A Superior Court judge in Montreal has upheld a U.S. ruling that awarded more than $2.5 million to an American porn star who sued a local man, and his companies, for illegally copying and distributing his DVDs.
Judge Louis Gouin said there was no reason to block execution of the 2011 judgment from U.S. District Court in California requiring Alain Elmaleh and his adult-film distribution companies Kaytel Video Distribution and Leisure Time Video Canada Inc. to pay the money to Jules Jordan (real name Ashley Gasper).
“I’m very satisfied that the great courts of Quebec have acknowledged the merits of our case,” said Gasper, 42, whose body of work as an actor and director includes such titles as Lex The Impaler and Internal Damnation.
“It’s been almost a 10-year battle, but I’m here to see it through to the end. You do what’s necessary to combat something that’s done wrong to you.”
The incidents at the heart of the litigation date back more than a decade, when Jordan’s distributor starting getting an abnormally large number of DVDs returned for more than a dozen of his movies.
In fact, many were counterfeit copies of inferior quality, eventually traced back to Elmaleh and his companies. Evidence at the trial indicated Elmaleh had claimed to own the rights to the DVDs.
Jordan sued in California for copyright infringement, and won. Elmaleh was ordered to pay $1.8 million, and Leisure Time and Kaytel Distribution $390,000 apiece.
In their Superior Court defence, they claimed to be Quebec residents who had no assets in California and had done nothing unlawful in the U.S., and that the state of California should not have had jurisdiction to try the original case.
But Judge Gouin said the fact the movies were made in California and the counterfeits sold there made it an appropriate venue for the initial lawsuit, and it wasn’t the place of a Quebec court to “redo the trial according to our rules and principles.”
Elmaleh, identified on LinkedIn as current chief executive of wellness-products company Bodispa Inc. and owner of Kaytel Media Group from “1985 to the present”, did not return a message left by The Gazette.
Gasper, reached in California, said the sums lost because of the counterfeiting were considerable.
The 13 titles in question were “very popular” and had gross sales of $10 million, he said, despite competing “in our own marketplace” against the mass-produced fakes “pretty much all over the world.”
“This was back a decade ago, the peak for DVDs, especially adult DVD products,” he said. “It’s not the same now. Sales of DVDs are way down and prices are much lower.”
Gasper said he’s spent millions on the case. “It’s been a long process where the defendants have appealed at every stage, and it’s a possibility they’ll appeal it further. At this point, it’s a war of attrition.”