New Baby Copyright Trolls. Copycats, shame on you.

I am looking at these new cases, and I want each new John Doe defendant to understand that these new cases that I am about to discuss are child’s play. Most of the new attorneys in these cases are newer copycat trolls who are hopping on the success of the bigger copyright trolls we read about daily in the blogs.

While the purpose of this blog is to discuss copyright cases and attorneys who sue John Doe Defendants en masse, I want to point out that this is no reflection on whether or not the attorneys are nice people.  At least one attorney here (Richard Fee) is described to me as being a nice guy, and in the comments section you’ll read about a particular attorney and his sidekick complaining about why I am making a new copyright troll feel ashamed about being a copyright troll.  My response:  Just because an attorney is a copyright troll doesn’t mean he or she is not a nice guy.  Kevin Harrison is a nice guy.  Doug McIntyre is a nice guy, and to many people’s surprise, Mike Meier is a nice guy too.

Depending on who you ask, I’m a nice guy too.  That being said, as soon as these attorneys decide to start filing copyright infringement lawsuits and they start suing defendants rather than focusing on taking down the infringing content which in my opinion is the remedy given to copyright holders by Congress via the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), I leave my “nice guy” hat at the door and discuss the cases and their attorneys for what they are — copyright trolls.

Here are a few new cases to give you a taste (pardon the cynicism):

In the Florida Middle District Court:
Bait Productions Pty. Ltd. v. Does 1-73 (Case No. 8:12-cv-02554)
Bait Productions Pty. Ltd. v. Does 1-41 (Case No. 8:12-cv-02555)
Bait Productions Pty. Ltd. v. Does 1-52 (Case No. 8:12-cv-02556)

Richard Fee of Fee & Jeffries PA (attorney for Bait Productions Pty. Ltd.) — you filed each of these on the same day.  Don’t you think the courts will see that you are copyright trolling and that they will consolidate and dismiss your cases?

Now let’s go to the Georgia Southern District Court: [NEW COURT]
R & D Film 1, LLC v. Does 1-80 (Case No. 4:12-cv-00281)
R & D Film 1, LLC v. John Does 1-26 (Case No. 4:12-cv-00282)
R & D Film 1, LLC v. John Does 1-37 (Case No. 4:12-cv-00283)
R & D Film 1, LLC v. Does 1-45 (Case No. 4:12-cv-00284)

Nathan Belzer (attorney for R & D Film 1, LLC)… Really? Are you really defending your R & D Film 1, LLC client’s interest in stopping piracy? Or in making a quick buck by suing downloaders? Do you even know about R&D Film 1’s other cases? Or did you just take the client thinking that you’ll make a few bucks?

Night of the Templar, LLC v. John Does 1-34 (Case No. 4:12-cv-00285)

Same attorney as above. Nathan Belzer.  I like the name of the plaintiff.

What about the Ohio Northern District Court: [NEW COURT]
Safety Point Productions, LLC et al v. Does 97-177 (Case No. 1:12-cv-02831)

Umm.. what happened to 1-96? Also, the “et al.” in this case includes Voltage Pictures, LLC. Douglas Riddell Jr. (new guy), did you think you would fool us? We have seen Voltage Pictures, LLC cases many times before in D.C.  Do you think you’ll be more successful than Dunlap Grubb & Weaver, PLLC was with this SAME PLAINTIFF?

R & D Film 1, LLC v. Does 142-162 (Case No. 1:12-cv-02832)

Again, the funny Doe numbering by Riddell. This Douglas Riddell guy is funny. I’m going to enjoy his cases.

Safety Point Productions, LLC et al v. Does 1-96 (Case No. 1:12-cv-02820)

Finally, Douglas Riddell Jr. learns how to count from “1.” Again, Voltage Pictures, LLC is a plaintiff in this case.

And,
R & D Film 1, LLC v. Does 1-141 (Case No. 1:12-cv-02822)

Again, Doug Riddell.

Now, let’s go to Illinois Northern District Court:
R & D Film 1, LLC v. Does 1-37 (Case No. 1:12-cv-09036)
R & D Film 1, LLC v. Does 1-92 (Case No. 1:12-cv-09039)
R & D Film 1, LLC v. Does 1-103 (Case No. 1:12-cv-09041)
R & D Film 1, LLC v. Does 1-66 (Case No. 1:12-cv-09043)

Todd Parkhurst (of Michael A. Hierl of Huges Socol Piers Resnick & Dym Ltd.) must be dym-witted to think that they would succeed with a copyright troll case in the Northern District of Illinois. John Steele killed copyright trolling for this federal district long ago — Todd, did you ask yourself when R&D Film 1, LLC contacted you WHY THEY CONTACTED YOU AND NOT JOHN STEELE (OF PRENDA LAW INC.)? For a copyright troll, Steele would have been a better choice.

Hmmm… Also in Ohio Northern District Court:
Safety Point Productions, LLC et al v. Does 1-14 (Case No. 1:12-cv-02812)

Did you notice how R&D Film 1, LLC and Safety Point Productions, LLC cases are each filed by the SAME SET OF ATTORNEYS IN EACH DISTRICT? I smell a new IP monetization company behind the scenes.

That’s it for tonight. Back to work on some real cases. If I’ve offended anyone, I’m not sorry — new attorneys shouldn’t be taking on copyright trolling cases.  If you are really interested in stopping piracy of your copyrighted content, then there are better ways to police your client’s copyrights than to let the infringement continue and then sue the downloaders.  Try a DMCA take down letter one day.  You might find that it works.


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7 thoughts on “New Baby Copyright Trolls. Copycats, shame on you.”

  1. I have a few thoughts on this…

    Having done both sides of this (and currently only on the defense), and interacted with both plaintiffs and defendants attorneys alike – the quality of lawyreing is higher on the plaintiffs side. Even the young pups doing these cases are usually answering to an experienced IP litigator. I know Prenda isn’t popular, but they’ve learned from their mistakes (just like every lawyer) and become good at what they do. The calls I get from individually named Prenda defendants are usually well vetted. If a young lawyer came to me and said they were considering working with a Plaintiff’s firm, my advice would be that it will probably hurt your reputation online (which isn’t that important), but you will at least be under the supervision and guidance of more experienced lawyers.

    In contrast, many of the defense attorneys I have dealt with simply want to get paid to file a motion and settle the case. If the motion to quash / sever gets denied, they would have no idea how to handle the case from there. Most don’t even bother to advise their clients that yeah, if you did download the Work(s), you could potentially be on the hook for some nasty statutory damages thanks to Congress. No matter how unfair it is, no matter how much you think joinder sucks, and no matter how many blogs slam Prenda / Malibu / I don’t know anyone else right now, there are serious penalties for willful copyright infringement. I didn’t write them and neither did the plaintiff – your elected officials did. Though many lawyers view them as no more than a small claims matter, they have the potential to become a serious undertaking with a lot at stake. However, some purported “Doe Defenders” are practically in bed with the Plaintiff’s lawyers and would never seriously litigate a case because that would be “bad for business” and the P lawyers would refuse to settle with them.

    (There are some really good defense lawyers out there. The work of Booth Sweet and Morgan Pietz, for instance, always wows me.)

    Finally, you do have to acknowledge one thing – people are pirating stuff off the internet. A lot of stuff. Congress has written federal laws giving them a right to redress it when their stuff gets pirated. They have a right to use the court system for redress.

    As lawyers, we represent clients – not causes. Granted, we sometimes have the right to select our clients, but there is nothing wrong representing a client to the best of your ability. Someone has to represent the copyright holders until a court decides to shut the operation down, just like how even a serial rapist deserves an attorney and a day in court.

    It’s unfair to attack lawyers just because they represent clients. Those clients have a Constitutional right to access the court system, even if their cause is unpopular.

    Attack the company for being greedy. Attack the legal tactics being employed. Attack the torrent tracking companies and their software. But attacking a lawyer simply for representing a client with an unpopular but legally redressable grievance goes against the purpose of the legal profession.

    1. Jordan, I agree that even the lowest dirt of the earth (e.g., a rapist, a child pornographer) deserves to have representation in court (and I find it funny that you are referring to your own clients as these types of people).

      But while an attorney represents his client, that attorney CHOOSES how he will best represent that client’s interests.

      When an attorney decides that copyright trolling is the best way to proceed against a set of defendants, it becomes the ATTORNEY who should be singled out for his choice of foisting an extortion scheme (or outright scam in my opinion) on the defendants. And, who better to single him out other than his own peers.

      What bothers me more about these cases is that they are quite frankly NOT ABOUT PIRACY. These cases are about enterprising attorneys finding loopholes in the law as to how to separate a guy from his wallet (and more frequently, from his childrens’ education funds or savings for a better life). Copyright trolls STEAL this money from these people.

  2. I agree. Robert, this is tremendously dishonorable of you. You can disagree with legal theories, but to attack other lawyers like this just for the sake of marketing yourself? You don’t know anything about these guys, and I presume you haven’t reviewed all of their work to see just what theories they are using.

    I can expect this out of uneducated idiots who seem to turn the whole copyright litigation thing into a quasi religion. I would expect better out of you, a member of the bar.

    Would you find it appropriate for a media company, who might have a pretty strong opinion about piracy, to try and google bomb your name? Doing it to promote an agenda is bad enough. Doing it as a marketing strategy would be considered to be unethical in at least two of my states of licensure. Not sure about the other three. Definitely not sure how Texas would look at it.

    I know at least one of the attorneys you are trying to attack in this post. Richard Fee. Richard is a highly-respected attorney in Florida. These attorneys are doing a job, for a client. This is copyright litigation, not protecting human rights. Neither side of the issue has a monopoly on nobility, and your public name-calling is most surprising when I know you privately to have a very different persona than you broadcast here.

    If anyone should be ashamed, it is you. In private, I’ve never known you to be anything but reasonable, professional, and courteous. That serves your clients well. But, torrent lawyers talk to each other. If you want to represent clients against these guys, do you think you’ll serve your clients well by trying to engage in this dubious marketing strategy? Or, do you think that these guys might just be a little harder on your clients, since you’re doing this?

    If you have a personal beef with copyright law or torrent litigation in general, then petition congress to change the laws. This isn’t the way to do it.

    Shame on you, man. Shame.

    1. I thought hard and long how to respond, and quite frankly, your comment does not deserve a response. There is a big difference between Google bombing and reporting a copyright trolling case, who the players are, and my opinions on each. Coming into my own home, so to speak, and accusing me of all sorts of ethical issues is not only unprofessional, but it is also rude.

      I think what surprises you is that I actually believe in what I do, who I represent, and the positions I publicly take. And, if you ask any of my many clients, you will find that not only do I take good care of them, but I also protect them and I feel bad for them and I care about them and their well being. Contrast this with a troll who will wreck the lives of anyone in their path. I believe in what I do, and for a while I think you thought I was just playing a role.

      I edited this post because of you and quite frankly the “nice guy” lawyer talk watered down the message I wanted to convey. Very simply, if you go after downloaders while “pretending” to fight piracy (and you do not fight piracy), then you are scum. I also do not think the copyright laws were written to be inflicted upon individual downloaders, and I don’t think the damages of a copyright lawsuit are appropriate when someone clicks “download” on some torrent site (in many cases, not even realizing that what they are doing is illegal).

      I’m all for going after the bad guy. But here, I don’t think the downloader is the bad guy. I think the lawyer and the copyright holder who have chosen to pretend that they are defending against piracy while scamming the internet user [using the cost of litigating as leverage as to why a defendant should settle] is the bad guy. Maybe if they took other avenues to police their copyrights and make their content available through legal channels, and maybe if they went only after the initial seeders, I’d understand and possibly even applaud the copyright holders. But it’s flat out scummy to pretend that you are trying to stop piracy when in reality your only intent is to get thousands of dollars from each downloader. If you filed DMCA notices to try to take down the content before you sued, that is one thing. If you send a warning letter to the infringer to cut it out, that is also admirable. But, when you sue first and immediately ask for thousands of dollars knowing that they are paying up only because they don’t have the resources or the strength to fight you, that is flat out abuse of the legal system.

  3. So…what’s the best way to reply to these charges? I’m so confused of what to do…I received a letter from Comcast Cable with a copy of the subpoena, but now what? Where do I go now?

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