Bryan N DeMatteo New York Bittorrent Cases NY

TorrentLawyer Update – July 17, 2020

With COVID-19 on the minds of the citizenry, along with social distancing, masks, and a dizzying set of events relating to social unrest, the court cases relating to copyright infringement have (for the most part) been on pause.

TWO MORE TROLLS IN THE DUSTBIN OF HISTORY

To my biggest surprise, two huge copyright trolls [for the moment] appear to be out of business — Malibu Media, LLC, and Rightscorp. Malibu Media, LLC had their hands full with an appellate case for some time, and the owners keep suing their own attorneys (and vice versa). There is so much more to say here, but it has literally been MONTHS since I have even thought about them. Relevant to you, ABSOLUTELY NO NEW MALIBU MEDIA, LLC LAWSUITS HAVE BEEN FILED IN MONTHS.

Same deal with Rightscorp. Rightscorp seemed to be in such a powerful position, especially after the BMG v. COX Communications lawsuit. However, I hear that the owner of Rightscorp has moved on to other matters, and all of the people I used to speak to there appear to no longer be working there.

On top of that, their website is broken and people who actually want to pay the DMCA notification $20 fee requests sent to them are unable to. Plus, there is nobody answering their phones (“the voice mailbox is full”), other phone numbers are disconnected, and nobody responding to e-mails. In other words, “the lights are on [meaning, they are still sending DMCA notifications… or maybe its a robot running on automatic], but nobody is home.”

STRIKE 3 HOLDINGS IN THE MIAMI-DADE STATE COURT

Strike 3 Holdings, LLC was the copyright holder making the most noise over the past few months. First, in late 2019, Strike 3 Holdings filed a slew of “so-called lawsuits” (really, no lawsuit, just a request for a state court to unmask the identities of thousands of accused infringers) in the Miami-Dade, Florida court.

The immediate confusion was what to do with these ISP subpoena notification letters which went out to hundreds of account holders across the United States [read: not a Florida resident] threatening to disclose their identities to Strike 3 Holdings based on the Florida Bill of Discovery law. But by definition of Strike 3 Holdings’ claims being copyright claims, the Miami-Dade, state-based Florida state court cannot try copyright infringement cases. Plus again, Strike 3 Holdings sued non-Florida residents in a Florida state court (where the court does not have personal jurisdiction over them. Rather, you sue a defendant where the defendant lives, not in some obscure county which enforces state rules which do not apply to that out-of-state defendant.)

The third confusion was the contradiction between what Strike 3 Holdings told the judges when asking the state court to disclose the identities of the alleged downloaders versus what they actually did with that information. Strike 3 Holdings, LLC attorneys told judges they were seeking the contact information to determine who is the alleged infringer (who downloaded their adult films using bittorrent without permission) so that they could decide whether to sue them in their home state’s federal court or not. But then when they received the contact information of the ISP account holders, they turned around and solicited multi-thousand dollar settlements from each account holder.

SETTLEMENT OUT-OF-STATE ATTORNEYS IN THE MIAMI-DADE STATE COURT

To make things worse, filings such as a motion to quash in a STATE COURT should be filed by an attorney LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW IN THAT STATE. The typical settlement-based out-of-state attorneys have been sticking their sticky fingers into the state court rather than referring the matter to a Florida licensed attorney.

We at the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC noticed that these out-of-state attorneys are trying (even today) to profiteer off of the Florida state-based cases by offering to file motions to quash in the Florida courts, even though they are not licensed to practice law in Florida. Some of these same attorneys enlist local attorneys who file motions to quash (likely splitting the ill-gotten fees with the local Florida attorneys) with full knowledge that the result of filing an objection with the court (or a motion to quash) is that Strike 3 Holdings LLC immediately threatens to sue that defendant [trying to hide his identity] in his home state’s federal court. Many of the current Strike 3 Holdings, LLC lawsuits filed in the past few months are the result of a failed motion to quash filed by an out-of-state attorney (or their local counsel) in the Miami-Dade, Florida court. [I just wrote that article today, so go ahead and read it to see if you live in a state where they are suing defendants.]

The problem [with these attorneys practicing law in a state where they are not licensed] is that law degrees are not a national US-based certifications, but rather, each state licenses its own attorneys who are knowledgeable about their state’s laws and procedures. In federal courts (e.g., the US District Court of the District of the Northern District of California, and other federal courts), there is no issue with an out-of-state attorney representing a client [and our law firm does this all the time] because all federal courts run according to the same Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (and the court’s local rules). But state courts are different.

In my opinion, it is possible for an out-of-state attorney to represent a client in a foreign STATE-based lawsuit (e.g., the Florida county court), but really, to file a motion to quash in the Miami-Dade court [which is what we are speaking about here], you really need a Florida licensed attorney to do so. Anything else is less than adequate.

I have spoken to many potential clients who have been implicated as “defendants” in the Miami-Dade Strike 3 Holdings, LLC cases, and every time one of them wants to file a motion to quash anyway (even though I have written so many articles explaining why this is a bad idea), I have forward them to certain Florida-licensed attorneys who I know to be knowledgeable and competent about this area (especially since they dealt with this same issue when Malibu Media, LLC sued defendants in the same Miami-Dade Florida state court [and Maricopa County state court] years ago).

The funny thing is that these same Florida attorneys who dealt with the same Florida “Bill of Discovery” cases when Malibu Media LLC are telling those I send to them that a motion to quash is not an effective strategy. This is the advice which is coming from a Florida-licensed attorney, yet, the settlement factory and settlement-based law firms from other states are pushing for accused defendants to hire *them* to file motions to quash in the Florida courts [even though they are not licensed to practice law in that state]. Amazing.

MY OPINION ABOUT MOTIONS TO QUASH

All I have to say about that topic is to read the article about “Why filing a motion to quash in a Strike 3 Holdings LLC Miami-Dade Florida case might not be the correct approach.” In this article, I discuss what the out-of-state attorneys are doing, and I discuss what a number of Florida-based attorneys are doing as well (there are “settlement factories” in Florida as well masking their settlement-based practices by selling “motion to quash” services for their clients).

Otherwise, things at our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC law firm are going smoothly. I am watching the MG Premium Ltd. copyright holder (who has recently filed the MG Premium Ltd v. Does 1-20 (Case No. 3:20-cv-05134) case), and I am watching the activities of other copyright holders who have been actively monitoring all of the millions of US residents who have been sitting in quarantine and using bittorrent to view their copyrighted videos. So far, everything seems quiet, and quiet is good.


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