malibu-media-anonymous-settlement

Malibu Media, LLC — New “Copyright Troll” on the Block.

Meet your new troll: Malibu Media, LLC

There seems to be a new production company who has decided that it is a better business model for them to start suing internet users (e.g., copyright trolling) rather than selling their cheap flicks on the internet one by one. The company name is Malibu Media, LLC, and while the actual “film” allegedly downloaded probably varies from case-to-case, it appears as if “Tiffany Teenagers in Love” seems to be the primary title they are using in their lawsuits.

 [NOTE: BEFORE READING THIS ARTICLE: If you have not already done so, and you are implicated as a John Doe in a Malibu Media, LLC lawsuit, read these first:
1) “Everything You Need To Know in One Page About Your Malibu Media, LLC (X-Art) Lawsuit [FAQ]
2) “In-Depth Malibu Media.  Their Lawsuits, Their Strategies, and Their Settlements

FOR IMMEDIATE CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: To set up a free consultation to speak to an attorney about your Malibu Media, LLC lawsuit, click here.  Lastly, please feel free to e-mail me at info [at] cashmanlawfirm.com, or call 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.]

Why are the lawyers the same as we have seen with other troll lawsuits?!?

What surprises me is that while this is a new “troll” (using the term loosely,) the local counsel they are using suggests to me that the same entity [behind the Patrick Collins, Inc., K-Beech, Inc., NuCorp, Inc., Raw Films, Ltd., Zero Tolerance, etc. cases] is also behind this case. In other words, this is simply a new client climbing on the bandwagon looking to cash in on the ongoing mass extortion scheme. The rules, however, have not changed.

[HINDSIGHT: (2017 UPDATE:) LITTLE DID I KNOW AT THE TIME THAT GUARDALEY WAS NOT ONLY THE FORENSIC COMPANY BEHIND THE MALIBU MEDIA, LLC LAWSUITS, BUT ALL OF THE MAINSTREAM MOVIE LAWSUITS *AND* ADULT FILM LAWSUITS FILED ACROSS THE U.S. (PRESUMABLY WITH THE MPAA / RIAA AS THE INVESTOR BACKING THE LAWSUITS).]

Pasted below is a list of the cases, separated by the court in which the case was filed in, and who the local counsel is. I have dealt with each one of these guys before, so as far as I am concerned, this is just one more troll to add to the list of companies who are suing defendants.  I have included the newer filings of Raw Films, Ltd. to show that these are the same attorneys.

California Central District Court – Adam M. Silverstein of Cavalluzzi & Cavalluzzi

Malibu Media LLC v. John Does 1-10 (Case no. 2:12-cv-01647)
Malibu Media LLC v. John Does 1-10 (Case no. 2:12-cv-01675)
Raw Films, Ltd. v. John Does 1-10 (Case no. 2:12-cv-01653)

Virginia Eastern District Court – David / Wayne O’Bryan of O’Bryan Law Firm

Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-26 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00160)
Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-26 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00161)
Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-15 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00163)
Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-27 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00165)
Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-08 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00166)

California Southern District Court – Adam M. Silverstein of Cavalluzzi & Cavalluzzi

Malibu Media, LLC. v. John Does 1-13 (Case no. 3:12-cv-00358)
Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-25 (Case no. 3:12-cv-00362)
Malibu Media, LLC. v. John Does 1-15 (Case no. 3:12-cv-00369)
Raw Films, Ltd. v. John Does 1-11 (Case no. 3:12-cv-00368)

Colorado District Court – Jason Aaron Kotzker of Kotzker Law Group

Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-29 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00397)
Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-16 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00399)
Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-30 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00402)
Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-10 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00405)
Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-27 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00406)
Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-18 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00407)
Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-15 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00408)
Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-27 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00409)

District Of Columbia District Court – Jon A. Hoppe of Maddox Hoppe Hoofnagle & Hafey LLC

Malibu Media LLC v. John Does 1-5 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00233)
Malibu Media LLC v. John Does 1-16 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00235)
Malibu Media LLC v. John Does 1-11 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00237)
Raw Films, Ltd. v. John Does 1-3 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00234)
Raw Films, Ltd. v. John Does 1-19 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00236)

Pennsylvania Eastern District Court – Christopher P. Fiore of Fiore & Barber LLC

Malibu Media LLC v. John Does 1-15 (Case no. 2:12-cv-00664)
Malibu Media LLC v. John Does 1-17 (Case no. 2:12-cv-00665)
Malibu Media LLC v. John Does 1-10 (Case no. 2:12-cv-00666)
Malibu Media LLC v. John Does 1-11 (Case no. 2:12-cv-00667)
Malibu Media LLC v. John Does 1-22 (Case no. 2:12-cv-00668)

What to expect based on what these “?attorneys?” have done before.

On a personal note (obviously not legal advice, as each plaintiff above handles cases differently, and each person’s situation is different): We have seen these attorneys before in other cases. If you receive a copy of a subpoena from your ISP indicating that you have been implicated as a John Doe Defendant in any one of these cases, you’ll probably be instructed in the letter to file a motion to quash. As you know from my MANY articles on this blog, you know my opinion that such motions have been a waste of time for defendants (e.g., plaintiff attorney will claim that because you are not yet “named” as a defendant, you have no “standing” to file such a motion, etc., etc., etc.). More likely than not, you will not receive a letter from your ISP, and one of their creditor-like “bulldogs” will begin calling you and threatening to name you as a defendant unless you settled your case against them. They will make up odd numbers on the spot as to how much their “client” will settle for, but remember, these guys and gals (who often do not even sound sober and are probably sitting in a cubicle somewhere reading you a script) are not attorneys and likely do not have authority to settle your case. If you have spoken to me, you know my opinion is that 1) they shouldn’t even be calling you in the first place, and 2) you should not be discussing your case with them.

What else can you tell me about the Malibu Media cases?

[2017 UPDATE] The best way to learn about Malibu Media, LLC is to read what happened to them as it happened.  The list of stories below (in the order I listed them) tell the Malibu Media story in a way that you will understand them.


FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MALIBU MEDIA, LLC:Again, if you have been implicated as a John Doe defendant in a Malibu Media, LLC lawsuit, there are TWO (2) main articles you should read immediately:

1) “Everything You Need To Know in One Page About Your Malibu Media, LLC (X-Art) Lawsuit [FAQ],” and then
2) “In-Depth Malibu Media.  Their Lawsuits, Their Strategies, and Their Settlements.”

FOR IMMEDIATE CONTACT WITH AN ATTORNEY: To set up a free consultation to speak to an attorney about your Malibu Media, LLC lawsuit, click here.  Lastly, please feel free to e-mail me at info[at] cashmanlawfirm.com, or call 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.

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39 thoughts on “Malibu Media, LLC — New “Copyright Troll” on the Block.”

  1. Interesting to see some action in the remaining districts of California. The same attorneys working Central CA filed a batch of cases about a year ago, but they were all very small (10 Does) and it was before things were brought to a head in CAND. It’ll be interesting to see if there is less tolerance for this scam as a result of what has happened up North, and if the judges are now wise to the scam.

  2. In the event they do receive a letter asking to quash by a certain date, and judging by the dates you listed is coming up soon. I would suggest moving forward with the quash to see if cases even hold enough water in the meantime. There probably just fishing for someone to get scared and just hand over there information making there job easy. Agree??

  3. After a short conversation with the notorious non-lawyer Elizabeth Jones in the “litigation department,” at Malibu Media (same person sitting in Florida who handles settlements with Patrick Collins)–it’s clear to me that Malibu Media is in-fact the same company as Patrick Collins and Raw Films. It also makes sense as to why the same players keep showing up representing Plaintiffs on the docket. While unsubstantiated, I have my suspicions that operating as the new kids on the block-“Malibu Media”-is merely part of the smoke and mirrors being used to keep the District Courts from catching on to what these guys are really doing.

  4. Does anyone know how long ISPs are saving log files these days, and any opinion on know time differences effects who the Trolls target? Also, I wonder if anyone has challenged the nature of data collection. Texas does require Private Investigators to be licensed, insured, etc..

    1. Generally, while each ISP’s “IP retention policy” may differ, the general industry standard is that IP data is kept for SIX (6) MONTHS. After this time, the data is purged forever. However, if during this time a subpoena is issued as to a particular date/time stamp, that record is generally lifted and copied into a second database which is kept for a significantly longer time (I have heard numbers such as 10 years, and forever). So while the trolls have three years from the alleged infringement to file suit, they need to act fast or else the ISPs won’t have the data to turn over to them. FYI, Congress is working now as we speak to extend this number significantly.

      1. Two articles for your reference.

        This article focuses primarily on cellular data. However, it’s pretty safe to say that AT&T and Verizon’s Internet businesses are similar to the wireless retention policies.

        http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/09/cellular-customer-data/

        Here is a PDF from the DoJ, to be used as a guide for law enforcement and ISP retention policies.

        http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2011/09/retentionpolicy.pdf

        This article is dated. But, it gives a glimpse of what “industry standards” definitions could be.

        Like Mr. Cashman said, it varies, and varies a great deal. Six months is most likely considered on the low side.

  5. A closer look at those Malibu cases… they’re against the same does repeatedly for different movies. Wayne O’Bryan is back in the saddle again in VA. They asked the joinder question right off the bat. He still didn’t seem to answer the joinder question though.

    1. That is a very bold and sweeping statement. Are you sure they are for the same Doe Defendants are were in other cases? Have you actually checked this out? If so, that could be useful information.

      1. I stand corrected. I think my eyes were playing tricks on me… or I opened the same case repeatedly. (Let’s strike that if we can) I’m reviewing them in excel right, I’ll e-mail you if I find anything. (Not part of it but doing some research)

      2. No problem. I still appreciate the fact that you’re taking the effort to research these topics. You have no idea how much useful information I’ve gleaned from comments such as yours.

    2. From what I’ve read on SJD’s blog and putting two and two together, the reason why the same people are in multiple Malibu Media cases is because of an X-Art movie “megapack.” That’d really be something if plaintiffs had set up a honeypot with like 10 of their movies all packaged together into one torrent file. I’d put the odds of that happening at between “really REALLY good” and “an absolute certainty.”

    1. This case has been going on for a long time but they’re finally getting somewhere after DGW’s attempt at clogging the system with motions. The two cases that everyone should be following are Wong v. Hard Drive Productions and Abrahams v. HDP, both declaratory relief actions. Brett Gibbs from Prenda is the lead attorney for HDP (why they didn’t retain an actual IP litigator is beyond me). He’s up against Steven Yuen who just so happens to be listed on the EFF’s subpoena defense page so it won’t be pretty for HDP. My guess is Yuen will go after Prenda when he’s done with Hard Drive.

  6. I am listed as a Doe in 1:12-cv-00406 – Received the letter from my ISP notifying me last evening. After a full day of panic mode, I’ve calmed down. This website, DieTrollDie and fightcopyrighttrolls.com all have great primers for what to expect.

    As i have read, exactly 0 of these cases have gone to trial. I fully intend to keep my mouth closed and not negotiate with anyone.

    1. Careful. Your plaintiffs are BRAND NEW and the only reason they have not named anyone *yet* is because the cases are brand new. If you look at their sister cases (Patrick Collins, Inc., K-Beech, Inc., Third Degree Films, Zero Tolerance, NuCorp, Berlin Media, etc. etc.), you’ll find that these are the SAME plaintiff attorneys who have filed your case, and they name people all day long. Read our article “What to do when a copyright troll “names” you as a defendant in your bittorrent lawsuit.” for examples of where your plaintiff attorneys HAVE named people.

  7. Hey JOhnnyDough,
    It looks as tho we are on the same docket. Have you filed a motion to quash or hired an attorney? I have begun doing so or at least wait to hear what my attorney recommends… when I get one, I am looking to get an attorney here soon and possibly have them contact houstonlawy3r for some advice on how to handle this.

    1. @Stormy, that is certainly a tough question. In short, you are asking about what is known as a “motion to quash.” While a motion to quash is technically the right answer, in practice they have been nothing but a disaster. I could explain this to you over the phone if you would like. If you look on your docket, you’ll find many people who have asked for it, but almost nobody who has gotten it. There are also a thousand other reasons why NOT to file such a motion for very practical reasons which I have written before in other blog entries. In short, the technical answer is yes, but the practical answer is that if you knew the repercussions, you probably would never decide to do so, even with Judge Forrest’s promises of privacy.

      Obviously none of this should be taken as legal advice to be acted upon, because I do not know the facts of your case, and I do not know your particular situation.

  8. Robert and JOhnyDough, I am was contacted by my ISP about 2 weeks ago regarding Case no. 1:12-cv-00402. I have talked with a Lawyer and showed him this Blog post, he reviewed several of the previous cases, and looked into the history of the lawyer which filed these.

    He mentioned that he would be willing to file a Motion to quash, but looking at previous cases he did not believe it would do much, and they would probably still get my information, and eventually start harassing me. He said don’t accept anything over the phone, and get any offers in writing if they do call.

    I have not retained him yet, as until I am named in a law suit there is not much to do.

    As for my ISP, I contacted the person on the letter, and they informed of they would only be turning over the information requested and the session information from my modem which shows that my login was using that ISP. They went on and mentioned the do not keep web history (like sites visited and data downloaded).

    At this point I am waiting for the next letter, or phone call before I react.

    1. cv402,

      Thanks for the input on that CV. So basically what you are saying is that there is nothing we can do right now. I have read also that a motion to quash wont really do anything and it might actually single you out for another lawsuit? Another thing, “naming you” what exactly does that mean? and is that likely to happen?

      I have read a ton on this and all the advice has been the same from people going thru this. Basically:
      -we WILL get harassed via mail and phone.
      -Don’t answer/reply or call them
      -Don’t even talk to them as you may say something to incriminate you
      -They will try to get an easy settlement, Don’t Settle.
      -Ignore them

      They only thing you need to not ignore is official court documents.

      houstonlaw3r if there is any more advice you can give that would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

      1. While I do not agree with everything you said (I am not one to recommend ignoring because the more effort they spend trying to come after you, the higher your costs are if and when you decide to settle — I’ve seen this — the plaintiff attorneys are OCD regarding their databases and their records of who said what to whom, and they punish those who make them do more work), the one thing you need to pay attention to is WHAT HAVE YOUR PLAINTIFFS DONE IN THE PAST, WHERE (IN WHICH COURTS) HAVE THEY DONE IT, AND WHAT IS YOUR RISK OF THEM DOING THIS TO YOU WITHIN THE NEXT *THREE* YEARS.

        Where I differ from other attorneys who bill their clients by the hour [making you not worth their time and thus they tell you to simply “ignore” because 1) it is too expensive for them to take you on as a client, or 2) they want to focus only on the litigation stage of this lawsuit and the “John Doe” phase is too tedious for them] is I believe strongly based on my results with these cases (and my clients would tell you the same thing) is that there is a big difference in the experience of defendants represented by an attorney (e.g., having plaintiffs call you versus having them call me), and there is a big benefit to having an attorney unemotionally explain the risks of each move of theirs and tell you when you need to act and when you don’t. Plus, there is a lot they could do to you to make your life miserable that they wouldn’t dare to do to an attorney. Just a few things to think about. Did I mention we attorneys also have our eyes on many more cases than a defendant does (90% of what I read each day does NOT end up in a blog), and thus we understand what has worked in which courts and what has gotten others into trouble? *ALL THIS* is relevant and takes place *before* a client is named.

      2. Robert

        I don’t think it can be fully ignored.

        What I am expecting is that at some point I will get calls, letters or something saying I will be named in the lawsuit. When I say named it will go from be john doe 1-30 (in my case) to 1-29 and my real name. At that point they will have filed papers in court listing me as a defendent.

        Hopefully that will never happen. If I get called asking for a payment to avoid the lawsuit, I will be asking for it to be sent to me in wirtting. Once I have that I will retain a lawyer and ask them to respond. Also I will record any conversations I have with these smucks just so that I have a history of the conversation.

        The point that houstonlay3r made about them not notifing us about being listed in a lawsuit, I am not sure how that would work in Colorado, but I am guessing being they have my information from my ISP some how or way I will hear from them before they would list me on the CV.

  9. I did a little digging into the PA cases on PACER and determined that Bob’s comments regarding a handful of the Malibu Media dockets being linked to an alleged “site rip” were spot on. Here’s a quick breakdown of the info:

    Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-15 (2:12-cv-00664) –
    1 allegation of copyright infringement

    Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-17 (2:12-cv-00665) –
    1 allegation of copyright infringement

    Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-10 (2:12-cv-00666) –
    1 allegation of copyright infringement

    Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-11 (2:12-cv-00667) –
    103 (!) allegations of copyright infringement

    Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-22 (2:12-cv-00668) –
    57 allegations of copyright infringement

    Interestingly, a cursory review of the numbers in 0068 and 0067 indicates that Malibu’s math seems to be a little off. Firstly, the Plaintiffs admit that many of the titles cited the Does in 00667 and 00668 are alleged to have pirated are “unregistered.” Secondly, even when the number of registered and unregistered titles listed in these documents are tallied, the actual number seems to fall short of the 103 or 57 instances cited in each docket. (Someone should probably double check this though, since I just eyeballed things on my computer screen.)

    Another interesting aside: when one compares the copyrights cited in 00664-00668 to the full list of Malibu Media’s copyrights listed on United States Copyright Office’s website (see: http://cocatalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?ti=26,0&Search_Arg=%22Malibu%20Media%22&Search_Code=NALL&CNT=25&PID=nT32hiz1WgwyUodNVBCH2ng009Y&SEQ=20120319124933&SID=3), it’s GLARINGLY obvious that Malibu has many, many more copyrights sitting in its troll war chest. Given that, in contrast to the copyrights cited in this case (most of which were registered in 11/2011), several of Malibu’s copyrights were registered as recently as 2/21/2012, we we can likely expect more allegations, including more site-rip allegations, to be brought against Does in the months ahead.

    Yet another interesting aside, which may give us some insight into the trolls’ evolving litigation strategies: although there’s a significant (approx. 1 year) gap between the “date of publication” and “date of registration” for several of the works cited in 00664-00668, that gap all but disappears (approx. 2-3 weeks) when you look closely at the more recent registration records. The exceptions in this case all appear to pertain to pornographic films with particularly embarrassing titles: “Daddy’s Office,” for example, was “produced” in 11-2010 but not registered with the USCO until 2/2012!

    I could be wrong, but I suspect this is rooted in:

    (1) Trolls realizing that the shorter the gap between production and registration the less likely they are to face accusations in court that they’ve sought copyrights on older workers SOLELY for the purpose of using the court system to extract settlements /en masse/ from potentially innocent Does;

    (2) Trolls realizing that mixing a few older but potentially embarrassing pornographic titles in with site rips that contain several more recent / titillating ones can enhance their bargaining position with Does when it comes to negotiate settlements. These titles, of course, also work well for stand alone allegations of copyright infringement.

    Has anyone looked into the Malibu and related cases in other states? It’d be interesting to see if the cases here line up or diverge from one another. At this point, I’m wondering whether or not trolls are opting to “diversify” litigation strategies in an attempt to (a) minimize the risks associated with this kind of quasi-legal extortion and (b) prolong their ability to use the federal court system as their own private ATM.

  10. Regarding your Judge Forrester reply, I believe that, by and large, the SDNY judges are too sophisticated and savvy to let this trolling practice take root and clog up their dockets. With Mike Meier’s cases you are beginning to see a tightening of a stranglehold grip that I believe (hope?) is going to result in a premature termination of most of his pending lawsuits. Of course Kotzker’s chances out in the EDNY are unpredictable unless his case gets referred to Magistrate Judge Boyle which I believe at least one has already (trust me, Mr. Kotzker’s allegations and legal premises are going to be rigorously evaluated).

  11. I just a got a letter from Verizon and is now included in this case: No. 2:12-cv-01647-JAK-JEM Anyone else in the same case?

  12. Does anyone know the dollar amount that Malibu Media is suing for for each allegation? Or what they generally settle for in Pennsylvania?

    1. Referring to a case by Plaintiff’s name does not help. Copyright trolling scam is run by lawyers, plaintiffs on the record have little to nothing influence. And different troll lawyers are slightly different. For example, Chris “punk” Fiore is a joke. On the other end of the spectrum, Randazza has a pit-bull jaws and should not be ignored.

  13. Take a look at the Colorado cases listed above. Browsing the cases in RFC Express, it looks like most Does have been dismissed without prejudice. Anyone have an idea what happened?

  14. We received a notice from Comcast yesterday containing the subpeona from Malibu Media’s people. We have been mulling over the best way to handle this, and we are speaking with a lawyer later today. Here are our thoughts in summary:

    1. Our lawyer does not specialize in IP law, and there is no way he is familiar with Judge Lasnik’s federal motion. How much comfort should I take in this brand-spanking-new ruling as of Jan 18?

    2. What is the likely difference in punishment if the said x-art “megapack” was downloaded, as opposed to just one or two videos? (There are 54 counts of infringement)

    3. Would it be pertinent to look into removing our router’s password, or going to the lengths of getting rid of the culprit PCs?

    a. Is it too late to look into a VPN?

    4. How helpful is it if it turns out that some of the videos were not registered to Malibu, or only recently registered? @Gavin C. ‘s comment on Mar. 19 (the full weight of this is evading me; pardon my ignorance)

    5. In the lawsuit, it mentions that: “Defendant’s IP address as set forth on Exhibit A was used to illegally distribute each of the copyrighted movies set forth on Exhibit B.” Is this referring to the instantaneous “seeding” function that occurs once the download is complete? There was certainly no selling of bootleg copies on a street corner occuring, if that’s what they’re implying.

    I have done a lot of research on the matter in the past 24 hrs, and any sense of guidance on what to do next or comfort would be unimaginably appreciated. I have lots of respect for the sheer raw intellect of this forum; as such I am seeking the people’s counsel. Thank you!!!

  15. Why is this allowed??? Isn’t it legal extortion It causes so much stress! Who’s to say that they don’t plant these things and then revisit later? Why doesn’t someone initiate a class action suit?

    1. I am sad to say that the old litmus test was whether it was “legal or lawful (meaning, ethical).” Now, it is simply an inquiry into “can they do this and get away with it?” Since the answer is yes, this is why this article is here.

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