Have you been hit with a lawsuit by Strike 3 Holdings, LLC? If so, you’re likely feeling angry and frustrated, and you, like me, would like to Stop Strike 3 Holdings Lawsuits from being allowed to continue. I do have a few opinions on how to stop the lawsuit as quickly and inexpensively as possible – and that’s what this blog post is all about.
The answers may surprise you! In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into what Strike 3 Holdings is, why their lawsuits are often seen as an extortion scheme, why lawyers don’t always deliver results when fighting against them – plus I’m sheepishly throwing a bit of blame on judges and the ISPs when answering how to stop Strike 3 Holdings Lawsuits once and for all (without you spending thousands of dollars to either settle or litigate the claims against you). So start reading & get ready to feel comfortable that at least we are talking about this.
What Is Strike 3 Holdings?
Strike 3 Holdings is a company that has made a fortune by bringing federal lawsuits against tens of thousands of people across the United States who get sued for illegally downloading Strike 3’s pornographic films. While some Strike 3 Holdings cases might have legitimate legal claims, in my opinion, the majority of their lawsuits are based on weak evidence and a reliance on the ISPs identifying copyright infringers by IP address. The reality is that most of these suits are nothing more than an attempt to convince a judge that an anonymous John Doe downloaded a handful of their copyrighted adult film movies by showing them a list of infringements that might not have even been downloaded by the accused defendant.
The Strike 3 Holdings copyright holder also relies on a bunch of settlement attorneys. These settlement attorneys work together – one attorney being listed on the other attorney’s website. Really, the whole thing seems to be a cottage industry or a settlement mill designed to extort money from innocent people who can’t afford to go to court or hire an attorney.
TorrentFreak referred to these guys as a “settlement factory,” and websites like DieTrollDie and FightCopyrightTrolls referred to them as “weretrolls.” One attorney has been speaking out about them calling the whole cottage industry a settlement factory of attorneys.
To File a Motion to Quash Does not Protect The John Doe Attempting to Fight Strike 3 Holdings LLC.
The good news is that there are ways to stop Strike 3 Holdings lawsuits once and for all, but they have nothing to do with the advice the traditional attorneys are giving you.
They will tell you that, “by filing a motion to quash the subpoena issued by your ISP, you can put an end to this type of harassment and protect your privacy rights.” Not True.
Or, they’ll say, “you can try negotiating with Strike 3 Holdings for an out-of-court settlement covering all past claims against you,” or “have your lawyer draft up a “no settlement letter” on your behalf.” (We did these in 2017, but they did not work as planned.)
Even if successful, these might have resolved YOUR lawsuit, but they wouldn’t stop the Strike 3 Holdings lawsuits.
Rather, my call to action is to the judges and the ISPs.
Judges – stop issuing expedited subpoenas exposing the name and address of the accused defendant unless the plaintiff attorney could prove that someone actually downloaded their copyrighted titles.
ISPs – stop making it so easy for plaintiff attorneys to sue your customers.
Are Strike 3 Holdings Lawsuits Legal?
Everyone says that Strike 3 lawsuits are nothing more than a settlement extortion scheme, but are they legal? Apparently yes, but maybe if they file these lawsuits without intending to actually fight each lawsuit, then this might not be legal.
The company uses its own version of the “settlement mill” model, where it mass produces lawsuits against individuals for allegedly downloading copyrighted material. The company then offers out-of-court settlements to defendants, and if they refuse to pay up, they risk defending against an expensive court battle with an “uneven playing field.”
Strike 3 Holdings has been known to have the ISPs send out hundreds of subpoenas across the US to have them release customer information so that it can pursue its victims with its lawsuits. To find defendants with “deep pockets,” (as we saw in June, 2023 with the Ohio lawsuits), they seem to use geolocation technology to identify what IP addresses belong to which neighborhood so they can target their defendants. At least one district court did not like this practice calling it too imprecise.
The predatory practice itself of filing copyright infringement lawsuits without intending to take each case to trial is what made me think that this whole thing was a settlement extortion scheme.
Why it is a Settlement Extortion Scheme when you are asked to Settle with Strike 3 Holdings LLC.
Strike 3 Holdings LLC is one of the biggest “copyright trolling” companies out there. It is a settlement mill that uses copyright infringement lawsuits to extort alleged infringers into settling for thousands of dollars or more, even though they may not have done anything wrong.
At its core, Strike 3 Holdings’ business model relies on receiving settlements: people paying out-of-court settlements without publicly admitting guilt or wrongdoing. They make it sound like they are offering you an easy way out when in fact, their goal is to extract as much money from you as possible with little to no transparency or accountability.
The company’s primary strategy involves filing the lawsuits with the next step always being to pressure defendants into accepting a large “nuisance” settlement in order to avoid having to hire attorneys and appear in court. This makes it extremely difficult for defendants who want to fight back, since a motion to quash would be denied by most judges because Strike 3 Holdings has figured out how to sue the defendants where the courts actually have jurisdiction over them.
Why Copyright Infringement Defense Law Firms Do Not File a Motion in Federal Court to Protect Their Clients in Litigation
Strike 3 Holdings, LLC passively encourages this “settlement mill” to continue. The relationship between them and the “torrent defense” attorneys seem to be that of a cottage industry. They file lawsuits against John Doe defendants in an effort to extort settlements from alleged copyright infringers, and the defense attorneys bring them their payday. If the recipient does not respond, Strike 3 uses the full force of the federal court system to throw them into litigation they cannot afford. Unfortunately, many would-be defendants who could fight back have declined to challenge these cases due to their cost and complexity—even when there are legitimate defenses available.
The conclusion of this article is going to be that it is up to the “gatekeepers” — the judges and the ISP companies to stop these lawsuits from continuing.
But for the accused defendant, you are not helpless. Rather, the best way to stop these lawsuits is by mounting an effective defense if you have one. This can include challenging the evidence presented by Strike 3 Holdings, such as asking where the PCAP file is that proves that you actually downloaded the entire video. Also, challenge them on their geolocation technology which has been deemed too inaccurate to identify specific individuals accused of downloading or distributing pornographic content. If you were out of town when they say you downloaded something, then prove that their evidence is faulty. And if you did not do the downloads, then make it clear that you did not actually infringe upon any copyrights.
Additionally, it may be possible to file a counterclaim for declaratory judgment of non-infringement in response to the lawsuit brought by Strike 3 Holdings. Other options include settling with them on your own terms (perhaps paying an amount you can afford) or having your attorney draft a “no settlement letter” on your behalf which could help protect you from future legal action taken by this company.
Who Can Stop the Strike 3 Holdings Subpoena to Kill the Bittorrent Infringement Lawsuits Once and For All?
The truth is that the federal court judges, magistrates can end these lawsuits if they really wanted to. There is more than sufficient case law to conclude that in almost EVERY Strike 3 Holdings LLC lawsuit, Strike 3 Holdings has failed to state a claim because “an IP address is not a person.” In almost every lawsuit, they claim that “somebody” assigned that IP address might have downloaded their copyrighted titles, but they never state that the account holder paying the ISP bill did it. Thus, it might be a jump in logic to state that the account holder is responsibility for something that might have happened on his internet account without his knowledge.
But federal court judges are not the only ones who can stop these lawsuits; ISPs can stop them as well. The only reason these cases continue once a federal court judge issues a subpoena is because they ISPs comply with that subpoena. However, they give no resistance to complying with that subpoena, and I suspect it is because they are being paid by Strike 3 Holdings, LLC for each and every IP address lookup. Why else would Comcast have set up an office in Morristown, NJ for the sole purpose of complying with subpoena requests unless they stood to profit from the subpoenas?
The only ISP that I know about that has made lawsuits difficult for plaintiff attorneys is AT&T. I heard once that while other companies like Comcast might charge $50 per IP address lookup (I have no way of confirming this or documenting this), I was told by a plaintiff attorney that AT&T charges $400/IP address lookup. Thus, by making it more expensive to sue defendants, they could stop the plaintiff attorneys from suing so many defendants and to focus only on those they believe actually did the downloading.
I know there was also a time that one of the Comcast attorneys actually took a stand against these kinds of lawsuits, and he refused to comply with the subpoenas, but this was many years ago when John Steele of Steele | Hansmeier was still filing lawsuits against defendants. If I remember correctly, John Steele took Comcast to court for not complying in time, and Comcast fought back and won. Unfortunately, if I recall, what did they win? They won the right to charge for each IP address lookup.
In sum, while an accused defendant can fight back against a lawsuit filed against him, really it is the job of the gatekeepers — the federal court judges and the internet service providers who have the real power to stop these lawsuits.
Am I letting the lawyers off the hook? Really, no. If a lawyer has a client who has a legitimate defense, then really it hurts the accused defendant when the lawyer suggests that they negotiate a settlement regardless of whether that defendant had the opportunity to litigate the claims against him. So a person who did not do the download should not settle, as a lawyer explains in his blog. But a lawyer who offers to negotiate the best settlement possible when that defendant could fight against the claims against them in this case? That lawyer is should be shamed as being part of the cottage industry and should be called a settlement mill (or a settlement factory, or whatever).
Defenses to avoid paying settlement demands include stating that you did not infringe, challenging their evidence, and proving that you were out of town during the alleged downloads.
A counterclaim for declaratory judgment of non-infringement may be filed in response to a lawsuit brought by Strike 3 Holdings, LLC.
Geolocation technology used by Strike 3 Holdings to identify alleged infringers’ IP addresses has been deemed too imprecise to identify the particular individual who downloaded or distributed the content in question by at least one district court.
An attorney can help decide the best course of action in a particular case, including filing a motion to quash the subpoena, going on trial, or settling the case.
Settle by paying an amount the defendant can afford to pay, negotiation of a settlement covering all past claims of infringement for the adult titles allegedly downloaded with an attorney, and having an attorney draft a “no settlement letter” on your behalf.