations to the number of magazine editions in which the images appeared.