If you were ever required by a court to turn over your hard drive for copying, in order to glean evidence from it, you might consider a format is a good idea. Well, it isn’t!
[I]Knowing that a court order was in place requiring her to turn over her hard drive to be copied, the defendant allegedly used “wiping” software in an attempt to destroy all evidence of her illegal P2P file sharing. In response, the plaintiff record companies moved, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(b), for the most severe form of sanctions against the defendant â€“ entry of default against her. The court granted the plaintiffs’ motion, and provided them with 30 days to submit a proposed order spelling out their damages.
Given that the record companies’ expert opined that the defendant had downloaded over 200 sound recordings during 2005, those requested damages will probably be substantial. Statutory damages under the Copyright Act can go as high as $150,000 per work infringed, in the most egregious cases.
In reaching its decision to enter default against the defendant, the court exercised its inherent power to do so, making a note of its obligation to act with “restraint and discretion.” It found that the defendant had acted in bad faith. That bad faith was exacerbated â€“ and the default was further warranted â€“ by the fact that the defendant herself was responsible for the destruction of evidence, that the deletion of the files destroyed the strongest evidence relevant to the plaintiff’s infringement claims, and that less drastic sanctions would not be appropriate.[/I]