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 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?

How similar are Strike 3 Holdings and Malibu Media lawsuits?

Malibu Media lawsuits paved the way for Strike 3 Holdings subpoenas.

In March of this year I suggested that the movie and music industry (MPAA / RIAA) used the porn industry to make way for the legitimacy of bittorrent-based copyright infringement cases we see legitimized today in a growing number of federal courts. Strike 3 Holdings, LLC is the most recent beneficiary of the path forged by Malibu Media LLC with their John Doe lawsuits filed against accused downloaders of their “Tushy.com [NSFW],” “Vixen.com [NSFW],” and “Blacked.com [NSFW]” popular adult themed videos and websites.

It is my opinion that Strike 3 Holdings LLC owes what will be their success to the Malibu Media LLC lawsuits. Malibu Media LLC, once seen as a roach of a company preying on its customers through its 6,000+ lawsuits filed nationwide now enjoys free reign in the federal courts, as will Strike 3 Holdings and the judges who blush at the adult themes they carry.

I expect that judges will rubber-stamp and approve Strike 3 Holdings ISP subpoenas just as they have been approving Malibu Media subpoena requests, knowing that they too will proceed on the merits of the lawsuit if their accused defendant does not settle the claims against him.

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

Will the judges be as cooperative with Strike 3 Holdings lawsuits, and my idea about why.

[My personal wonder when sitting in court and looking at a judge keep a straight face when discussing the Malibu Media / X-Art.com cases is whether they themselves have watched these videos. The clerks and the court reporters are typically louder about them, but the judge that signs the order allowing discovery of defendants — is he doing so because he believes even pornographic films deserve copyright protection? Or is he hiding the fact that he has seen these videos himself? I further wonder whether the judges who adjudicate the “Tushy or Vixen” adult film movie lawsuits will be able to do so with similar stoic silence, as “Tushy” “Blacked” and “Vixen” videos have a viewership that makes Colette Pelissier’s Malibu Media / X-Art brand look like K-Mart in the shadow of Target.]

Strike-3-Holdings-Blacked-Tushy-Vixen

[CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: If you have a question for an attorney about either Strike 3 Holdings, LLC cases or Malibu Media, LLC cases 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 Strike 3 Holdings or Malibu Media case, or you can call us at 713-364-3476 (this is our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC’s number)].

Did you possibly connect Malibu Media and Strike 3 Holdings as being the same entity?

I wouldn’t be the first to suspect that perhaps the same people behind the Malibu Media, LLC lawsuits are the same as the people who are behind the upcoming Strike 3 Holdings LLC Tushy lawsuits, especially with the common thread between each of them being the Guardaley company each of them use to track the bittorrent networks to find victims for their next John Doe lawsuit.

Also unlike the recent movie lawsuits BUT EXACTLY LIKE MALIBU MEDIA CASES, it appears as if Strike Three Holdings cases sue for the copyright infringement of one adult film movie, however, when an accused defendant attempts to settle the claims against him, he is also asked to settle a list of titles he also downloaded.

While I could be wrong, although the two are similar in style and flare both in marketing techniques, lawsuit “troll” tactics, I understand from basic research that the Malibu Media, LLC lawsuits and the coming “Tushy” Strike 3 Holdings lawsuits are owned, operated, and run by very different people.  However, I wouldn’t be surprised for an instant to learn that Strike Three Holdings lawsuits learned EXACTLY how to run their lawsuits by mirroring the Malibu Media lawsuits.  To be more direct, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Colette Pelissier and Brigham Field personally taught, mentored, and is possibly directly benefiting from Strike Three Holdings’ settlement tactics.

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

Perhaps an investigation of where each is incorporated can shed some light.

While the people behind the Malibu Media, LLC lawsuits are real estate brokers who live in lavish, overpriced homes (in which they have been observed illegally filming their content in violation of the local laws), Strike 3 Holdings LLC trademark registrations all point to a 2140 S. Dupont Hwy, Camden, Deleware address (right next to the Rite Aid, the Venetian Jewelers store, an Este Pharma skin care clinic, and two business development companies — Parasec Inc., SeoSamba, and Patton Vision).

However… no Strike 3 Holdings, LLC business presence or trace thereof.

Maybe not.

You know, after writing this, it occurred to me that the tax-sheltered Deleware address Strike 3 Holdings is using is FAKE, or that their lawyer, Anna Marie Vradenburgh of Thousand Oaks, CA rented them a mailbox on the corner of S. Dupont Highway and E. Camden Wyoming Ave. so that they can claim that their corporate entity is located in Deleware.

You might also notice that Strike Three Holdings LLC’s lawyer is in California and Malibu Media, LLC is in… California (not Deleware).  Why would a Deleware company hire an obscure California attorney to file their corporate papers and trademark filings for them, unless perhaps the Deleware address is a fake?  [Look at the Google Map and ask yourself if you see Strike 3 Holdings, LLC].

*UPDATE* Lawsuits now filed in DC

In sum, the Strike 3 Holdings LLC lawsuits are just beginning to warm up. And, while there are similarities between the adult film brands claimed in the Malibu Media lawsuits and the Strike 3 Holdings lawsuits, they appear to be different entities headed by different people (although you must admit that similarities are suspect). Hopefully they act differently too in the lawsuits as to how they treat their own attorneys and their cases.

Strike 3 Holdings have even now started filing single John Doe lawsuits as well.

*New Cases* filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia:
Strike 3 Holdings, LLC v. DOE (Case No. 1:17-cv-02338, Case No. 1:17-cv-02344, 1:17-cv-02345, 1:17-cv-02346, 1:17-cv-02347, 1:17-cv-02342)

What I don’t like 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, and who the interested parties are in the lawsuit.  Honestly, historically, the “patent troll” problem was solved by making the distinction between inventors and NON-PRACTICING ENTITIES (NPEs).  I wonder if NPE status should also be applied to copyright trolls as well.

BLOG POSTS:

Article(s) Written on the Strike 3 Holdings cases:
Strike 3 Holdings, LLC (“Blacked, Tushy, Vixen”) Adult Film Lawsuit FAQ,” on 11/5/2017
Everything you need to know in one page about your Strike 3 Holdings Movie Lawsuit and ISP subpoena,” on 11/5/2017
Just the Facts — Strike 3 Holdings, LLC,” on 11/5/2017
Should Copyright Trolls Be Considered Non-Practicing Entity (“NPE”)?,” on 11/15/2017

Revisiting Harvey for a moment, and turning our attention to Florida.

To the many of you who have been inquiring as to the safety of our family and our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC and its employees…
Thank you.  Our family is well, and our 4th Floor office was untouched by the storm (although it was inaccessible for a few days). However, I cannot say the same thing for family members and friends who had their homes flooded, where in some cases water covered half of the windows (meaning half of the houses were literally under water, both inside and out). I even saw pictures of streets not too far from me where water not only covered the streets, but almost covered the stop lights far above the street. This has chilled me to the core, because even though I have seen floods and hurricanes in Houston before (and we are known for surviving rough weather events), some of the things I saw, my eyes still do not believe.

I understand that we are only slightly above sea level, but walking the streets seeing the contents of the community’s home on each person’s front lawn, I still cannot imagine or picture in my mind’s eye how water can flood so high.  I know that we received five or six feet of rain, but Houston has an elaborate network of bayous and flood prevention mechanisms which would ordinarily drain heavy rains into the sea.  The bayous do function well, even if they flood a foot or so. With this storm, I expected them to flood with maybe an additional 1-3 feet of water (something I refer to as “car killers,” which friends have lost cars trying to drive through). But to see streets, mailboxes, and street lights under water, and to see houses just a few miles away from me covered literally just below the roofs — this was something I never imagined I would ever see.

In short, the news and the media are rightfully turning their attention to Florida, and those living there have my empathy and my support in whatever way I can help. Our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC has donated to the hurricane relief funds and each of us personally has spent most of our week helping with disaster relief. My wife and kids spent countless hours preparing meals with the Houston community for those who have been displaced, and the work, the rebuilding, and the donations will need to continue long after the media has forgotten both Houston and Florida.

Todd Zenger Settlement Demand Letters Sent to Utah ME2 Defendants

Todd Zenger is the Utah attorney sending settlement demand letters to accused John Doe Defendants in the Utah ME2 Productions, Inc. bittorrent lawsuits (a.k.a. the Utah Mechanic: Resurrection movie lawsuits).  These settlement letters from the ME2 Production attorney are asking for a settlement of $4,900, which in my opinion is absurd.

Todd E. Zenger of Kirton McConkie has been sending settlement demand letters to ME2 Utah bittorrent defendants.

We remember that back in April, Todd Zenger of Kirton | McConkie sent subpoenas to CenturyLink subscribers to expose the idenities of ME2 Utah defendants.  These cases have been going on since March, and only now is he sending out settlement demand letters to Utah ME2 Productions defendants.  The letters claim that the accused defendant downloaded or streamed a copy of his client’s Mechanic: Resurrection movie.

The letters have the following header:

“COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT OF MOVIE “Mechanic: Ressurection”
Settlement Purposes Only – Not Admissible Under FRE 408

The silly part about this is that FRE 408 refers to the Federal Rules of Evidence, Section 408 which governs settlement negotiations.  This provision allows a defense attorney such as myself to openly speak about a case, even to discuss intimate details about a case without worrying that the conversation would somehow be used against our clients.

Todd Zenger appears to be attempting to make it seem as if his settlement demand letter cannot be used as evidence in the lawsuit.  Perhaps he could write whatever he wants in these letters without having them come and haunt him.  Wrong.  The FRE 408 protection is to allow the plaintiff and defense attorneys to discuss the facts of the case without it later being used against the defendant if settlement negotiations fail.  FRE 408 is not meant to provide Todd Zenger a blank check to write whatever he wants in a letter to scare an accused defendant into settling the claims against him.

So let’s back up a moment.  You received a subpoena notice in April, and now in August, you are receiving settlement demand letters from Todd Zenger.  Who is Todd E. Zenger?

Who is the attorney for the ME2 Utah cases?

The ‘copyright troll’ attorney in Utah who filed these cases is Todd Zenger (“Todd E. Zenger”), and he works for Kirton McConkie in Salt Lake City, Utah. Any e-mails coming from “[email protected],” or calls from his “801-328-3600” phone number (or any 801-328-XXXX phone number should cause you to be wary that you have a Utah ME2 copyright troll trying to scare you into settling with him for thousands of dollars.

Todd Zenger Utah ME2 Productions Settlement Demand Letters

Are Utah ME2 Productions, Inc. cases any different from those filed in other states?

Really, no.  I have already written much about the ME2 Productions, Inc. cases, and the Utah ME2 cases are no different from the cases filed in other states. The following articles should be helpful in understanding the ME2 Utah cases as well:

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW IN ONE PAGE ABOUT YOUR ME2 PRODUCTIONS, INC. “MECHANIC:RESURRECTION” LAWSUIT AND ISP SUBPOENA.

Just like the other cases, the Utah ME2 Productions, Inc. cases are suing for copyright infringement based on the the illegal download of the Mechanic: Resurrection movie, starring Jason Statham and Jessica Alba. The lawsuits are all copyright infringement lawsuits filed in the Federal Courts, and each lawsuit sues for statutory damages of $150,000 (but don’t let that large number scare you, because baked into copyright infringement law is the concept of ‘minimum statutory damages’ as well).

Accused ME2 Utah-based internet users are made aware of these cases when they are sent a letter from their ISP (CenturyLink), which informs them 1) they are implicated as a “John Doe” Defendant in this case, and 2) the ISP is bound by a subpoena to share the account holder’s contact information (and relevant information about their IP address’ involvement in the case) on a certain due date unless the subscriber files an objection with the court (referring to a “motion to quash”).

Why is this article relevant now (and for the next week)?

The reason why I am writing this article is because THIS PAST WEEK, Todd Zenger has been sending settlement demand letters for his ME2 Utah-based copyright infringement lawsuits.  His letters threaten that if a person does not settle, they will be named and served as a “named” defendant in this lawsuit. Most relevant, the deadlines for “payment” are right around the corner.

How did Todd Zenger get my contact information to send me this settlement demand letter?

CenturyLink complies with the subpoenas?

If you remember, CenturyLink was faced with an order signed by the federal judges in the ME2 Utah cases to hand over the contact information of the various John Doe Defendants in the ME2 Utah lawsuits.  I noted on April 24th that Todd Zenger would start sending out settlement demand letters to Utah ME2 John Doe Defendants, and he has.  The settlement letters explain that the accused defendants have been sued for $150,000, and that their ISP has identified them as being the downloader. That their ISP identified them as the infringer was not actually true, as the ISP only provided Todd Zenger with evidence that the accused account holder’s IP address was ‘in the room’ when bittorrent downloading was happening.

Remember — Todd Zenger’s lawsuits do not claim that each John Doe Defendant is the actual infringer, nor does he provide documentation of infringement in the form of a PCAP file that any of the Utah ME2 defendants actually committed copyright infringement or downloaded a large enough piece of the movie to be considered “substantially similar” to the copyrighted film. In the end, if the cases go that far — it would be up to the judges (and us attorneys) to inform them that Todd Zenger is not in possession of the PCAP evidence he allegedly claims to have.

Who are the federal judges assigned to the ME2 Utah Cases?

The Utah ME2 cases (thus far) are evenly spread between the following judges.  I wouldn’t be surprised if moving forward, one judge, e.g., Judge Evelyn Furse will take over the other cases to have uniform decisions across the Utah ME2 cases.

Judge David Nuffer:
Utah ME2 Productions v. Does 1-23 (Case No. 2:17-cv-00198)
Utah ME2 Productions v. Does 1-12 (Case No. 2:17-cv-00224)
Utah ME2 Productions v. Does 1-29 (Case No. 2:17-cv-00190)

Judge Paul M. Warner:
Utah ME2 Productions v. Does 1-26 (Case No. 2:17-cv-00199)
Utah ME2 Productions v. Does 1-14 (Case No. 2:17-cv-00225)
Utah ME2 Productions v. Does 1-22 (Case No. 2:17-cv-00189)

Judge Evelyn J Furse:
Utah ME2 Productions v. Does 1-25 (Case No. 2:17-cv-00179)
Utah ME2 Productions v. Does 1-25 (Case No. 2:17-cv-00169)
Utah ME2 Productions v. Does 1-23 (Case No. 2:17-cv-00178)
Utah ME2 Productions v. Does 1-25 (Case No. 2:17-cv-00158)
Utah ME2 Productions v. Does 1-23 (Case No. 2:17-cv-00157)
Utah ME2 Productions v. Does 1-26 (Case No. 2:17-cv-00168)

Judge Jill N. Parrish:
Utah ME2 Productions v. Does 1-22 (Case No. 2:17-cv-00200)

Judge Dustin B. Pead:
Utah ME2 Productions v. Does 1-27 (Case No. 2:17-cv-00191)

Judge Ted Stewart:
Utah ME2 Productions v. Does 1-24 (Case No. 2:17-cv-00223)

What are my options in defending or resolving claims against me in a ME2 Utah-based case?

If you have read this far, you are likely one of the John Doe Defendants in this case, and thus here are your options on how our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC (or any other competent copyright litigation attorney) can help you in this case.

OPTION 1: FIGHT

In this option, your attorney would fight this case on your behalf. Since the ME2 scam has been exposed, the inherent weaknesses in Todd Zenger’s case are now well known. This option is more expensive than the other options, but it is probably the most satisfying option when you win and ask for attorney fees from ME2 Productions.

However, as I have noted in previous articles, an innocent defendant who fights the claims against him “on the merits” would only get the attorney fees back from Todd Zenger’s ME2 Productions, Inc. client if the dismissal was made “on the merits.”  This means that either a judge or a jury would need to rule that copyright infringement did not occur or that this particular defendant is not guilty of copyright infringement based on the evidence.  Todd Zenger is smarter than this, and thus he knows to dismiss “innocent” defendants before their attorney (me, or anyone else) files a motion for summary judgement in the court.

In sum, don’t be sold the lie that if you hire a particular attorney and pay him his fee, all the money you pay to him will be returned to you if you are dismissed from the lawsuit.  This is simply not true.  Attorney fees are awarded only if the dismissal is “on the merits,” (on the evidence) — not when Todd Zenger dismisses you after he realizes you did not do the download.

OPTION 2: SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATIONS

Settlement negotiations does not mean that you downloaded the movie or that you are guilty of copyright infringement. Rather, it simply means that you want to pay to have the plaintiff attorney dismiss you from the lawsuit. This option can be used by both ‘guilty’ and ‘innocent’ defendants. While I do not recommend an innocent defendant pay ANYTHING to settle the claims against him, I do not judge defendants when they choose this option.

What you should know about Todd Zenger’s lawsuits is that the ME2 Productions, Inc. Utah lawsuits are part of a larger racket or scheme by Carl Crowell of Rights Enforcement (rightsenforcement.com).  If you search that website and click on “clients,” you’ll see the 50-80 movie companies who have signed on to be his client and who have (or will be) filing lawsuits in the coming months and years.

Todd Zenger has access to what other downloads the actual downloader downloaded.  This information is not admissible against the accused defendant in THIS lawsuit (because it is considered “character evidence,” but nevertheless, Todd Zenger has found a way to profit off of this information.

In addition to a settlement for the Mechanic: Resurrection movie actually downloaded, if Todd Zenger sees that another movie of his “common troll” client was also downloaded, he will seek an additional settlement for that movie as well.  This is important to know because for downloaders who have downloaded multiple movies listed on the RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT website, *if that downloader was caught* (which often is not the case), Todd Zenger will ask for a settlement for that additional movie title, albeit at a significantly discounted rate.  This is extra cash for him and his client.  If the defendant does not settle these other “unfiled claims” too, Todd Zenger threatens to file a lawsuit against the defendant for those titles too.

In short, have an attorney take care of the settlement negotiations, and better yet — have your attorney (me, or anyone else) ask Todd Zenger whether there are any other claims against you before you have your attorney open up settlement negotiations.  “Settlement Factory” attorneys are likely not paying attention to this, and they will undoubtedly get blindsided by Todd Zenger’s “unfiled claims” tactic.

OPTION 3: “NO SETTLEMENT REPRESENTATION”

This is the discounted “no settlement” representation route that I discussed here. In the span of 2-3 hours, I would consult with the client, send over a letter of representation to the plaintiff attorney (to stop him from contacting the client directly). I would then draft a letter to the plaintiff explaining that my client did not do the download, and that we are not interested in anything other than a walkaway settlement, meaning that my client pays no settlement. The purpose of this representation is to put Todd Zenger on notice that my client is not the infringer he is looking for.

This strategy was the one described in Professor Sag’s “Defense Against The Dark Arts of Copyright Trolling” paper.  However, that paper wrote a lot about these cases IN THEORY.  IN PRACTICE, sending Todd Zenger a letter claiming that my client did not do it prompts Todd Zenger to follow-up with questions to determine who actually did the download.  Clients that hire me just to write this letter for $750 for the 2-3 hours it would take to gather the facts and write the letter should be prepared to upgrade to the “Option 4” ignore route representation (below) if they don’t want to be on their own after the letter has been drafted and sent.  In other words, my experience is that the “No Settlement Letter” has not been successful when dealing with Todd Zenger’s lawsuits.

OPTION 4: “IGNORE” ROUTE REPRESENTATION

The ignore route is best described as ‘playing chicken.’ I best described the “ignore” route, and how it differs from the “no settlement representation” route here. The assumption with the “ignore” route is that Todd Zenger is not yet naming and serving defendants in this case, so you would hire our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC to monitor the case for you. We would send over a letter of representation indicating that we are representing you in the case, but we would not engage in settlement negotiations.

The intended client for the ‘ignore’ route is the innocent client that wishes to have a more ‘hands on’ engagement with their case over the “no settlement” representation letter route, where their attorney is actively monitoring the case and having active discussions with the plaintiff attorney. Both ‘guilty’ and ‘non-guilty’ defendants can utilize the “ignore” route, as this option is adjustable based on the circumstances of the client. If Todd Zenger decides to start naming and serving defendants, a ‘guilty’ client would likely have me open up settlement negotiations on his behalf, whereas a non-guilty client would instruct me to not settle and adhere to the ‘ignore’ strategy. Obviously getting named and served while in this strategy would be cause to decide whether to shift strategies to the “fight” or “settle” strategy, which is fine.

There is nothing more to comment here.  The “Ignore” Route Representation is a very effective strategy.  It gets you an attorney who is in constant communication with the plaintiff attorney on your behalf, and the goal of this representation is to convince the plaintiff attorney that you are NOT the downloader than therefore you will not be paying a settlement.  I should have called the “ignore” route the “open communication with the plaintiff attorney” route, but that would have been too wordy.

OPTION 5: ARGUE “MINIMUM STATUTORY DAMAGES” REPRESENTATION

I discussed the “argue minimum statutory damages” representation option in this article. The purpose of this option is to take the settlement negotiations away from a misbehaving plaintiff attorney. Instead of negotiating a settlement (where the plaintiff is asking for too much money), we would file an answer with the court admitting infringement, and we would then make the case for the judge to award minimum statutory damages of $750.

I am happy to share that Todd Zenger has been reasonable in any settlement negotiations I have had to have with him, so I have not needed to pull any settlements “off the table” yet for a misbehaving plaintiff attorney.  So far, he is willing to work with my clients and their particular circumstances to come to an arrangement that their pocket books can handle.

The intended client for the “minimum statutory damages” representation route is a client who did the download and either does not want to go through settlement negotiations, or who wants to take settlement negotiations out of the hands of the plaintiff attorney / copyright troll and leave the damages up to the judge to decide. Obviously since we are admitting guilt in this option, it is appropriate for the client to have done the download to use this strategy.

However you decide to proceed, if I can be of assistance or answer any questions about your ME2 Utah case, please let me know.

*UPDATE (APRIL, 2017)* ME2 PRODUCTIONS INC. (FAQ) PAGE NOW UP.

*UPDATE (JULY, 2017)* SECOND WAVE OF LAWSUIT SUBPOENAS sent to CenturyLink ISP subscribers, and are due on 7/14/2017.

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