WELCOME TO THE TORRENTLAWYER BLOG.

STEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR LAWSUIT

Welcome to the TorrentLawyer Blog, a Cashman Law Firm, PLLC resource.  The purpose of this sticky post is to be simplistic and help you to navigate this site (which has 200+ articles on copyright cases we have worked on since 2010).  In short, if you arrived at this site, you are facing one of three paths:

1) COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT “JOHN DOE” LAWSUITS

  • You have been implicated as a “John Doe” defendant in a federal copyright infringement lawsuit (or worse, you have been served as a named defendant in one of these lawsuits).
  • WHAT TO DO NEXT: Click the “Cases We Are Working On” menu option (above), and select the name of your case and/or movie allegedly downloaded.

To make things easier for you, these are the primary lawsuits we are actively working on:

2) DMCA SETTLEMENT NOTICE

  • You received a DMCA notice (“Digital Millennium Copyright Act”) accusing you of downloading one or more copyrighted videos or music songs, and they have demanded a settlement claiming that if you do not pay, they will sue you for copyright infringement.
  • WHAT TO DO NEXT: Click on the “Cases We Are Working On” menu option (above) and select which company has sent you the DMCA Notice:

3) YOU ARE LOST

  • You are lost, or you do not know where to start. Relax, we are here to help you understand what it is you received from your ISP or in the mail, who sent it, and what is happening to you. Once you have an idea of exactly what is happening, we can then discuss how to respond.
  • WHAT TO DO NEXT: Fill out the Contact form to the right, or e-mail us, text us your question (713-364-3476), or simply schedule a time for us to call you.   >  >  >  >

STEP 2: BOOK A PHONE CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY

THIS PAGE IS MERELY AN OVERVIEW. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.

Why the US Court of Appeals’ ruling that “an IP address is not enough to identify a defendant” will not deter the copyright trolls.

Unless this case will stop forcing the ISPs to reveal account holders’ identities, this ruling is useless.

Everybody is cheering about the news in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (this is a higher court) “Cobbler Nevada, LLC v. Thomas Gonzales,” a lawsuit filed against Gonzalez (originally a Cobbler Nevada, LLC v. Doe-24.21.136.125 (Case No. 3:15-cv-00866) case filed in the Oregon District Court) for the download of the Adam Sandler movie, “The Cobbler.”  In this appeal, the Court of Appeals just ruled that an IP address is not enough to identify the subscriber as being the downloader.

However, my opinion is that unless federal judges will apply this ruling to prevent a copyright holder from forcing the ISP to release the identity of the account holder (which I believe they will NOT), this ruling will be useless.

Cobbler Nevada Appeals Case still does not solve the ISP subpoena issue.
3dman_eu / Pixabay

Have you read enough? Contact me with your questions. > > >

Judges rubber-stamp copyright infringement lawsuits.

For YEARS, I saw literally hundreds of cases fly past the judges who rubber stamped expedited discovery motions forcing the Internet Service Providers (ISPs, e.g., AT&T, Comcast, Verizon) to hand over the names and addresses of the subscriber — why?  Because the assumption was that the account holder was most likely the downloader.

Cobbler Nevada, LLC was only one of MANY copyright holders employing this tactic — sue a “John Doe” downloader having an accused IP address, convince the judge to allow the plaintiff attorney to send a subpoena to the ISP to unmask the identity of the account holder.

Copyright troll attorneys do not state in the complaint that the ACCOUNT HOLDER is the DOWNLOADER.

I remember rummaging through one case after another asking, “Did ANY copyright holder PLEAD that the subscriber was the infringer?”  The fact that the answer was NO made my face contort into a Picasso-styled painting.

Copyright holders like Cobbler Nevada, LLC filed copyright infringement lawsuits which spoke all about the ‘theft’ that occurred when someone connected to a bittorrent network and downloaded a pirated copy of their movie.  They spoke about the harm, and how terrible piracy was for their business.  However, they never wrote that the account holder (the subscriber) was the downloader.  So kudos to the judge for finally making this part of the permanent case law which we will certainly use when defending a client accused of copyright infringement… But wait.

WILL this ruling stop judges from approving expedited discovery?  Will this ruling stop judges from issuing that MOST DESTRUCTIVE ORDER which permits the copyright troll to send a subpoena to force the ISP to hand out the name and address of the account holder?  I suggest the answer is NO.

Expedited Discovery and ISP subpoenas allow a shakedown scheme to occur.
Perlinator / Pixabay

Have you read enough? Contact me with your questions. > > >

Cobbler Nevada ruling misses the fact that by the time we file a motion to dismiss, it is already TOO LATE.

Looking at Cobbler Nevada‘s pleadings for a moment, failing to identify the account holder as being the infringer (the “pirate” / bittorrent downloader) suggests that a defense attorney such as myself could file a motion to dismiss the complaint for failing to state a claim.

Our argument based on this ruling is that the plaintiff attorney never said in his pleading that the account holder is the one who downloaded the copyrighted film.

By that time, however, the ISP already handed over the name and address of my client, and the plaintiff attorney has already amended the complaint against my client forever memorializing the fact that my client was accused of copyright infringement.

The damage has already been done.

[Further, realistically, if my client downloaded the copyrighted video, we would never have gotten the chance to plead that the plaintiff attorney did not properly state anywhere in the complaint that my client was the downloader.  Why?  Because by the time the ISP handed over my client’s information to a copyright troll like Cobbler Nevada, my client hired me, told me that he did the download, and we settled the claims against him (before his name was forever memorialized on the court’s docket as being the accused defendant).]

Innocent account holders are victims in copyright infringement lawsuits.

But what happens if my client did NOT do the download?  The ISP would have handed over my client’s information to Cobbler Nevada LLC’s plaintiff attorney, I would have sent over a letter of representation to the plaintiff attorney informing him that my client did not do the download and thus we are not settling (I refer to this as the “ignore” route representation, [not because we are ignoring anything, but because we are not paying a settlement if my client did not do the download, and thus there is nothing to do except to explain to the plaintiff attorney that my client — the account holder — was not the downloader]).

The plaintiff attorney will still try to shake down my client and solicit a settlement, regardless of whether he did the download or not.

With some copyright holders (e.g., Malibu Media, LLC and Strike 3 Holdings, LLC), the plaintiff attorney is not even the attorney of the copyright holder (the “copyright troll”), but rather, a local counsel hired to file the documents in a particular federal court.  The local counsel for these specific copyright holders might not even have autonomy to release an innocent account holder without a settlement.  Regardless of guilt, the local counsel might even be under instructions to “name and serve an account holder who is not settling, regardless of whether or not they did the download.”

Have you read enough? Contact me with your questions. > > >

The plaintiff attorney will NAME AND SERVE the innocent account holder (starting the pattern of abuse).

The plaintiff attorney’s logic for naming and serving the subscriber, even if the subscriber is not the downloader is twofold. 

Firstly, once the plaintiff attorney names and serves the account holder, 1) they hope the account holder will hire a settlement factory attorney (a defense attorney who pre-arranges inflated settlement prices with copyright trolls to settle all cases at a premium (so-called “anonymous” settlements) and pay to settle the claims against him, regardless of whether the account holder did the download or not

Thus, the plaintiff attorney will “score” a multi-thousand-dollar settlement from an innocent account holder defendant (sometimes $2,500, sometimes $10,000+). 

An innocent account holder is a victim of the legal system even if he is dismissed.

However, even if the innocent account holder defendant hires an attorney such as myself (or someone like me) and we do NOT settle the claims against my client [because my client — the account holder — did NOT do the download], that plaintiff attorney still reasons that the case will never go to trial.  They figure that they could drag the innocent defendant through the legal system, force him to hire an attorney, force the attorney to file an answer in the case denying the claims, showing up to one or more case management hearings, and force the defense attorney and his innocent client to cooperate while he abuses the legal system (forcing them to submit to searches and temporary seizures of their computers and electronic devices, and forcing the defendant to answer questions under oath.  IF THEN (after discovery) the plaintiff attorney determines that the account holder is not the downloader, he can dismiss the lawsuit against the defendant.

Have you read enough? Contact me with your questions. > > >

Even a dismissal leaves an the account holder violated.

Receiving such a dismissal might sound good as you read this, but remember, the account holder was not the downloader.  His information was shared with a set of attorneys who are doing nothing other than drooling for a settlement

There is an involuntary set of threats thrown against the defendant that he must settle or his name will be exposed to the world as being an accused downloader (guilty or not).  That innocent account holder then has to decide whether to settle the claims against him (pay even though he did not do the download) or defend the claims against him in litigation. 

He then has to pay a defense attorney to represent him. 

Then he has to endure the legal process (which is all new to him, even though the plaintiff attorney has done this hundreds of times to other innocent account holders). 

Then he has to show up at the plaintiff attorney’s office, enter a room with a court reporter, and be put under oath (risking being found guilty of perjury if he makes a misstatement).  The innocent account holder’s testimony is then FORCED FROM HIM (he cannot “plead the fifth amendment” not to testify, because this is a CIVIL case, and the fifth amendment applies only in CRIMINAL cases). 

His computer and cell phones are then searched by someone who is looking to find something “illegal” on his computer. 

Then even after a deposition where the innocent account holder answers truthfully, the plaintiff attorney STILL threatens him that if he does not settle, he will still need to defend himself all the way to trial. 

Then the plaintiff attorney dismisses the innocent account holder (“without prejudice,” meaning that he can be subject to this lawsuit AGAIN).  Yet, with the dismissal, the identity of the innocent account holder is forever linked with the lawsuit, which is forever searchable on Google when a prospective employer (or even his children or grandchildren) search for his name.  

I don’t know about you, but I would still feel violated even if I was found “not guilty” or if I was dismissed by the plaintiff attorney after a deposition.

Have you read enough? Contact me with your questions. > > >

The innocent account holder paid his defense attorney $17,222!

Putting all of this emotion trauma aside, in the Cobbler Nevada, LLC v. Thomas Gonzales case, the innocent account holder (Gonzales) PAID HIS ATTORNEY LEGAL FEES OF $17,222 (whereas Cobbler Nevada, LLC likely asked for a settlement of $4,500, and an attorney could have settled the claims against him at the time for $1,750-$2,000).  Gonzales chose to “fight,” and as a result, he paid his attorney $17,000+ …and he was INNOCENT all along.

Cobbler Nevada solution - deny expedited discovery.
qimono / Pixabay

The only solution is to prevent copyright holders from obtaining the account holder’s identity.

So the only way to truly apply this US Court of Appeals ruling is to have judges begin to DENY EXPEDITED DISCOVERY unless the plaintiff attorney explicitly states in the complaint that the account holder is the infringer.  However, in truth, a plaintiff attorney can state this, and plead (in the alternative) that he is not the infringer, or he could lie in his pleadings.  There is no practical consequence in law for falsely accusing a defendant of a civil claim and then later dismissing the claim when he realizes that the innocent account holder did not do the “crime” for which he was accused.  Thus, the only way to properly use this ruling is to DENY EXPEDITED DISCOVERIES. DO NOT LET THE PLAINTIFF ATTORNEYS SEND SUBPOENAS TO THE ISPs TO FORCE THEM TO HAND OVER THE IDENTITY OF THE ACCOUNT HOLDER.  Because once this happens, even if that account holder could later hire an attorney to file a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim, the whole “settlement extortion scheme” has already taken place and that innocent account holder’s name is already memorialized on the docket as being the accused defendant (guilty or not).

[CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: If you have a question for an attorney about what you have read and how it applies to your particular lawsuit, you can e-mail us at info[at]cashmanlawfirm.com, you can set up a free and confidential phone consultation to speak to us about your case, or you can send a Text/SMS to 713-364-3476 (this is our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC’s number)].

Rightscorp business model of sending DMCA settlement demand letters just succeeded.

Rightscorp‘s business model just took an unexpected positive turn, as the BMG v. Cox lawsuit just had a surprising outcome — Cox just settled with BMG, paving the way for the DMCA settlement demand notices to gain some teeth.

Years ago, I wrote articles about companies like Rightscorp (Digital Rights Corp), CEG-TEK, and Rights Enforcement who were changing the “playing field” (in a bad way) by allowing copyright owners to track and sue downloaders who downloaded their copyrighted videos, films, movies, adult films, or music using bittorrent.

The account holders (often the parents of the downloaders themselves) would receive a notice either in the mail or in their ISP’s e-mail inbox informing them:

  1. that they have been implicated as having downloaded one or more copyrighted materials,
  2. that using bittorrent to download copyrighted materials was a violation of that ISP’s terms of service, and
  3. that the account holder could forego a potential copyright infringement lawsuit in a federal court by vising the website of the Rightscorp (Digital Rights Corp) copyright enforcement entity, paying a small fee (from $20-$30/title [or with other copyright enforcement entities, from $300-$750/title]), thus settling the claims before a copyright infringement lawsuit was filed.

The obvious problem is that by the time the account subscriber received the settlement demand notice, the Rightscorp or CEG-TEK or Rights Enforcement entity racked up tens, or sometimes hundreds of violations. Then there were class action lawsuits against the copyright enforcement entities (e.g., for robocalling) and other “bad things” that these companies did to maximize their per-title settlement.

However, for years, these entities have been quiet, and I know why. BMG v. Cox Communications.

I was told years ago that the success of the “copyright trolling” settlement demand notice business model would be based on whether a copyright holder could force an ISP to 1) forward their DMCA copyright infringement notice (a.k.a. “settlement demand letter”) to their subscribers, and 2) whether a copyright holder could force an ISP to shut down a repeat infringer’s account (something Rightscorp was accused of doing in 2014). At the time, there was the “Six Strikes” system in place (now, I understand it to be defunct), and under it, Comcast stopped forwarding the “settlement demand letter” portion of the infringement notices; rather, they forwarded just a snippet of the infringement notice telling the account holder to stop downloading illegal content.

However, there were also ISPs who stopped forwarding the notices altogether. To the dismay of various copyright enforcement entities, I understand that Cox Communications was one such ISP, although the BMG lawsuit appeared to stem from Cox refusing to shut down the internet accounts of repeat infringers.

The funny thing about COX Communications was that Cox was supposed to be the “golden goose” to the copyright holders, simply because of the large subscriber base it could reach. “If only 1% of infringing users pay a settlement fee… imagine the money that could be made…”

Further, COX Communications provided their subscribers ONE STATIC IP ADDRESS, which meant that whatever the downloaded did in the past (whether the downloader was caught, tracked, or not), could be later attributed to the accused account holder to multiply the list of infringements. This love-hate relationship between the copyright holders, the ISP, and their customers was only temporary, and as a result, COX Communications found itself at the center of a lawsuit for protecting its customers against copyright enforcement entities such as the RIAA and Rightscorp.

Fast forward a few years to today. The “new” news is that the BMG v. Cox Communications lawsuit has been going on and on, but it appears that in the past few days, it has come to an end. Apparently Cox settled with BMG, awarding a “win” for the copyright holders.  The question is… was the settlement only a MONEY settlement?  Or did Cox agree to shut down the accounts of repeat infringers?

What this means moving forward (and I am still hashing this out with the limited time that I have to devote to this topic) is that copyright enforcement / copyright “monetization” copyright holders such as Rightscorp (and perhaps now CEG-TEK again, Rights Enforcement, the RIAA, and other new companies join the “copyright monetization” bandwagon) will now start sending DMCA notices once again to accused downloaders. The difference is that their requests to the ISPs to forward their settlement demand letters will now have some “teeth,” as I understand that ISPs might start shutting down internet accounts of those subscribers who are “repeat infringers.”

Obviously this topic is still evolving. However, whereas we at the Cashman Law Firm PLLC thought that the days of the “DMCA settlement demand letter” notices were numbered, I suspect what happened from 2010-2016 was just a first wave of what is to be an even larger wave of infringement notices to be sent to account holders for the unlawful downloading of copyrighted content.  Couple this with the resistance I have received in the past from companies such as Rightscorp, this is likely going to cause some trouble.


FOR IMMEDIATE CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: To set up a free consultation to speak to an attorney about Rightscorp DMCA letter or subpoena, click here.  Lastly, please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected], or call or SMS 713-364-3476 to speak to me now about your case (I do prefer you read the articles first), or to get your questions answered.

CONTACT FORM: Alternatively, sometimes people just like to contact me using one of these forms.  If you have a question or comment about what I have written, and you want to keep it *for my eyes only*, please feel free to use the form below. The information you post will be e-mailed to me, and I will be happy to respond.

NOTE: No attorney client relationship is established by sending this form, and while the attorney-client privilege (which keeps everything that you share confidential and private) attaches immediately when you contact me, I do not become your attorney until we sign a contract together.  That being said, please do not state anything “incriminating” about your case when using this form, or more practically, in any e-mail.

IGNORE route representation empowers a defendant to say “NO” to extortion.

Why I love the IGNORE route for our innocent clients.

I wanted to take a moment to share a revelation I had regarding the IGNORE route — a strategy we often discuss with clients who did not do the download and do not wish to settle.

NOTE: The word “ignore” is actually a misnomer, as we do anything but ignore. Traditionally, there are three options an accused John Doe Defendant accused of downloading a movie has:

1 — “fight” or “litigate” the case on the merits;
2 — settle the claims by negotiating a settlement payment;
3 — resolve the claims WITHOUT paying a settlement payment.

IGNORE ROUTE REPRESENTATION is a legal alternative to not hiring an attorney at all — just “ignoring” the case and hoping for the best.  Hiring an attorney in the “ignore” route will allow him to navigate your John Doe entity through the lawsuit and its pitfalls… to its eventual dismissal. 

The stated goal in the IGNORE route is NOT to pay a settlement.

Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > > >

IGNORE route allows us to shoulder the burdens of no-settlement representation.

IGNORE route representation simply employs the strategy of hiring an attorney for the purpose of having that attorney shoulder the burdens a John Doe defendant would experience when analyzing and managing the risks involved in defending against a “copyright troll” copyright infringement case.

We simply have been here many times before with many past copyright holders and their attorneys, so we have seen how various plaintiff attorneys react to what are common scenarios or “story lines” that occur in these cases, and how judges act to move the case forward.

We have also defended against attorneys who broke the law and ended up losing their law license and going to prison, and we have defended against skilled attorneys who truly believe in taking the plaintiff’s side of a copyright infringement lawsuit.

I don’t know how to say this more clearly — we have seen many tactics and strategies arise, succeed, and fail over the years, and this has provided us an arsenal of tools that we can use when defending the interests of each client.

What are the FACTORS involved in analyzing a case for our client?

Involved in the analysis of representing a client in IGNORE route representation are:

1) reviewing or being aware of OTHER CASES in THAT specific FEDERAL COURT,

2) understanding the PAST RULINGS AND PROCLIVITIES of THAT FEDERAL JUDGE,

3) understanding the proclivities, talents, and skills of THAT PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY who sued on behalf of a particular copyright holder, and

4) making educated decisions based on OUR OWN PAST EXPERIENCES of each of the above to properly decide how to proceed at each stage of the lawsuit.

Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > > >

IGNORE route deprives the copyright holder of the settlement they wish to extort.

Personally, the “ignore” route has always been one of my favorite strategies because not only does it deprive the plaintiff attorney and his client of a settlement when a settlement is not warranted, but it empowers my client to understand what is happening throughout the lawsuit so that they could see the case as I see it with my own eyes — based on my understanding of the circumstances and factors influencing the outcome of the case.

My favorite part about the IGNORE route representation strategy is that it gives my clients an authoritative way to say “NO!” to what would otherwise be a settlement extortion scheme.

Why the IGNORE route works.

IGNORE route representation is a well crafted strategy which analyzes and predicts deadlines, and it has correctly predicted the trends with very few surprises or accidental occurrences (e.g., without clients getting named and served or suffering some other complication due to attorney inexperience or inattention), and it accomplishes this goal simply because I take the time to do my research and watch the cases.

I hate to say this, but too many attorneys fail their clients simply because they do not do their homework.  They do not research their case, and they approach the lawsuit without understanding how a bittorrent-based copyright infringement lawsuit is litigated.  They approach the opposing counsel blindly without understanding who they are (with no knowledge of their past activities, proclivities, or personalities), and they approach the case itself thinking it is merely “just another copyright case” without understanding the motivations of the copyright holder or the nuances of how bittorrent-based “copyright troll” cases differ from traditional “copyright infringement” cases.  In the end, their ego and their unpreparedness only hurts their client.  And if they file a pro hac appearance with the court and they enter the court without researching what rulings have been made in the past in THAT district, or without knowing the personality of THAT judge presiding over the case, I have nothing to say except that they caused the results they achieved for their client.

Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > > >

There are also a number of settlement factories and copycat attorneys who claim to do everything that we do, but cheaper.  These are often settlement factories who load their websites with advertising trash and repetitive articles designed to overwhelm you so that you end up calling one of their call centers. I hate to say this — while there will be many attorneys who offer the “ignore” route after reading this article, be aware that the ignore route is not merely keeping an open line of communication with the plaintiff attorney — it is doing what attorneys call “due diligence” in analyzing a case and coming up with conclusions and strategies that are very particular to each client’s PERSONAL NEEDS, the FACTS as to what actually happened, the client’s FINANCIAL ABILITIES and social pressures, AND all of the FACTORS I mentioned above (e.g., analyzing THAT plaintiff attorney, THAT copyright holder, THAT judge, THAT court, THAT federal court’s rulings, and the physical TIMING and ENVIRONMENT surrounding THAT particular case on THAT day or moment). You really can’t copy that, and “THAT” is exactly what you pay for with our law firm.

This method of representing clients is one of the “products” I have been proud to offer clients for the last SEVEN (7) YEARS as an alternative to the options they are often provided by other attorneys — who either push them to settle the claims against them, or leave them helpless to deal with the matter on their own — and I am happy to shoulder the burden and to be their eyes and ears of the case, protecting them with privileges an attorney is granted by the law.  There is so much more to say here, but I believe I have more than made my point.


[CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: If you have a question for an attorney about the ISP subpoena you received and options on how to proceed (even specifically for your case), you can e-mail us at info[at]cashmanlawfirm.com, you can set up a free and confidential phone consultation to speak to us about your copyright infringement case, or you can call us at 713-364-3476 (this is our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC’s number / SMS].

CONTACT FORM: If you have a question or comment about what I have written, and you want to keep it *for my eyes only*, please feel free to use the form below. The information you post will be e-mailed to me, and I will be happy to respond.

NOTE: No attorney client relationship is established by sending this form, and while the attorney-client privilege (which keeps everything that you share confidential and private) attaches immediately when you contact me, I do not become your attorney until we sign a contract together.  That being said, please do not state anything “incriminating” about your case when using this form, or more practically, in any e-mail.

WHY COPYRIGHT TROLL NON-PRACTICING ENTITIES SHOULD NOT BENEFIT FROM COPYRIGHT LAWS.

Who is the “Real Party in Interest” in the Strike Three Holdings movie lawsuits?

Last night, I set out to explain the differences between the recent Strike Three Holdings ISP subpoena lawsuits and the Malibu Media lawsuits, but the similarities ended up haunting me.  Seeing yet again the makings of another copyright holder who is playing what is starting to look like a “corporate shell game,” I am again weighed down in wondering whether Strike 3 Holdings movie lawsuits (think, “Tushy.com [NSFW],” “Blacked.com [NSFW],” and “Vixen.com [NSFW]”) is really the old wolf — Malibu Media LLC — in sheep’s clothing.

What bothers me about each of these movie (or here, “adult film”) cases is the slick non-transparency between who the copyright holder is, who is actually the party filing the lawsuit (legally, the “real party in interest,”) and who the interested parties are in the lawsuit.

Attorney “Kidneys”

From a lawyer’s perspective (my own attorney “kidneys”), it really bothers me that lawyers LIE to judges and courts now when they file lawsuits.  Maybe this has always been the case, and what do I know — I’ve only been a lawyer active in my field for ten years now — but law school took SO MANY STEPS to teach us to be moral and ethical.

In order to be eligible to take the New York bar exam, we not only had to pass a [frankly, invasive] character and fitness review, but we needed to pass an ethics exam (the MPRE).  In that ethics exam, almost every answer to the exam was, “be ethical, turn that lawyer in to the authorities.”  This is what caused me to delve quite early into the legal malpractice field.

Our Legal System is BROKEN by attorneys who represent unethical clients.

But our legal system breaks when a small few attorneys allow their clients to engage in deception, distortion, and outright lies, as I suspect is already happening with the Strike 3 Holdings lawsuits. 

Looking at the selection of each of the new lawyers that have been chosen to file cases, I can already see the outcome and how each of the cases will play out based on that particular lawyer’s proclivities and skillset.

Some of these lawyers are “new guys,” or “fresh meat” (as I jokingly call them) — not because I can take advantage of their ignorance of the law (or at least the ignorance of how copyright law is applied differently in each of the federal courts across the US), but because I know that they are local counsel to a centralized (and likely criminal) enterprise.

Thus, they will act as “empty shells” who follow the dictates of their client masters…  as we have seen before, possibly at the peril of their own law licenses.

SIDE NOTE: Kudos to those local counsel who chose the ethical path, eventually.

Unrelated but relevant, I must note that a number of former “copyright troll” attorneys who have been local counsel to other attorneys are no longer “in the game,” so to speak.  They no longer file copyright infringement lawsuits for their masters, and they stood up and said “no” when their copyright troll clients asked them to take part in activities that would have cost them their law licenses.  I do take pride in commending these attorneys in taking a stand against their morally corrupt clients, and in a few cases, I know personally of a few attorneys who backed out of being local counsel and who likely saved their law licenses as a result.

Because many of these local counsel at one point were “fresh meat,” they took the copyright monetization (NPE) client [I’ll describe the “NPE” term later] thinking that this would bring in needed revenue to their law firm.  They thought they would learn a lot, and they rationalized that they were on the “right side of the law.”  This continued until they realized that they were representing a corrupted client, and then they were in too deep to drop them as a client.

Eventually, the copyright monetization (NPE) client turned on them (think, “honor among thieves,“)  and told them to do something unethical.  Risking loss of what became their entire law firm’s focus, they were forced to continue on their path hoping that they would never be caught by the state bar.  Eventually, in one particular case, their client stopped paying them their own commissions and they were left working for a client who was cheating them.

I have spoken attorneys such as these on a number of occasions (many of these attorneys are the subject of past articles), and I hope to have contributed to their decision to leave their masters as a battered wife would leave her husband.

I am also happy to share that I have been screamed at by a number of attorneys who direct lawsuits (most notably, John Steele of Prenda Law Inc., now disbarred, and who is pictured at the top of this article) “for speaking to and advising his local counsel” as to their rights when their own client (Steele) put them in a precarious position.

In sum (and this was supposed to be a side note), not all local counsel are bad people.  However, at the moment while they are still suing defendants, they know I believe they are on the wrong side of the law, and here is why.

Why the law requires the ENFORCEMENT OF TRANSPARENCY in copyright infringement / bittorrent-based lawsuits.

The point of this article is that the law requires transparency and disclosure when filing lawsuits, and judges tend to rely on the filings of the plaintiff attorneys (in an honest world, those representing the copyright holder).  However, when copyright monetization entities (e.g., RightsEnforcement, etc.) step as a buffer entity in between the copyright holder and the defendant, this creates a disparity in favor of the local “empty shell” attorney filing identical documents (serially, or over-and-over) on behalf of his “boss” (the attorney who is running the copyright troll lawsuit campaigns for each of his copyright holder clients). As a result, the individual accused John Doe Defendant is harmed by this disparity by being thrown into trying to defend against an elaborate copyright enforcement scheme which could ultimately cost him his entire life savings.

DISCLOSURE can lead to an equal playing field.

I feel strongly that a copyright monetization company should openly and honestly disclose exactly who they are, what benefit the actual copyright holder is getting from the lawsuit, and who else has an interest in the outcome of the litigation.  At least then, the judge could understand who else this monetization company is representing, and he could “tame” them and their tactics so that the accused downloaders (the “victims” of what will end up being a settlement extortion scheme) will at least have an equal playing field in order to defend themselves and the claims against them.

I don’t wear the pope hat.

And while writing this, I don’t want you to think that I am wearing the pope hat.  I started my law career on the wrong side of the law.  As a brand new attorney, I worked for an entity who ended up representing “Intellectual Ventures,” a prolific patent troll.  I observed the shell companies they used and the games they played to purchase patents (or at least the rights to enforce them), only to turn from a harmless company to a patent troll with sharp teeth.

Needless to say, Intellectual Ventures turned “evil” (so to speak), and started enforcing their patents to “force” (I want to use the word extort) companies almost-remotely-maybe-infringing that patent into accepting a license so that Intellectual Ventures could take a mafia-share royalty off of each of that company’s profits.  So long as Intellectual Ventures (under their RPX Corp entity) received “tribute payments” in the form of a “membership fee” for entrance into their patent troll organization, they would not be sued by the patent holder (or the “NPE” patent troll conglomerate organization who held the patents).

In short, I learned how to defend against copyright trolls by working on behalf a powerful patent troll [and if you want to read the articles I wrote on that topic and the RPX Corp (what Intellectual Ventures became), please feel free to visit my articles from 2008 on the topic].  I wasn’t very active at the time in blogging, but the articles are still interesting to read.

Why NON-PRACTICING ENTITY (NPE) STATUS should be applied to copyright trolls.

What is relevant to my experiences with Intellectual Ventures (and later, RPX Corp) was the concept of a “Non-Practicing Entity,” or an “NPE.”  In patent litigation, a non-practicing entity is a corporate entity who enforces patents which it did not create.  Shortly after patent trolls and NPEs made a killing in the federal courts, the rules changed to make these kinds of lawsuits unprofitable.

I believe that the same “Non-Practicing Entity (NPE)” status should be applied in the federal courts to copyright holders as well.

AND HERE IS WHY.

My point:  The copyright law gives copyright holders rights to enforce their copyrights.  The purpose of these rights are to benefit the copyright holders (to reward their creativity, their ingenuity, and their contribution to the arts).  When a slime and base organization comes in and purchases those copyright rights to benefit financially from the rights due the copyright holders, the law should not allow those entities to benefit as if they are the copyright holders.

WHY COPYRIGHT TROLL NON-PRACTICING ENTITIES SHOULD NOT BENEFIT FROM COPYRIGHT LAWS.

Copyright Troll NPEs never contributed anything to the arts.  They do not benefit society.  They do not benefit the copyright holders (who are often cheated by them or only receive a small piece of what could be theirs under the copyright laws).  They do not benefit the actors, writers, or artists who created the copyrighted work.  Rather, NPEs make their attorneys wealthy and they target and destroy the lives and the savings of thousands of households each year, separating the working class from their hard earned savings.

So I ask you — should NON-PRACTICING ENTITY (NPE) STATUS be applied to bittorrent-based copyright infringement lawsuits who are deceptively managed by these NON-PRACTICING ENTITY (NPE) conglomerates who only serves to monetize the copyrights of others for their own benefit?

Motions to Quash ISP Subpoena Letters, Malibu Media Lawsuits, Rightscorp DMCA Settlement Notices, and Helping John Does.