What does this mean to an internet user who has downloaded or streamed this movie using bittorrent, Popcorntime, and/or some other “free” streaming service?
What this means is that they are hard at work contacting production companies / copyright holders for newer movies (a.k.a., “floppers) which have not done so well in the theaters. They convince these companies to license the rights to “enforce” that movie company’s copyrights (think, sue in a “copyright troll” lawsuit looking for settlements). Then they have their local counsel file “John Doe” lawsuits in select federal courts (where the judges are friendly to them, or where the lawsuits are otherwise profitable).
What will happen to me if I have been caught downloading one of these films?
Honestly, at the moment, likely nothing, at least not yet. There are two ways that Carl Crowell and his team of local attorneys across the US have been enforcing their client’s copyrights.
By sending a DMCA notice directly to the accused downloader through the ISP. Here, the DMCA notice directs the accused downloader to visit the Rightsenforcement.com website, and pay a settlement for each title allegedly downloaded or streamed using bittorrent, Popcorntime, and (yes, I have heard about this too, but I do not yet understand the mechanics of it), KODI on an Amazon Fire TV Stick.
By filing a copyright infringement lawsuit for $150,000 statutory damages against a set of “John Doe” defendants who were each accused of uploading and/or downloading a particular movie using bittorrent (or an app like Popcorntime which still uses bittorrent to stream movies to its users).
What is the relevance that this list of movies is changing?
The fact that the list of movies is changing means that there are now new copyright holder production companies who have “signed on” to the business model of copyright trolling. Politics and policy aside, this means that the copyrights on these movies (and the infringement, or the illegal downloading, uploading, duplication, and/or streaming of these movies without a license) will be the subject of future lawsuits.
If you look lower down on the RIGHTSENFORCEMENT.COM client list, you will see titles such as “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Mr. Church,” “The Cobbler,” “Cell,” “Fathers and Daughters,” “I.T.,” “Mechanic: Resurrection,” “Septembers of Shiraz,” “Survivor,” “Automata,” “London Has Fallen,” “Criminal,” “Eliminators,” and more recently, “Undisputed 4,” and “A Family Man.” Each of these movies have been (and continue to be) the subjects of copyright infringement lawsuits across the federal courts in the U.S.
Expect these new movies to be subjects of coming lawsuits as well.
RIGHTSENFORCEMENT represents a ‘common troll’ entity which enforces the copyright rights of other companies who contract with it.
QUICK BACKGROUND: HOW THE SCHEME WORKS.
How I understand this works (source: Dallas Buyers Club lawsuit against copyright trolls Voltage Pictures, Inc., a.k.a., Dallas Buyers Club, LLC). A common troll entity (e.g., Voltage Pictures, Guardaley, MPAA, whoever) contacts the production company for some failed movie that did not make expected profits in the theater. They license the rights to enforce the copyright owned by that movie company. This “common troll” entity would then set up shell entities masquerading as the movie company. These shell entities are LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANIES, which means that if there is a lawsuit against them, or if they get hit for damages, the damages are limited to the limited liability company itself, and not the criminals ‘behind the veil’ of these companies.
This shell entity files multiple “John Doe” lawsuits across the US using German Company Guardaley (and it’s US shell company counterparts) to provide “expert evidence” that copyright infringement happened via the bittorrent networks. They ask the federal judges to unmask the identities of the ISP subscribers who were assigned the IP address which was involved in the bittorrent lawsuit, and they contact that defendant and ask for a multi-thousand dollar settlement for the ‘loss’ they suffered because of their download.
What movies will this ‘common troll’ sue for in the future?
Some of the new movies on the RIGHTSENFORCEMENT Client List are:
Larceny (with Dolph Lundgren, “I will break you.”)
Is Carl Crowell (the figurehead of RIGHTSENFORCEMENT) behind these lawsuits?
Again, likely not. It is also now apparent that Carl Crowell alone (the ‘owner’ of RIGHTSENFORCEMENT and the RIGHTSENFORCEMENT.com website) is likely not the businessman / entrepreneur behind the acquisition of the movie titles. Rather, he and his RIGHTSENFORCEMENT company are most logically patsy figureheads, as was Keith Lipscomb and his now defunct law firm. (On a side note, after all the years we thought that Lipscomb was the villain for the Malibu website, I wonder if he feels like a patsy as well — used and abused by the more powerful copyright trolls, or did Lipscomb make out with windfall profits? It would be interesting to speak to him and have him give his side of the story to ‘spill the guts’ of who these guys behind the RIGHTSENFORCEMENT company and actually are.)
So as much as that was ‘tongue in cheek’ (cliche which has a different meaning if you knew anything about the Malibu lawsuits Lipscomb was filing), realistically Lipscomb is bound by a number of strong contracts where he could probably lose his law license for breach of attorney-client privilege if he disclosed the identity of his ‘client’ — the one who has been filing all of these lawsuits.
If not him, then who? (think, “who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?”)
Anyway, this is still a mystery to me, and it is bigger than me, and I am not the one with authority or power to break the story, expose the MPAA, or investigate the MPAA or the RIAA with any credibility other than my best guesses based on what I see come out in the lawsuit filings and disclosures. It simply must be noted that with the exodus of Lipscomb from the adult film lawsuits and the merging of the RIAA (now embodied in Rightscorp) and the MPAA (with the movie titles) all coming together in Carl Crowell’s RIGHTSENFORCEMENT entity (which is growing in power and in licenses to movie production companies who have signed on with them), I must assume legitimately that there must be a REASON why these movie companies are obediently ‘falling in line’ and signing up with Crowell’s organization. That reason cannot be that there are so many greedy movie production companies in Hollywood who have all of a sudden embraced copyright trolling as a legitimate copyright monetization business strategy.Rather, I believe that reason is that THE RIGHTSENFORCEMENT ORGANIZATION AND ITS MOVIE COMPANY CONTRACT DOES NOT BELONG TO CARL CROWELL, BUT TO THE MPAA/RIAA ENTITIES.
Motions to Quash ISP Subpoena Letters, Malibu Media Lawsuits, Rightscorp DMCA Settlement Notices, and Helping John Does.