One of your own Illinois bittorrent attorneys could be “drinking your milkshake.”

hb-productions-fallen-productions-lawsuits

This article was originally meant to analyze the Fallen Productions, Inc. cases, but to get to these cases, I first did an analysis of the HB Productions, Inc. cases because the same attorneys (Michael Hierl & William Kalbac from “HSPRD”) are representing both movie company copyright holders… and you know my opinion that there is a connection between each of the movie companies who are suing for copyright infringement.

However, in viewing the HB Productions, Inc. cases, I saw something that — while it COULD be nothing at all — stank. As a father and a oil-and-gas Texan, this “stink” is something I am well aware of, and I am writing this article because Illinois attorneys, you could be having one of your own who is “drinking your milkshake.” (Movie Reference: There Will Be Blood.)

When something stinks, we look below the surface and do some real legwork.

When a copyright infringement lawsuit looks “too orderly,” something is often missing from the picture. Here, we have a movie copyright troll who files a pile of lawsuits in one federal court, the judge orderly and cooperatively grants the plaintiff attorney (here, Michael Heirl (“HSPRD”)) permission to send ISP subpoena notification letters to Comcast account holders, and everything moves towards settlement — always with the same Chicago defense attorney listed on the docket — without a peep, without a fight, without a whimper. This is too orderly.

As I have said many times before, there could be nothing wrong here. Just as the plaintiff attorney could be a marketing genius so that coincidentally, all of the movie companies choose that attorney to file the lawsuits against the defendants… so too the settlement attorney.

I also can only see what is written in the dockets themselves — the filings, the PDF files, the documents, and the attachments. I cannot see the correspondences between the settlement attorney and the plaintiff attorney. For all we know, the settlement attorney could also be such a marketing genius that the other Illinois attorney did not catch on that this attorney was representing so many settling defendants and not one defendant that actually fought back.

Am I my brother’s keeper?

Am I my brother’s keeper when that brother (or sister) is in a different state, licensed under a different bar association having different rules? Let’s talk specifics. It appears to me that nobody noticed the neatly packaged HB Productions, Inc. (“Hellboy” movie) Illinois cases which were filed from 10/2019 – 11/2019, where pretty much every case contained the identically timed settlements by the same “defense” attorney. Wouldn’t it be even more suspicious that that same defense attorney never actually fought the Michael Heirl or his HSPRD law firm, even though they filed these same HB Productions, Inc. lawsuits against hundreds of defendants?

Did Michael Heirl achieve a 100% success rate by having every defendant accused of downloading movies respond with “You’re right, let me pay you.” Did NOT ONE client of this settlement attorney say, “I did not do it, it was not me!” Or did that settlement attorney whisper in the ear of each defendant client that “it is cheaper to settle than to fight?”

“Look under your nose.”

This is the part that bugs me. Chicago is a place where the “bittorrent defense” world has some very aggressive attorneys [no names] who fight tooth-and-nail to grab every single possible defendant who gets enmeshed in a bittorrent-based copyright infringement lawsuit in the Illinois Northern District Court. These attorneys really work hard to answer every phone call, hire staff to take free consultations to lure every defendant to be their client, and to boot, they have a pretty good looking website.

Yet, here is one case where the same attorney — under their nose — appears to have taken every case, every settlement, despite the fact that the larger law firm has significantly more money and time invested in advertising for Illinois’ share of the “ISP Subpoena Notification” copyright infringement cases.

Illinois attorneys, were you not interested in fighting your own state’s cases?

I would consider using the word “settlement factory,” to this individual who has beaten the more aggressive law firm without it knowing about this person (a settlement factory is an attorney who pretends to litigate cases, only to lure in accused defendants and convince them in a “bait and switch” way to settle the claims against them — even if they did not do the downloads or view the copyrighted videos they are claimed to have downloaded or viewed). However, I know that both attorneys read my website (I see the logs) and so at least one of them will become quite inflamed by this article.

The question becomes — which of them will become inflamed? The one who’s quiet operation was just interrupted? Or the one who just realized someone is taking away their clients?

I always think four or five times before posting an article like this, but since I can document exactly what I am referring to with EVERY CASE DOCKET in Illinois for the HB Productions, Inc. 2019 cases, let’s see where this goes. Which one of you will become inflamed by this article?

Scenario #1) (Think, “David.”) Could it be the one who has been quietly settling cases under the nose of the other, now angry at me for exposing what could be “cottage industry” cooperation between the plaintiff attorney and that defense attorney?

(For example, “I’ll sue defendants, refer them to you, and you convince them to settle the claims against them. I make the profits, and you charge the clients your legal fees.)

Scenario #2) (Think, “Goliath”) Could it be the one who just realized that [after thousands of dollars put into a professional website, having staff who no doubt cost a lot to answer and capture every phone call, who wrote countless blog articles on the most recent set of lawsuits “15 people sued today by so-and-so copyright troll” every other day, and spending who-knows-how-many-dollars on Google Adwords search engine advertising campaigns], he was beat by someone who does absolutely none of this.

Price wars appear to be happening too (based on what I am told each of you is charging clients vs. what each of you have reportedly charged over the years).

Either way, I am merely poking fun at competition that I sometimes see going on behind the scenes between attorneys who are competing for the same Illinois clients. Funny enough, based on the prices [I am told] each one of you is charging, the fight does not seem to be only related to who gets the client, but rather, who gets the client by lowering your price below the other to be the cheaper alternative? It is even funnier when other attorneys (e.g., “yes, you from California“) jump in and try to undercut Illinois “Goliath” to get the client by offering a flat-rate slightly less than the Illinois attorney charges.

How I even know about this topic.

I will obviously keep some of these things to myself, but I do speak to individuals who call me to ask about other attorneys, and very often, because my client list might be full or because I feel that another attorney would better serve that individual, I will refer them to another attorney (obviously never asking for referral fees or anything other than a “thank you” from that attorney).

Competition and “Survival of the Fittest.”

Point being, some “bittorrent defense” and “ISP subpoena notification” attorneys (you both love your SEO keywords) are fighting with each other on the price, and I will always encourage some healthy competition. When one attorney gets all the business — it doesn’t matter whether it is “David,” “Goliath,” or whoever — one person who “takes all” causes the other one to eventually go out of business.

Yes, Darwinian “survival of the fittest,” you might think, but NO. An individual accused of copyright infringement and sued for $150,000 for the unlawful download or streaming of some second-rate movie that is probably on the $5 clearance shelves of Wal*Mart deserves to have CHOICE between multiple attorneys who can help him (or her) resolve the claims against him (ugh, or her).

Thus, I am telling “Goliath” with this article to pay better attention to your home turf. Because, as the Texans meme goes, “Someone is drinking your milkshake.”

hb-productions-fallen-productions-lawsuits
“I drink your milkshake.” (from, There Will Be Blood.)


[CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: Many of my articles on Torrentlawyer are meant to be educational for the accused downloader. No doubt, this one had a different audience in mind. If you would like to speak to me about your particular lawsuit, or if you have questions on anything else I have written here, you can e-mail me at [email protected], you can set up a free and confidential phone consultation to speak to us about your circumstances, or you can call us at 713-364-3476 (this is our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC’s number].

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 I suspect MG Premium Ltd. will soon be suing defendants.

mg-premium-ltd-lawsuits-coming

MG Premium Ltd. is the owner of the websites containing adult content, [specifically, “Reality Kings,” “Brazzers,” “MOFOS,” “Babes.com,” “Twistys,” and others]. While at the moment they appear to be merely “shaking down” adult film websites [e.g., last year, WAXTUBE.COM; this year, YESPORNPLEASE.COM and/or VSHARE.IO], I cannot help but to think that MG Premium Ltd. will soon be suing downloaders accused of streaming their copyrighted adult films on Tube-like websites. 

[Less likely (because they have already tried this in the US with CEG-TEK), I suspect that MG Premium might again begin sending DMCA settlement demand letters to US-based accused internet users just as they are currently doing in Sweden as I write this article (currently, they are trying to shake down 16,594 accused internet users in Sweden who have been observed downloading their adult film titles).]

mg-premium-ltd. Pornhub has been ordered to expose copyright infringers

Why I think MG Premium’s lawsuits will catch internet users who are STREAMING CONTENT rather than downloading videos on BITTORRENT SWARMS:

In April of 2017, I suggested that in the future, internet users will be caught viewing streamed Tube-like videos.  I suggested that based on the Pornhub lawsuit (MG Premium Ltd. owns Pornhub.com), viewers of adult content would get caught by the Google Analytics tracker which is installed on many websites using Google Analytics to track their users. 

This would be a “next-gen” kind of lawsuit where the copyright holders move past tracking bittorrent use (an outdated method of tracking downloaders), and they would start using the pirated porn websites themselves to track the users by their IP address.

Unfortunately, I was wrong about the tracker, but I was right about the concept.  Instead of Google Analytics, I should have been looking at Cloudflare, the content delivery network (“CDN”) provider which hosts a majority of the content online. 

In the near future, I expect [from mere 1+1 observation] that MG Premium Ltd. will soon launch lawsuits against John Doe defendants… but not based on bittorrent use.  Rather, they will have companies such as Cloudflare turn over the IP address logs of which IP addresses accessed the pirated adult films on which dates and times.

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

WHO IS MG PREMIUM LTD.?

MG Premium Ltd. is a subsidiary of Mindgeek. According to Ernesto from Torrentfreak, “[MG Premium Ltd.] the company, formerly known as Manwin, owns one of the most visited adult websites, Pornhub, and is also the driving force behind YouPorn, Redtube, Tube8, Xtube, and dozens of other sites.”

TechNadu, “MindGeek is the owner of Pornhub, one of the most visited porn websites in the world, as well as the owner of well-known adult production companies.”

NOTE: MG PREMIUM LTD. ALSO USED TO ACT UNDER THE NAME FROYTAL SERVICES LTD., THEN THEY ACTED UNDER THE NAME “MANWIN CONTENT.”

HISTORY: MG PREMIUM LTD USED A COPYRIGHT ENFORCEMENT COMPANY TO SEND DMCA SETTLEMENT DEMAND LETTERS.

The last time I saw MG Premium Ltd. acting in the “copyright trolling” space was in 2014-2016 when they hired Copyright Enforcement Group (“CEG-TEK”) to send settlement demand letters asking for money every time an accused downloader downloaded one of their thousands of copyrighted titles.

At the time, MG Premium Ltd. was using the business entity name “Froytal Services Limited”. I was tracking them for some time trying to warn those downloading their titles that they will receive a settlement demand letter from MG Premium Ltd. and others using CEG-TEK’s services. At the time, they were asking for $300/title allegedly downloaded, but back then, the Strike 3 Holdings, LLC “Tushy, Vixen, and Blacked” lawsuits did not yet get started.

In 2015, the average settlement for an MG Premium Ltd. case was something like $900 (~3 titles displayed on CEG-TEK’s page). Now we are seeing Strike 3 Holdings, LLC lawsuits ask for settlements closer to $30,000 or $40,000 and I have no doubt that MG Premium Ltd. has noticed.

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

MG PREMIUM LTD. IN 2015:

In 2014-2015, most internet users at that time were fearful about $150,000 copyright infringement lawsuits filed in federal courts, as we see today with the Strike 3 Holdings LLC and (and in past years with the Malibu Media LLC lawsuits).

In 2015, MG Premium Ltd. (via CEG-TEK) went around the US federal courts and used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) to “politely ask” the ISPs to forward their settlement demand letter to ISP subscriber’s e-mail address on file.

Using DMCA settlement demand notices [which went into the e-mail inbox of ISP account holders], MG Premium Ltd. accused the ISP account holders of copyright infringement.

They threatened that they could file a copyright infringement lawsuit against them in federal court. However, “to avoid litigation,” they were willing to have the accused downloaders pay CEG-TEK (their agent) a modest settlement anonymously and conveniently using a credit card.

CEG-TEK was the company they hired to set up the settlement payment website and to handle the settlement negotiations should an accused downloader have multiple titles claimed against him (and most did).

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

I knew that tracking the piracy of every one of their adult films was prohibitively expensive because the huge amount of computer resources it would take to track every single bittorrent swarm containing the various versions leaking on the internet of each of their movie titles (1080p, 720, high definiton (HD), low definition, clips, siterips, mistitled swarms, etc.).

Thus, I realized that MG Premium Ltd. merely resorted to selecting adult film videos (their most “popular” titles) which they believed would yield the largest number of settlements. For this reason, I posted an list of titles that MG Premium Ltd. was tracking.

The fall of CEG-TEK and the end of MG Premium Ltd.’s copyright trolling DMCA settlement campaign:

There is a lot of history in what ended up killing CEG-TEK’s DMCA settlement business, but to keep things simple, many ISPs got together and created the Six Strikes Anti-Piracy System where the ISPs stopped forwarding CEG-TEK’s settlement demand letters (cutting off MG Premium Ltd.’s ability to collect settlement payments).

Instead of forwarding the DMCA settlement demand letter, under the Six Strikes System, ISPs simply notified their customer that copyright infringement had occurred on their internet connection, and if it did not stop, they would share their identity with the copyright holder (exposing that internet user to a copyright infringement lawsuit in federal court for $150,000 per instance of infringement).

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

The immediate result was that big ISPs were no longer forwarding CEG-TEK’s settlement demand letters. CEG-TEK then expanded the list of ISPs that agreed to forward its DMCA settlement demand letters, but in the end, to no avail.

While the Six Strikes System was meant to support the copyright holders’ interests by sharing user information with them, instead it killed the business of the copyright enforcement companies. It also caused other non-member ISPs to also start refusing to comply with the DMCA rules [as companies such as CEG-TEK and MG Premium Ltd. were exploiting them] by refusing to forward settlement demand letters in their entirety.

Most notable of these ISPs was COX Communications, which was eventually sued by BMG for refusing to send over DMCA notices to its subscribers. There is no doubt a lot to write about the BMG v. Cox lawsuit, but the focus in this article is on MG Premium Ltd., CEG-TEK’s old client.

The Six Strikes System eventually ended (as far as I know), but before this occurred, the idea of sending DMCA letters to internet account users became a useless endeavor.

The last time I spoke to CEG-TEK, they were waiting for the outcome of the BMG v. Cox lawsuit to determine whether they could continue their proprietary DMCA settlement demand letter “adult film copyright enforcement” business, or whether they would sell it to the highest bidder.

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

I suspected at one point that Malibu Media LLC or other prolific copyright trolls would buy CEG-TEK’s DMCA settlement website and proprietary technology, but due to circumstances of Malibu Media LLC filing lawsuits against its own attorney Keith Lipscomb (the attorney running all of the Malibu Media LLC adult film lawsuits across the US), the sale to Malibu Media LLC never happened. (In full disclosure and in hindsight, CEG-TEK would never have sold their business model to Malibu Media LLC based solely on the fact that CEG-TEK tried its best to keep its operations legitimate and Malibu Media LLC had a bad reputation).

Instead, the CEG-TEK company is gathering dust and happily, no MG Premium Ltd. settlement demand letters have been sent out [to US internet] users since 2016.

WHAT NOW?

So where do we go from here? Honestly, at this moment, nowhere. The BMG lawsuit ended with COX settling the claims against it (giving DMCA settlement demand letters from companies such as CEG-TEK and Rightscorp (music) some “teeth” — because now copyright owners could force ISPs to shut down the internet accounts of those accused of copyright infringement — but those who were running CEG-TEK already moved on to other business ventures.

CEG-TEK is in the dustbin, for the moment, adult film company Malibu Media LLC lawsuits have stopped because Malibu Media LLC again is in litigation with their new attorneys, and Strike 3 Holdings, LLC cases are floundering like a fish-out-of-water with some federal court rulings killing their business method of suing accused downloaders for copyright infringement in federal court.

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

The new tactic of “shaking down” large websites hosting pirated content.

No doubt the new tactic of going after the large websites hosting copyrighted content is a very profitable idea for the adult film copyright holders. Instead of shaking down end-users (downloaders) for a few hundred dollars per video, they can shake down significantly deeper pockets — the adult film websites hosting “free” adult film content [and, consequently making millions of dollars in advertising revenue]… and the adult film movie copyright holders want every penny of that revenue.

I am seeing the same trend on the movie front. I understand that movie companies have been going after the websites that are hosting copyrighted movie content… first The Pirate Bay… and most recently, IceFilms.info (currently down, and possibly down forever).

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

My Thoughts: Staying Away From Downloaders is a Good Thing for Downloaders.

If the movie companies and the adult film companies can succeed in shutting down the website owners who host the unlicensed copyrighted movies AND they stop trying to sue and extort thousands of dollars from each accused internet user who was observed downloading the copyrighted movies, this would be a good outcome.

Of course, millions of users who rely on pirated movies and TV shows would be temporarily unable to access their movies without paying some cable company provider or subscription-based providers such as Hulu, Disney+, Netflix, etc., but at least the focus of the copyright holders will be in the right place — trying to stop the AVAILABILITY of pirated content.

…but “a scorpion cannot act in any way other than a scorpion.”

And yet, out comes the jaded part of me which laughs when I consider that “a scorpion cannot act in any way other than a scorpion.” MG Premium Ltd., Strike 3 Holdings, LLC, and other movie copyright trolls are not going to change who they are. They may shed their skin and change their tactics momentarily (perhaps now moving from tracking accused downloaders on Bittorrent to tracking them using Cloudflare or Google Analytics), but they will not stop going after the most profitable source of revenue… the collective deep pockets of those accused of downloading their copyrighted films.

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

If you are old enough to get the “Little Shop of Horrors” reference, maybe giving the venus fly trap “a drop of blood” at a time to keep it momentarily satiated will stay the coming copyright infringement lawsuits (the “drop of blood” = each movie website who pays the copyright holders a multi-million dollar settlement).

But eventually, I have NO DOUBT that the words “FEED ME SEYMOUR!” will once again begin to ring in the halls of the federal courts across the US as new lawsuits are filed against accused downloaders yet again.

This time, however, I suspect that the copyright trolls will have changed their skin. They will no longer sue accused internet users who used BITTTORENT to download their copyrighted videos, but rather, they will use big-tech companies such as Cloudflare and Google as partners in their “Anti-Piracy” campaign to sue each IP address who visited a particular website and who streamed a particular video on a particular date.

Comparing the Little Shop of Horrors' Venus Fly Trap (Audrey II) to MG Premium Ltd. and their desire for a "drop of blood."
Comparing the Little Shop of Horrors’ Venus Fly Trap (Audrey II) to MG Premium Ltd. and their desire for a “drop of blood.”

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


[CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: If you have a question for an attorney about MG Premium Ltd. or anything else I have written here, you can e-mail me at [email protected], you can set up a free and confidential phone consultation to speak to us about your circumstances, or you can call us at 713-364-3476 (this is our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC’s number].

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.

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