While we are far from the end of August, we have seen a significant shift in the filing trends of the ME2 Productions movie lawsuits, a continuing trend in the UN4 Productions movie lawsuits, growth in the Headhunter LLC movie lawsuits, and an expansion of the Venice PI LLC movie lawsuits. This shift in filing trends is the subject of this NEW BITTORRENT CASE FILINGS UPDATE (8/2017). We also have seen the birth of a new baby copyright troll with just 2 cases in Oregon, “POW Nevada, LLC.”
NOTE: “POW” Nevada, LLC stands for “Prisoner of War,” and the movie they are suing for is called “Revolt (2017), a.k.a. Prisoner of War.” I saw the trailer for this movie, and while I am less than enthusiastic about the prisoner of war alternative title, all I could say is, “Killer Robot steel tentacles — I’m in!”
Are the bittorrent cases coming to an end?
Obviously, it would be wishful thinking to think that we have won the war, and what is that war? Piracy is illegal and it hurts the content producers. However, the solution to piracy is not filing federal copyright infringement lawsuits alleging statutory damages of $150,000 against each and every accused downloader, regardless of whether they did the download or not. And, the solution to piracy is not to force hundreds of families (987 families were sued by the copyright troll lawyers last year) to choose between two bad choices — either empty their savings to pay a multi-thousand dollar settlement or hire an attorney (which also costs money) to stop the plaintiff attorney from coming after the accused defendants.
Bad Defense Litigation Attorneys
Defense attorneys who understand federal practice happily take clients who are accused of copyright infringement. They have read articles I or others have written, and they have read Prof. Matthew Sag’s “Defense Against the Dark Arts of Copyright Trolling” paper, which explains that even if the accused John Doe Defendant actually did the download (or, viewed the movie illegally using Popcorn Time software), they actually cannot prove that copyright infringement happened.
They will then tell their potential clients that “copyright law” gives the winner of the lawsuit all of their attorney fees (which is true in theory, but not in practice). In other words, “pay me $300/hour for the next 100 hours of work, and WHEN YOU WIN, you’ll get all that money back from the criminal copyright trolls who deserve everything that comes to them.” However, what they do not tell you is that attorney fees only get awarded to the party who “wins” the case when it is dismissed by a judge or a jury because they find that based on the evidence, no copyright infringement occurred. In other words, the legal speak for this is that attorney fee awards for copyright infringement lawsuits are only awarded “to the prevailing party who prevails ON THE MERITS.”
These defense attorneys are WELL AWARE that the copyright troll plaintiff attorneys are under instructions to dismiss an innocent defendant after discovery, but before the defense attorney files a summary judgement motion (the first place a judgement “on the merits” can happen).
Essentially, a summary judgement motion tells the court,
“Dear Judge, the plaintiff attorney has searched my client’s computer. He has asked my client questions under oath. He has conducted a video recording of my client answering his questions. With all this, he cannot prove the elements of copyright infringement, so please dismiss the case.”
Again, a plaintiff attorney will dismiss a defendant BEFORE the summary judgement is filed, which means that the defendant will LOSE all the tens of thousands of dollars he paid in attorney fees TO HIS OWN LAWYER!
Bad Settlement Factory Attorneys
I have already covered the topic of “bad settlement factory attorneys” here, and here (and here).
[Essentially, settlement factories pretend that they do not only settle clients, but every client interview leads to the answer of “you should settle,” or, “wait to see if they come after you and send you a settlement demand letter, then settle,” or some variation thereof.
If you retain a settlement factory attorney, you will be paying less for your attorney, but you do not get the value for the amount you are paying. Why? Because 1) the physical amount of time they actually spend on your settlement versus the amount of money you pay gives them a $500+/hour hidden rate because they actually do not negotiate your settlement price. As a result, the amount you end up paying ends up being significantly higher than if you just hired an attorney (me or anyone else) to negotiate a settlement to right way, without cutting any corners. Oh, and the settlement factories will provide you merely a boilerplate settlement agreement (which has you admit guilt, and which potentially opens you up to future lawsuits).
As a result of my articles exposing their methods, these settlement factories have altered their scripts claiming that they do actually negotiate each settlement price, and that they actually do negotiate the settlement agreements, but this is a marketing trick. They don’t, I’ve seen the agreements.]
So why is it relevant that there have only been six (6) cases filed so far this month?
I am writing this article on 8/8/2017, so we are only eight days into the month. However, one of the strengths of our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC is that we pay attention to:
- which plaintiff attorneys are suing for copyright infringement on behalf of which movie production studios,
- what the proclivities of each plaintiff attorney are (do they name and serve defendants, do they drag them through discovery before dismissing, or can we quickly negotiate a dismissal for an innocent client without paying a settlement),
- what the mood of the federal court is where the lawsuits are filed (copyright trolls choose where to sue based on where they believe they will find “copyright troll friendly” judges) [this is called forum selection for those of you who are interested], and
- whether the underlying movie company is willing to pay their attorney to name and serve clients and “drag them through the mud” before dismissing, or whether it is cost efficient, meaning, they pay attention to the bottom line.
Why I just spent an entire paragraph listing our law firm’s strengths is to share that when there is a change in a trend, we notice, and there has been a change in the trend.
So are copyright troll lawsuits dead?
Unfortunately, no, they are simply pacing themselves. Since we discovered in March 2017 the underlying “common copyright troll” link between each and every movie lawsuit filed in federal courts across the US, we have been watching which movie company sues, where, and how often. That way, when a “bittorrent lawsuit campaign” is coming to an end, we see this trend and cut off all funding, even for defendants who may have otherwise settled the claims against them. This might anger and provoke the plaintiff attorneys who diligently read my blog (“hello y’all”), but the simple matter is that I do not take every client who calls my office unlike other firms, and if I sense a campaign is over, I’ll tell them to avoid even my fees and just watch the case and wait for a dismissal. I’ll even teach them how to do it themselves, and I don’t charge them for this.
What trends have we spotted for August, 2017?
Now to the meat of the article. 🙂 Data described here includes ALL FILINGS across the US for July 1, 2017 – August 8, 2017.
ME2 PRODUCTIONS (MECHANIC:RESURRECTION) MOVIE LAWSUITS
ME2 Productions, Inc. cases are coming to an end, or at least that is how it appears. There have been four (4) cases filed in four courts (Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, and New York). *That is ONE lawsuit per state,* a mere “drip” compared to the volume of cases they have filed in recent months.
ME2 Productions Inc v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 2:17-cv-01077) (Washington Western District Court)
ME2 Productions, Inc v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-01810) (Colorado District Court)
ME2 Productions, Inc. v. Doe 1; et al. (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-00320) (Hawaii District Court)
ME2 Productions, Inc. v. Doe-18.104.22.168 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-05701) (New York Southern District Court)
UN4 PRODUCTIONS (BOYKA: UNDISPUTED 4) MOVIE LAWSUITS
The UN4 Productions ISP subpoena cases appear to be in the middle of their campaign. Cases are still being filed (predominantly in the Illinois Northern District Court), but there has also been a splattering of cases filed in Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, New York, and Texas [Texas is actually a new story, as having these cases expand into Texas with Gary Fischman as the plaintiff attorney is a new trend]). Aside from the Texas filings, you’ll notice the list of federal courts matches exactly with the list of courts where the ME2 Productions, Inc. cases are filed.
Expect to see more UN4 Productions, Inc. cases filed, as this lawsuit appears to be targeting “ethnic” defendants with “deeper pockets.” These include Arabic speaking defendants, French speaking defendants, and Spanish speaking defendants.
UN4 Productions, Inc. v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-01689) (Colorado District Court)
UN4 Productions, Inc. v. DOE Defendants 1-20 (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-00331) (Hawaii District Court)
UN4 Productions, Inc. v. Doe-22.214.171.124 (Case No. 1:17-cv-04400) (New York Eastern District Court)
UN4 Productions, Inc. v. Does 1-16 (Case No. Case No. 4:17-cv-02115) (Texas Southern District Court)
UN4 PRODUCTIONS, INC. v. DOES 1-17 (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-05563) (Illinois Northern District Court)
UN4 PRODUCTIONS, INC. v. DOES 1-19 (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-05561) (Illinois Northern District Court)
UN4 PRODUCTIONS, INC. v. DOES 1-26 (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-05565) (Illinois Northern District Court)
UN4 PRODUCTIONS, INC. v. DOES 1-31 (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-05567) (Illinois Northern District Court)
UN4 PRODUCTIONS, INC. v. DOES 1-35 (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-05569) (Illinois Northern District Court)
HEADHUNTER LLC (“A FAMILY MAN”) MOVIE LAWSUITS
The Headhunter movie lawsuit campaign is still in its infancy. Only appearing on the scene recently, most of their cases are also young and in their infancy. This means that even though cases have already been filed across the US, federal judges have not yet approved the plaintiffs’ requests to send subpoenas to the ISPs of accused defendants to unmask their identities. Thus, many of those who have been accused of being John Doe defendants do not even know they have been implicated in their lawsuits.
Headhunter LLC lawsuits in sum have already “dropped their seeds,” and now while they wait for those filings to sprout and ensnare hundreds of families across the US for the “A Family Man” movie (irony), Headhunder, LLC is expanding the scope and bredth of their filings, and they are filing in liberal states (Texas is very conservative as a rule, but the city of Houston, and the various nerve centers are all liberal — that way they can vote Republican in every federal election, but they vote Democrat in-state to provide services to Texas citizens). I have not figured out the relevance of their choosing this demographic to sue for the “A Family Man” movie, but as these cases mature, I’ll begin to see the trends as they unfold.
Headhunter LLC v. Doe-126.96.36.199 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-05314) (New York Southern District Court)
Headhunter LLC v. Doe-188.8.131.52 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-04155) (New York Eastern District Court)
Headhunter LLC v. Doe-184.108.40.206 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-05895) (New York Southern District Court)
Headhunter, LLC v. Doe-220.127.116.11 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00793) (Virginia Eastern District Court)
Headhunter, LLC v. Does 1-17 (Case No. Case No. 4:17-cv-02352) (Texas Southern District Court)
Headhunter, LLC v. Does 1-9 (Case No. Case No. 5:17-cv-00069) (Virginia Western District Court)
HEADHUNTER, LLC v. JOHN DOES 1-10 (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-02985) (Pennsylvania Eastern District Court)
HEADHUNTER, LLC v. JOHN DOES 1-11 (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-02986) (Pennsylvania Eastern District Court)
Stay tuned; there will be many more of these lawsuits.
VENICE PI (“ONCE UPON A TIME IN VENICE”) MOVIE LAWSUITS
I wonder if Bruce Willis knew when he took this role that in addition to the “Once Upon a Time in Venice” movie destroying his reputation, it would also spawn a slew of copyright infringement lawsuits which destroy the lives of hundreds of families across the US. Venice PI movie lawsuits are in FULL SWING and are being accelerated and expanded across the US. This simply means that the Venice PI copyright holder is happy with the initial results of early lawsuits, and they are investing significantly more money into the enforcement of their copyright rights.
What this means for you if you are a defendant in this lawsuit is that the plaintiff attorneys across the US are likely funded and able to spend large amounts of time and hours going after the many defendants for Venice PI, LLC cases. This means that they will likely name and serve defendants who do not settle, and they will drag innocent defendants into and through discovery before dismissing them. Contrast this to a cost conscious copyright holder who wants to spend as little as possible on their copyright trolling campaign — defendants from the cost conscious copyright holders will be dismissed outright and any naming and serving of defendants will be for “face saving” purposes only (e.g., to fool the federal judges into thinking that these copyright holder plaintiffs are “serious” about proceeding against those downloaders who actually downloaded the film).
This copyright holder will likely be a problem for accused defendants.
Because there are so many new defendants implicated by Venice PI, LLC, I am sorting the lawsuits by state so that it is easier to see how many families will be affected by these lawsuits.
Venice PI ISP Subpoena cases recently filed in the Colorado District Court (5)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-01664)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-01787)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-01861)
VENICE PI, LLC v. John Does 1 – 15 (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-01870)
Venice PI, LLC. v. John Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-01850)
Venice PI ISP Subpoena cases recently filed in the Indiana Northern District Court (4)
(NOTE: I was just there a few weeks ago.)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-00284)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-00285)
VENICE PI, LLC v. DOE 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-02274)
VENICE PI, LLC v. DOE 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-02328)
Venice PI ISP Subpoena cases recently filed in the New York Southern and Eastern District Courts (3)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe-18.104.22.168 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-04249)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe-22.214.171.124 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-04076)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe-126.96.36.199 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-05594)
Venice PI ISP Subpoena cases recently filed in the North Carolina District Courts (11)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 5:17-cv-00337)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 5:17-cv-00339)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 5:17-cv-00340)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-11 (Case No. Case No. 5:17-cv-00334)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-12 (Case No. Case No. 5:17-cv-00333)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-14 (Case No. Case No. 5:17-cv-00367)
VENICE PI, LLC v. DOES 1-10 (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-00671)
VENICE PI, LLC v. DOES 1-10 (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-00676)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-10 (Case No. Case No. 3:17-cv-00409)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-10 (Case No. Case No. 3:17-cv-00445)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-11 (Case No. Case No. 5:17-cv-00128)
Venice PI ISP Subpoena cases recently filed in the Pennsylvania Eastern District Court (5)
VENICE PI, LLC v. JOHN DOES 1-10 (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-03322)
VENICE PI, LLC v. JOHN DOES 1-11 (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-03324)
VENICE PI, LLC v. JOHN DOES 1-14 (Case No. 2:17-cv-03325)
VENICE PI, LLC v. JOHN DOES 1-7 (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-03323)
VENICE PI, LLC v. JOHN DOES 1-8 (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-03326)
Venice PI ISP Subpoena cases recently filed in the Texas Southern District Court (4)
(NOTE: I wrote about these cases here.)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-10 (Case No. Case No. 4:17-cv-02285)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-13 (Case No. Case No. 4:17-cv-02395)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-16 (Case No. Case No. 4:17-cv-02203)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-16 (Case No. Case No. 4:17-cv-02244)
Venice PI ISP Subpoena cases recently filed in the Washington Western District Court (6)
Venice PI LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-01074)
Venice PI LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-01075)
Venice PI LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-01076)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-01160)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-01163)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-01164)
Venice PI ISP Subpoena case recently filed in the Hawaii District Court (1)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1; et al. (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-00335), and
Venice PI ISP Subpoena case recently filed in the Virginia Western District Court (1)
Venice PI, LLC v. DOES 1-15 (Case No. Case No. 5:17-cv-00070)
THE ANOMALY: POW NEVADA, LLC (REVOLT)
If I called Headhunter, LLC movie lawsuits an “infant,” then POW Nevada, LLC would be a newborn. POW Nevada is suing downloaders for the sci-fi movie “Revolt.” The movie trailer for this film looks intense. While this movie has not yet appeared on Carl Crowell’s RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT (RIGHTSENFORCEMENT.COM) list of clients, he is indeed the plaintiff attorney for these lawsuits. Thus, once again, this appears to be a “common copyright troll” lawsuit scenario. There are only two test cases currently filed against two defendants, so let’s see what happens with this copyright holder. If the copyright holder’s lawsuits start metastasizing into federal courts across the US, I’ll pay more attention to this one. For now, it’s a newborn and there are only two defendants.
POW Nevada ISP Subpoena test cases filed in the Oregon District Court (2)
POW Nevada v. Doe-188.8.131.52 (3:17-cv-01134)
POW Nevada, LLC v. Doe-184.108.40.206 (3:17-cv-01133)
I would hate to end with a whimper rather than a bang, but really, the answer is that there are movie lawsuit campaigns — each one has its beginning, its peak, and its end.
As you can see, the ME2 Productions, Inc. cases have had their run. Now in full swing are the UN4 Productions cases, the Venice PI cases, and the Headhunter LLC cases. I.T. Productions (the “I.T”. Movie Lawsuits) didn’t go anywhere, and Cook Productions (the “Mr. Church” movie lawsuits) might still be around, although I never sensed much unity of purpose across the various federal courts from these cases.
As far as number of cases filed, this month in August, it appears as if the movie lawsuits are taking a breather. There is definitely a slowdown, perhaps because the college kids are on summer break, and the real lawsuits will start being filed after they return to college. On average, these movie copyright trolls file around 40 cases each month, with occasional spikes of 100+ cases in a “high season,” and 200+ cases filed in the spring.