Category Archives: Issues

Motions to Quash in one page (FAQ); when NOT to file a motion to quash.

What is a Motion to Quash, and how is it relevant in my copyright infringement lawsuit?

The first thing an accused defendant learns when reading the subpoena letter sent to him by his ISP is that:

1) He was implicated as a one of a small set of “John Doe” Defendants in a copyright infringement lawsuit.
2) The copyright infringement lawsuit was filed by a copyright holder apparently owning the rights to a movie he clicked on or downloaded.
3) He is being sued for $150,000 for the download of that movie.
4) He may or may not have actually downloaded that movie.
5) His ISP is being forced by a subpoena ordering them to turn over his true identity (along with other relevant information).

After asking around, he learns:
…6) There is a way to stop the ISP from handing out his contact information, and that is filing an “objection with the court.”
7) The “objection with the court” that he would file is called a motion to quash.

Motions to quash are not the answer, and here is why:

A motion to quash is the first piece of “legal jargon” an accused defendant grasps onto.

The accused defendant thinks, “I am going to quash the subpoena!”  Then the next logical thought is to search the internet for “motions to quash,” or “forms on how to file a motion to quash,” etc.  What that accused defendant gets in the search results is almost never his answer on how to file the motion to quash, but some enterprising attorney who decided that he will use this term to lure him in as a paying client for many months to come.

Faced with the prospect of hiring an attorney to file a motion to quash for him, the accused defendant never asks, “should I file a motion to quash?”

“Should I file a motion to quash?”

Obviously as an attorney I need to dance around this issue because this blog is not to be considered legal advice.  However, NO, contrary to popular thought and mob rule, it is my belief having defended “copyright troll” bittorrent-based copyright infringement cases for now OVER SEVEN YEARS that motions to quash are not an effective tool for stopping your ISP from handing out your information to the plaintiff attorney.

What exactly is a motion to quash?

Simplifying a bit, a motion to quash in the context of a bittorrent lawsuit tells the court that they do not have “PERSONAL JURISDICTION” over you.  In other words, a motion to quash informs the court that the plaintiff attorney / copyright troll filed the lawsuit against you in the *wrong federal court* (and plaintiff attorneys have been forced to reimburse the ISPs for making this mistake).

[The actual context is that this would be a motion to quash (or nullify) the subpoena which is forcing the ISP to hand over your information.  The attack itself is on the validity of the subpoena, not the copyright troll or the plaintiff.]

The question a judge must determine when faced with a motion to quash is “does this John Doe Defendant live in the jurisdiction or territory in which my federal court has power and control to enforce the laws over that defendant?”

When is a motion to quash successful?

A motion to quash is successful if the accused John Doe defendant filing the motion to quash lives in a state OTHER THAN where the lawsuit was filed.  For example, an accused defendant who is living in New York, and not in California where the lawsuit was filed), then the California federal judge will sever and dismiss that defendant from the lawsuit.  The motion to quash the subpoena as to that John Doe Defendant will be successful, and the ISP is released from its obligation to hand over the information for that John Doe Defendant to the plaintiff attorney.

The dismissal will be, however, “without prejudice,” meaning that the copyright holder will still have three (3) years from the alleged date of infringement to sue that defendant in the federal court of the state in which he or she lives.

When is a motion to quash not successful?

A motion to quash a subpoena is not successful when the accused “John Doe” defendant lives in the state in which he was sued.  Here, the judge will determine that the federal court has personal jurisdiction over that defendant, and the motion to quash will likely be denied.

The effect of this is that as soon as a motion to quash is denied, the internet service provider (“ISP”) [who initially held back that accused defendant’s contact information from the spreadsheet of names and addresses provided to the plaintiff attorney] will now separately comply with the subpoena as to that John Doe Defendant who filed the motion to quash and lost.  Think of this as the ISP sending that defendant’s contact information in a FedEx package to the plaintiff attorney stating, “this is the guy who filed the motion to quash and lost.”

Isn’t it illegal for the ISP to hand out my information?  Can I sue my ISP if they comply with the subpoena?

This is actually an interesting topic which I first researched many years ago.  The answer is that it depends on whether the federal judge in your case considers the ISP to be under the rules of the Cable Act or not.  You would think this is an easy answer, “yes or no, does an internet service provider fall under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934?” but judges in the bittorrent copyright infringement cases have had different opinions of this over the years.

Unrelated to the very muddy area of under which Title of the Communication Act do ISPs fall, this issue has become relevant to our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC practice in defending bittorrent defendants.  The reason for this is that a cornerstone part of our strategy is not only understanding the personality and proclivities of the plaintiff attorney (will he name and serve, what are his motivations, etc.), but also to understand how each federal judge sees the validity of the bittorrent-based copyright infringement cases.  Judges who quote a certain set of case law (which places the ISPs in the context of being under the Cable Act) or who quote Arista Records LLC (sorry for the Wikipedia link) are usually plaintiff / copyright holder friendly.  Those that do not are more “John Doe” Defendant friendly.

Anyway, in 2011, I once looked into suing an ISP for disclosing the identity of a John Doe Defendant, and I was hit with a wall of messy, disorganized law with inconsistent case law rulings on this topic (whether ISPs fall under the Cable Act, whether they are to be considered under Title 2 of the Communication Act, or under some other classification).  In short, even if I were successful, in the end, the defendant would have only had damages of $1,000, so it made no sense to fight the lawsuit (the time alone to file it would have cost the defendant the slap-on-the-wrist money he would have made from being right).  Anyway, just a fun tidbit.

The plaintiff attorney’s response to a motion to quash

Historically, the plaintiff attorney who sees an accused John Doe Defendant file a motion to quash will claim that the defendant lacks “STANDING” to file the motion to quash.

He will claim that the John Doe filing the motion to quash was never named and served in the lawsuit (and might never be named and served).  They will point out to the court that the purpose of the “JOHN DOE” placeholder, by definition, is that this is an unnamed defendant.  In order to determine who the actual defendant-to-be-named is in the lawsuit, they need the subscriber’s identifying information to determine whether this subscriber was the downloader or not.

[A plaintiff attorney deciding to “NAME AND SERVE” a defendant is outside the scope of this article.  For more information on what to do when you are named and served, click here.]

As a result, federal judges sometimes buy this argument and they deny the motion to quash, or they find some other justification to deny the motion to quash.

A quick comment about the personalities of the plaintiff attorneys who represent the copyright holders:

Plaintiff attorneys / “copyright trolls” have a bad reputation because they have been known to incorporate their personal hurt feelings and egos into the prosecution of their client’s cases.

The purpose of a “copyright troll” / bittorrent-based copyright infringement lawsuit is to extract as many multi-thousand dollar settlements as possible in return for the $400 filing fee their client paid to file the lawsuit.  Most of these attorneys work on a commission basis, so the time they spent “fighting” the case is court is wasted time.

When a defendant files a motion to quash, this forces the plaintiff attorney to oppose the motion to quash.  Following most oppositions comes a hearing (which sometimes takes up the entire morning, even though the hearing itself on the motion to quash is 5 minutes long).

Thus, any defendant who files the motion to quash ends up with a vindictive attorney who is looking to recoup that time lost in dollars and commissions.  This translates into an overly hostile or vindictive attorney who increases the settlement price to “nail” that defendant who filed the motion to quash.

Instead of a motion to quash, what should the first step of defense be?

Great question.  Rather than jumping to file a motion to quash, the accused “John Doe” defendant needs to figure out whether he actually downloaded the movie that is the subject of the lawsuit.  Next, whether he downloaded it or not, he needs to speak to an attorney to determine what his options are.

Most attorneys who understand that motion to quash attempts are usually unsuccessful will instruct the client to forego filing the motion to quash, and to move right into defending the claims against the client.

There is a long period of time in which the “John Doe” defendant remains anonymous.  During this “John Doe” phase, the anonymity of the accused John Doe Defendant is preserved.  Hiring an attorney at this point (before being named and served) provides you with so many more options than you might have after being named and served.  During this time, your plaintiff attorney has a window in which he can investigate whether each accused downloader actually downloaded the file or not; he purportedly does this in order to determine which John Doe Defendants to name and serve, and which not to name and serve.

Really, this is the bulk of where the bittorrent-based copyright infringement lawsuits spend their time.

During this “John Doe” phase of the lawsuit, the courts issue FRCP Rule 4(m) extensions over and over until the judge forces the plaintiff attorney to name and serve some defendants or stop wasting the court’s time.  During this time, an attorney defending a John Doe Defendant has the opportunity to obtain whatever evidence the plaintiff attorney has on that defendant, and he has the opportunity to explain that it was not the accused John Doe Defendant who did the download.

If the client actually did the download, the defense attorney has other tools at his disposal (e.g., the “no settlement” route, the “ignore” route, or the minimum statutory damages strategy, if the plaintiff attorney names and serves the defendant or otherwise won’t negotiate a settlement).  Obviously, negotiating a settlement for a defendant who actually did the download is usually the quickest way out of the lawsuit (watch out for settlement factory attorneys and so-called defense attorneys who actually represent the copyright holders (“weretrolls”), but it perpetuates the whole copyright troll scheme.

Why FIGHTING the case is not the best answer either (even with an innocent defendant).

Lastly, there is always the option to “FIGHT,” or litigate and defend the claims against you, like a hero slaying a “copyright troll” dragon (I did not make up that analogy).  However, there are bad attorneys here too, because they really want you to pay them an hourly fee for the next few hundred hours.

They’ll claim that they are defending your case because the copyright holder does not actually have evidence of copyright infringement (which is true — what they actually have is called “snapshot evidence,” which is not copyright infringement).  They will also explain that copyright law gives the prevailing party (the “winner”) the attorney fees they paid to their attorney.

Thus, they can spend $20K-$30K on the litigation, and they’ll recoup it from the copyright troll when they win their case, right?? Wrong.

Copyright Troll / Plaintiff Attorneys know EXACTLY WHEN to dismiss an innocent defendant to avoid having to pay attorney fees.

The plaintiff attorneys are very aware of the attorney fees which are awarded to the winner of the lawsuit.

Thus, they know EXACTLY WHEN to dismiss an accused defendant (usually after being named and served, right after discovery (think, depositions, interrogatories, evidence gathering, and questions under oath, etc.) once the defendant establishes that he actually did not do the download).

This means that the plaintiff attorney deprived the wrongly accused “innocent” defendant of ALL the money and months of anguish he paid to his defense attorney.

The defendant is dismissed, taking nothing back for his losses.  However, the defense attorney sits there fat and piggish having taken every penny the named defendant had.

Chances are, that attorney never explained to the named defendant that such a dismissal could happen, or else the defendant may have chosen to settle early on (and the defense attorney would have made significantly fewer dollars in fees).

Why FIGHTING based on the argument that the plaintiff attorney has no evidence is also dumb.

This deserves to be its own post, but I’ll get straight to the point.  Representing a client who did the download based on the argument that the plaintiff attorney has no evidence is foolish, and here is why:

Even if I were to charge a defendant only $100 to defend the claims against him (if I said pro bono or no fee), and I defended that client on the basis that the plaintiff attorney had no evidence against my client [based on the “snapshot evidence” theory]:

*EVEN IF I AM RIGHT* (that “snapshot evidence” is insufficient to prove copyright infringement), MY OWN CLIENT WHO DOWNLOADED THE MOVIE WOULD BE THE ONLY EVIDENCE THE PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY WOULD REQUIRE TO PROVE COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.

Why?  Because after being named and served, there is something called “discovery,” where among other things (such as having a computer forensics expert check the computer for the infringing copyrighted title), my own client would be forced to answer questions under oath, AND ONE OF THOSE QUESTIONS WOULD BE, “DID YOU DOWNLOAD THE XYZ FILE USING BITTORRENT?”

At that point, once your client admits guilt in a deposition, or otherwise under oath, there is nothing to do but to settle.  Snapshot evidence at that point becomes irrelevant to whether this defendant downloaded the film.

As one attorney cleverly said it, I believe today on Twitter:

“I can be the most educated, smartest, wizardly genius attorney ever to exist.  No legal argument can change the fact that my client downloaded the film.”

IN SUM, INSTEAD OF THE MOTION TO QUASH, CONSIDER YOUR CASE.

Thus, for someone who received notice that their ISP is handing out their information to the plaintiff attorney, don’t worry about the motion to quash.  Ask yourself whether you recognize the movie you are accused of downloading, and whether you downloaded or watched the movie without a license (e.g., with bittorrent, or with Popcorn Time, etc.).

Whether the answer is yes or no, don’t wait.  Hire an attorney, explain your situation, and let the attorney either 1) convince the plaintiff attorney that you did not do the download or will not otherwise settle (a.k.a., the “no settlement” representation), or 2) have the attorney settle the claims against you.

This time while you are an “anonymous” John Doe is precious to you; don’t squander it.

Fighting (defending the claims against you in litigation) only makes sense when 1) you understand that EVERYTHING YOU PAY YOUR ATTORNEY TO DEFEND YOU WILL BE LOST, but you do not want to give in and settle the claims against you, and 2) when you want your attorney to file an answer, admit guilt, and argue $750 minimum statutory damages (when you did the download and the plaintiff attorney is unwilling to settle or negotiate fairly).

All other times, one of the “ignore” routes or “settle” route is the more economical approach.

THIS HAS BEEN A LAWSUIT-NEUTRAL ARTICLE WRITTEN FOR THE TORRENTLAWYER UNIVERSITY.

FOR IMMEDIATE CONTACT WITH AN ATTORNEY: To set up a free consultation to speak to an attorney about your matter, click here.  Lastly, please feel free to e-mail me at info@cashmanlawfirm.com, or call 713-364-3476 to speak to me now about your case (I do prefer you read the articles first), or to get your questions answered.

CONTACT FORM: Alternatively, sometimes people just like to contact me using one of these forms.  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.

 

The life of a subpoena, and at what point you are no longer anonymous.

TIMELINE: ISP SUBPOENAS AND ANONYMITY

Any “copyright troll” bittorrent-based copyright infringement lawsuit really revolves around the subpoena which moves from the court to the accused John Doe Defendants.  Tracking a subpoena can help an accused defendant understand the timelines of when they can fight, when they can settle, when they can ignore, and whether they are anonymous or not at each step.

A Subpoena is first introduced to the court for approval.

A subpoena is first introduced to the court when the plaintiff attorney files the lawsuit and asks the court for permission to obtain the identities of the various internet users accused of downloading the copyright holder’s movie or copyrighted work.

The Subpoena, once approved by the court, is sent to the ISP.

The federal judge approves the subpoena (usually by rubber stamp), and the subpoenas are then sent to the “abuse” department of the various ISPs (e.g., AT&T U-verse, COX Communications, Comcast, etc.).  These ISPs in receipt of the subpoena are ordered to hand over the accused subscriber’s information to the plaintiff attorney.  They send a notice to the account holder that a subpoena has been received, and that they are under a duty to comply with the subpoena by a certain date unless the account holder files a Motion to Quash the subpoena before the arbitrary deadline they set (usually the deadline is 30 days from the notice sent to the subscriber).

The ISP forwards the Subpoena to the accused account holder giving him a chance to file an objection with the court.

You (the account holder) receive the notice containing the subpoena, and you learn that you are implicated as a “John Doe” (an unnamed defendant) in the Copyright Holder Corporate Entity v. Does lawsuit.  Here, you learn that you can supposedly stop the ISP from handing out your information to the plaintiff attorney by filing an objection with the court, a.k.a. a “Motion to Quash.”  At this point, you are still anonymous.

The ISP complies with the Subpoena and hands over your contact information to the plaintiff attorney.

Assuming you do not file the Motion to Quash (there are many articles on this website explaining why you might not do so), the 30-day deadline set by your ISP will lapse, and your ISP will comply with the subpoena.  They turn over your information to the PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY (but not to the court or anyone else).  You are still anonymous.

The exact moment your anonymity expires.

At this point, the life of the subpoena is over, as it has served its purpose and the plaintiff attorney is in receipt of your contact information (and whatever other information your ISP was forced to hand over to it).  At this point, you are a “John Doe” defendant in the lawsuit, and only your plaintiff attorney knows your real identity.  YOU ARE STILL ANONYMOUS at this point (as to the court and the world, as the plaintiff attorney is not going to share your information unless he decides to name and serve you as a defendant in the lawsuit).

Your anonymity expires once the plaintiff attorney realizes that he or she cannot get a settlement from you, and based on their evidence that you are the downloader of their client’s copyrighted movie, they file an amended complaint with the court with your name as a defendant, and they serve you with a copy of the complaint.  At this point, you have been “named and served,” and you are no longer anonymous.  At this point, you need to decide whether it makes more sense to stand and defend against the claims against you (consider the attorney fees issue), or to negotiate a settlement and amicably step away from the lawsuit.

NOTE: If you choose to fight, be aware of Prof. Matthew Sag’s paper entitled “Defense Against the Dark Arts of Copyright Trolling,” and the considerations surrounding using what are otherwise “valid” defenses to copyright infringement which likely DO apply to your case.

[CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: If you have a question for an attorney about your lawsuit and options on how to proceed, you can e-mail us at info[at]cashmanlawfirm.com, you can set up a free and confidential phone consultation to speak to us about your case, or you can call us at 713-364-3476 (this is our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC’s number].

ISP Subpoena Timeline & Anonymity Timeline

Future-Pacing Copyright Infringement Tracking Amazon Fire TV Devices.

Identifying the risks of installing and using Kodi software on an Amazon Fire TV device, and specifically, how a copyright holder can sue for copyright infringement is the subject of this article.

amazon-fire-tv-image

We are able to forecast and predict with accuracy what movies will be the subjects of future lawsuits.  We are able to predict trends based on filing patterns of which copyright holders have sued, where they have sued, and how their attorneys will react based on legal precedents in a particular court or with a particular judge.

And, we have been proactive with developers of software, even getting into public heated arguments with the developers (e.g., with the Popcorn Time software developers as to why they put their customers at risk for being sued (at the time, for promoting a fake VPN feature which masked the browsing of copyrighted titles, yet exposed the IP address of a user of that software during the actual acquisition or streaming of that same movie).

This ability to forecast the future with some accuracy is not based on genius, insight, or brainpower, but it is simply based on hard work, analyzing the data, watching the trends, and understanding the technology and seeing where things can go wrong causing people to be sued.

How copyright holders can catch those using Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV Device.

In March of this year (2017), I wrote about the Dangers of Using Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV Stick device.  I actually did this analysis as a favor to one of my readers who asked me whether it was safe to do so.

For the last 60 days, literally thousands of you have read my article, either because you were interested in the topic, or were considering doing so on your own Amazon Fire TV device.  The conclusion of the article was that you likely would not be sued for copyright infringement from using Kodi on your Amazon Fire TV device, but doing so (even with a VPN on the router) still exposed your identity to copyright holders because Amazon.com tracks every device of theirs and links them to the account holder who made the purchase of that device.  And, even IF Amazon was trustworthy in that it protected the privacy interests of its users, I expect that they would comply with a subpoena for that same information when it is signed by a federal judge in a copyright infringement lawsuit.

Yet some of you have asked me to further elaborate on the topic, namely, how can someone actually get caught using Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV device.

QUESTION: How would the copyright holder know that an Amazon fire TV stick had been used to access the copyrighted content?

Pornhub lawsuit exposes the dangers of Google Analytics

FACTOR #1: GOOGLE ANALYTICS

It took me a few seconds to think through your good question. My whole premise in the “WHY INTERNET USERS CAN GET CAUGHT VIEWING STREAMED TUBE-LIKE CONTENT” article is that copyright holders can make use of Google Analytics to determine the IP addresses of those who have viewed and streamed copyrighted video. One of the features that makes Google Analytics dangerous is that it can tell a lot of information about what kind of ‘machine’ was used to connect to the offending web page containing the copyrighted content. Was it a PC? a Laptop? a Tablet?

The “Why I would not put Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV Device” article was a bit forward thinking, in that I am addressing a problem that has not yet happened (some would say this has been the strength of our entire site — seeing a problem and reacting to it before it actually becomes a problem).

So far, I don’t think you WOULD get caught using Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV Device. But because your Fire TV device uses your internet connection, it exposes your ISP and your IP address to the copyright holders. Through that, they can subpoena the ISP to obtain the account holder who was assigned that IP address, along with other information RELATED TO the offending device. E.g., the MAC ADDRESS of the device used to make the connection to the pirate site.

While Google Analytics does not yet identify specific devices other than “Computer,” “Tablet,” “Phone,” they are always advancing their technology to provide ever more specific demographic information about the internet user who is visiting a particular site. And as much as I love the Google Analytics platform, I trust Google ‘as far as I could throw them.’ Meaning, I wouldn’t think twice before being cautious that Google would respond to a subpoena from a copyright holder and provide demographic and device-specific information in response to a subpoena signed by a federal judge.

Amazon Tags Devices With User Accounts
geralt / Pixabay

FACTOR #2: AMAZON TAGS ALL ITS HARDWARE AND ASSOCIATES ALL TAGS WITH AN AMAZON ACCOUNT.

Also, in the above paragraph, I mentioned the MAC ADDRESS of the Amazon Fire TV device. With the MAC ADDRESS, you can identify what make and model of the device is being used. Is the device a network card in a computer? A USB dongle attached to a computer? An Amazon Fire TV device? See my point?

Lastly, as much as I love Amazon for their amazing services offered to their Prime membership members, I also wouldn’t trust them with my personal information. Specifically, they tag EACH AND EVERY AMAZON DEVICE THEY SELL. Thus, if my Echo (“Alexa”) device were stolen and found, they know that device was sold to me. They also link my account information to each and every Fire TV device and E-book reader I purchase, so even if I wipe the device, root it, and reprogram it with a better operating system, the HARDWARE (INCLUDING THE MAC ADDRESS) would not change. Thus, if I committed a crime with that Fire TV device (or stick, or e-book reader, etc.), Amazon would immediately know that device that was involved in the ‘crime’ was sold to me via my Amazon.com account.

ANSWER: A copyright holder can, through the courts, gain access to 1) Google Analytics, 2) your ISP, 3) your Amazon.com account, or any combo thereof to identify you as being the owner of the infringing device.

In sum, I am not saying you will be caught today if you put Kodi on your Amazon Fire TV device. I am saying that the technology is lining up in a way that a person CAN be caught using Kodi on their Amazon Fire TV device in the near future. The tech is already in use. The companies already are known to be working with authorities to comply with subpoenas and other identifying information about their users. It is only a matter of time before Amazon Fire TV stick users start calling me (like Popcorn Time users are now) asking me to represent them in a lawsuit because they have been sued for copyright infringement.

How, hypothetically, could I get tracked and sued using Kodi on my Amazon device?

NOTE: I don’t like doing this kind of analysis, because invariably, some enterprising ‘troll’ attorney will follow my instructions and will start suing based on how I said it could be done.  However, because the steps to do this are tedious, and since a federal judge would be reluctant to allow a copyright holder to engage in what is called a ‘fishing expedition,’ obtaining the approval to send out these subpoenas would no doubt be met with skepticism and resistance.

If I were a copyright holder, I would identify the Kodi links to the servers or websites which are sharing my copyrighted content.  I would then file a lawsuit naming those companies or websites as defendants, and ask a judge to have them turn over the Google Analytics data surrounding those particular pages sharing my client’s copyrighted content.  Step 1.

Then, using the Google Analytics IP address data (technology currently available and in use), I would see the IP addresses and the demographics of which IP addresses are visiting that particular page (or downloading copyrighted content from it).  Seeing the IP addresses, I would have the judge authorize me to send subpoenas to the ISPs to discover the identities of the subscribers that were assigned those IP addresses on those particular dates and time.  Step 2.

I would then have the ISPs provide the MAC ADDRESSES of the network cards assigned to each subscriber (I do know ISPs have the capability to provide this, as 1) I have seen it provided in certain bittorrent lawsuits over the years, and 2) my own Comcast ISP goes so far as to have “Station IDs” or names of computers which have connected to their network routers, along with identifying information about the machines which have connected to their router.  I know this when I was troubleshooting a connection issue on my own router.)

From there, I would sort and identify the device as an Amazon Fire TV device (or an Apple TV device, etc.) based on the MAC ADDRESS or identifier of the device.  I would then (with authorization of the court) send a subpoena to Amazon requesting each individuals’ account information, specifically asking 1) who purchased that device, and 2) which e-mail addresses or Amazon.com accounts have registered the device since the purchase.  Step 3.

If Step 2 is not allowed, or if the ISP no longer has the information (e.g., if they purged the subscriber data according to their IP address retention policy), I would alternatively get the identifying information of the infringing device from Google Analytics.  [As far as I know, as of writing this article on 5/5/2017, this information is not yet available, but the technology to capture it is present.]  I would then contact Amazon.com and follow Step 3, above.

In Summary

No I don’t think you would get caught using Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV device.  But because you COULD get caught and sued (now, AND in the future when technology advances, even slightly), why risk it when there are ways of obtaining the same content but taking Amazon 100% out of the picture (eliminating all risk of exposure)?  As soon as you introduce the Fire TV stick (or any device registered to a company, whether that is Amazon, Apple, Samsung, or any other manufacturer), you increase your exposure to be sued.  This is true, even if you are using a VPN on the router to which that device is connecting to access the pirated content (because the manufacturer still knows that device is registered to YOU).

REVISITED: Beware of the defense attorney “copyright trolls” too.

This post was originally written as a “rant” against volume-based “settlement factory” attorneys.  At the time, the kind of damage they caused to accused defendants in bittorrent cases was unknown, as was their existence.  Even today, settlement factory defense attorneys continue to feed inquiring ‘John Doe’ subpoena recipients false information.  And as a result, settlement prices paid to copyright trolls often end up being artificially inflated.  As of 4/17/2017, I have revisited the topic, and it is still as valid today as it was one year ago.

After writing this article, Ernesto from Torrentfreak wrote an article entitled, “BEWARE: PIRACY DEFENSE LAWYERS CAN BE “TROLLS” TOO.“.  -Rob Cashman

Beware of Attorney Settlement Factories

I started writing this article because there is too much conflicting information floating around the web about whether to settle a bittorrent-based copyright infringement lawsuit.  The attorneys who are causing this confusion are trying to profit from the current broken state of the copyright laws.  These attorneys use fear tactics and manipulation to scare a John Doe Defendant into settling with their law firm.  

Credible Websites Teach That Settlement is NOT a Requirement

There are credible websites that blog almost daily on copyright troll issues.  

see “Fight Copyright Trolls,”

see “Die Troll Die.”

Copyright Trolls Do Not Take Cases To Trial

Because copyright infringement lawsuits are often based on scare tactics, and because copyright troll attorneys name only a small sliver of defendants sued, ignoring a copyright troll and his threats can be a good strategy.

IGNORING A COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT CLAIM AGAINST YOU CAN OFTEN BE A VIABLE OPTION TO RESOLVE THE PROBLEM (WITHOUT SPENDING $$$$ ON A LAWYER). 

Thus, beware of the so-called “defense” attorneys who tell you that you will lose your home and your life savings if you do not settle.

What are “SETTLEMENT FACTORY” defense attorneys?

NOTE: In this section, I give you the red flags to look for to spot these attorneys, and I hope this helps clarify some of the conflicting information you get from speaking to different attorneys.

“SETTLEMENT FACTORIES” are what I call law firms who focus on providing apparent “low cost settlements” to clients (as you will see, the settlements end up not being low cost).

These settlement factory law firms hire multiple attorneys to solicit and lure accused ‘John Doe’ defendants into hiring them “for a cheap and anonymous settlement.”

From a business perspective, more attorneys for the business owner means the ability to make more phone calls to solicit more accused defendants [to process more settlements], and the ability to “capture” more clients for their law firm means more profits.

SETTLEMENT FACTORY law firms PRE-ARRANGE settlement amounts.

Rather than actually negotiate a good settlement for their client, settlement factories run what I refer to as a “volume business.” They PRE-ARRANGE an often inflated settlement price with the copyright holder, so the copyright troll will agree to the arrangement.

In return, the copyright troll allows that so-called attorney to not have to negotiate the settlement for each client, since they have a prearranged agreed-upon “settlement amount.”

Why settlement factory attorneys are PART OF THE PROBLEM of copyright trolling.

This arrangement creates a “cottage industry,” where the defense attorney and the plaintiff attorney (who are supposed to be opponents) are allies for profit.  Settlement factory attorneys are part of the problem of copyright trolling; they are not part of the solution, and the only one that gets hurt is the accused defendant.  Why?  Because with settlement factories, the accused defendant almost NEVER gets the lowest possible settlement amount.

SETTLEMENT FACTORY law firms DO NOT NEGOTIATE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS either.

What compounds the problem is that negotiating the settlement is only HALF of the solution. The SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT itself must also be negotiated.  However, settlement factory attorneys do not negotiate settlements either (even though they tell you they do).

Why settlement agreements need to be negotiated.

Settlement agreements need to be negotiated because “boilerplate” settlement agreements contain ADMISSIONS OF GUILT and UNFRIENDLY LANGUAGE.

These boilerplate settlement agreements do not protect the client because they often:

  1. do not properly identify the accused defendant by name,
  2. they do not contain proper confidentiality clauses (to stop the plaintiff attorney from suing again or asking for more money later on), and
  3. they do not release the accused defendant from liability.

Settlement factory defense attorneys.

As a result of this article, settlement factory attorneys will take steps to hide their scheme.

For me, where writing this article will become infuriating is that suddenly these attorneys and their “beefed up” staff of hired attorneys will now start advertising 1) that they spend the time to actively negotiate the best settlement for their client, and 2) that they take the careful time to negotiate the terms of the settlement agreement so that the accused John Doe Defendant will be released from liability and the negotiated terms will properly protect the client’s rights.  Sure they will.

‘RED FLAGS’ TO SPOT A SETTLEMENT FACTORY

I know settlement factory attorneys follow this blog, and thus all I could say is “caveat emptor.”

At the time of writing this blog, here are the items to look for:

1) How long that attorney has been in practice [REMEMBER: “Copyright Troll” mass bittorrent lawsuits targeting multiple “John Doe” defendants have only been in existence only since 2010, so any attorney who claims he has been fighting copyright trolls for 20 years is obviously lying.],

2) Check the attorney’s blog to see the HISTORY of his articles — was he one of the first attorneys who fought these cases, or is he a new “me too” copycat attorney who is standing on the shoulders of giants? (after reading this, no doubt these attorney will now add “older” articles to make their website look older),

3) Check the blog article itself for “SEO OPTIMIZED” content, or “KEYWORDS” placed into the article.  Ask yourself, “was the purpose of this article to provide me valuable information? or was the purpose of the article to bulk it up with keywords so that search engine spiders will reward the author with first page rankings on the search engines?

2017 UPDATE: When I mentioned SEO OPTIMIZED content, I am referring to the fact that settlement factory blog articles lack content.  In our blog, we have over 200+ information-packed articles that we wrote TO EDUCATE.  Obviously many clients came to our firm as a result of our articles, and this is fine.  However, settlement factories have ONE MOTIVE ONLY: TO PROFIT.  Look for sites that advertise to you rather than inform you and educate you.

4) Last, but not least, check the EARLY ARTICLES of the blog to see whether the attorney actually tried to fight these cases and hash out the legal arguments, or whether they were merely reporting on the lawsuits already in existence to attract new business.  I call these attorneys “me too” attorneys, and you can usually spot them because all they do is report the cases.

AUTHENTICITY AND ORIGINALITY

In 2010, I and a small handful of attorneys were contacted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (better known as EFF) to help understand and resolve the developing copyright troll problem.  This was back when ISPs began sending letters out to their subscribers informing them that their ISP would be handing out their contact information and their identity to the plaintiff attorney / copyright holders unless they filed objections (or, “motions to quash”) with the courts. Thus, I credit the EFF for even noticing the copyright troll problem and contacting us to figure out what to do about it.

COPYCATS / FOR PROFIT ATTORNEYS

Unfortunately (or, fortunately, however you see it), that initial list of 20 attorneys has grown to over 100+ names, and some attorneys have negotiated with EFF to list them as representing clients in multiple states, hence increasing their visibility in an ever-growing list of lawyers. Watch for these attorneys — they are usually the “settlement factories” I referenced above, and again, caveat emptor.

REPUTABLE ATTORNEYS DO EXIST

Let’s pretend, for a moment, that you did not like me or my use of pretrial strategies (often making use of federal procedure) to defend a client. Or, let’s pretend for a moment that I could not take you as a client (e.g., because my case load was full, or because I did not have time to speak to you about your matter).

Because there were only a handful of us attorneys on the original EFF list who knew anything about these copyright infringement lawsuits, over the years, we have become friends and have helped each other out on many of the lawsuits in which we represented both John Doe Defendants and “named and served” defendants. Some of these attorneys are still around today, and some have moved on to other areas of law.  Some of them have stopped taking clients because fighting mass bittorrent cases has become more burdensome than the effort was worth (especially when some copyright holders do not play fairly in discovery [think, Malibu Media, LLC]).

PIPEDREAMS AND REFERRALS

Finding “that special client who will pay my fees to fight this case to trial” for many attorneys has become an unrealized pipe dream, and is something us attorneys often discuss.  If you truly want to fight your case, I have nothing wrong with either me, or anyone else I trust representing you in your lawsuit (I will happily tout another attorney’s merits and advanced skillsets when speaking to clients). AND, I will happily refer you to someone if I find that one of my peers would better assist you.

NO REFERRAL FEES

I *DO NOT* believe in referral fees, nor do I “share the workload” with other attorneys (this is code word for “I referred you this client, so pay me a piece of the legal fees you receive and call it paying me for my “proportional efforts.”).  This is something that is often done in my field which, in my opinion, needs to stop.

Over the years, I have upset many non-copyright attorneys who know nothing about these cases.  In the typical fashion, they call me with a client they would like to refer to me (coincidentally, asking to share in the fees, but not in the work).  I have rejected each request.

So in hindsight, while I thought I’d be reintroducing “copyright troll” subpoenas and basic copyright infringement concepts to clear up some conflicting information found on the web, instead I am providing a clear warning to those who are being actively solicited by law firms. A law firm simply should not be calling you or contacting you to solicit your business.

BACK TO IGNORING A CLAIM OF COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

Copyright trolls sue many John Doe Defendants in one case, but only a small number of them are named and served.  When you are evaluating your options, STOP AND CONSIDER THE OPTION OF *NOT SETTLING*, BECAUSE *NOT SETTLING* A CLAIM OF COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT CAN OFTEN BE A GOOD IDEA.

Similarly, in a lawsuit, DOING NOTHING MAY OFTEN BE YOUR BEST STRATEGIC MOVE, as counterintuitive as that might sound.  Again, this is because much of the ‘copyright trolling’ problem is based on a bluff — namely, that the copyright holders have evidence against you, and they will take you to trial if you do not pay them money to settle.

A Settlement Factory attorney makes NO MONEY if you ignore.

When you are bombarded with attorneys and law firms who actively market their fear-based services by using “Google AdWords” (ethically or unethically “buying” more well known attorney’s names as keywords so that THEY show up at the top of a search).  Then, those attorneys have their “assistant” attorneys calling you and pushing you to anonymously settle the claims against you, think twice. Is this person trying to get you to be yet one more client in their “volume” business??

WHY WE DISCUSS THE “IGNORE” OPTION WITH EVERY POTENTIAL CLIENT

In every one of my calls, I discuss what I call the “ignore” option which in many people’s scenario is a viable option. In many cases, I even push a client towards the “ignore” side of things.

[NOTE: There are many political reasons I have for this, such as “not feeding the troll,” or “not funding their extortion-based scheme,” or simply because I have been trying to change the copyright laws to limit or hinder a copyright holder’s ability to accuse or sue an internet user for the violation of that copyright holder’s copyrights, but NONE OF THOSE REASONS ARE REASON WHY I SUGGEST SOMEONE I SPEAK TO IGNORES THE CLAIMS AGAINST THEM.]

WHEN TO CONSIDER THE “IGNORE” OPTION.

Sometimes an individual’s circumstances allow them to ignore the lawsuit filed against them (or the copyright violation claimed against them in the DMCA notice).  Such factors include:

1) the individual’s financial situation,

2) whether they live in an apartment or a home,

3) the location of that apartment or home,

3) the state in which the plaintiff attorney has his law firm,

4) whether that copyright holder authorizes his attorneys [and pays their fee] to “name and serve” defendants and move forward with trial,

5) for strategy purposes, e.g., the psychological impact of having one or more John Doe Defendants ignore the claims against them (while other defendants rush to settle in fear of being named and served), or

6) simply because ignoring is the only option in that person’s situation.

IN SUMMARY

In summary, this has been a stream of thought article, but if you have made it to this point, you now understand the difference between a defense attorney who does settlements (among other forms of representation), and the settlement factory.

If the attorney you are speaking to is running your case as a volume business, or he is pushing you towards a “quick anonymous settlement” without showing you the merits of either 1) IGNORING, or 2) DEFENDING the claims against you, beware.

And if you need help and want my honest opinion about your case, or whether a particular attorney is engaging in a certain practice, just ask me.  I do not need to have all of you as clients, and I will answer you honestly.  And if you need, I will provide you a referral.


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.


Genbook Reviews | Cashman Law Firm, PLLC

Pornhub Lawsuit. We CAN Get Caught Viewing Streamed Tube-like Videos

Copyright trolls just convinced a California Federal Judge to force Pornhub to disclose the list of its users.

Last night, I coincidentally revisited the question of “Can I get caught viewing streamed Tube-like videos.”  I was concerned that with the advances in websites providing streamed content, that perhaps users who view copyrighted content without a license might be at risk of being sued for copyright infringement.

Now considering the Pornhub lawsuit, I realize that 1) any website owner with a Google Analytics account puts all of his users at risk for being sued, and 2) any internet user who does not block the Google Analytics trackers puts himself at risk of being sued.

Why it was time to revisit whether someone can get sued for viewing streamed movies.

The reason I was looking into it was because it has been a few years since I wrote that article, and streaming copyrighted content has become more prevalent now than it was a few years ago.

Most users use only one or two pieces of software, most notably, Kodi.

These days, there are software programs which are used to view copyrighted content, most notably, Kodi (a newer version of the XMBC software).  A few weeks ago, I was asked to review the risks of installing Kodi software on an Amazon TV Fire Stick device.

But with the bittorrent-based copyright infringement lawsuits being found out for what they are — a scheme where the copyright holder does not actually have evidence of infringement — I knew that copyright holders would seek other avenues and technologies to use as a data source to file copyright infringement lawsuits for streaming.

Discussing the likelihood of a user being sued for viewing streamed content.

In answering whether a user can get sued for viewing content streamed over the internet, I reviewed two articles:

  1. Can I get caught viewing streamed Tube-like videos, and
  2. Should porn viewers expect their histories to become public?

Here WERE my initial thoughts:

(NOTE: Based on the Pornhub lawsuit that I will discuss shortly, I believe that any internet user can get caught viewing copyrighted content.)

1. I initially thought that there was a low likelihood a copyright holder would be able to obtain the IP address of the infringer.

In the first article, I came to the conclusion that NO, AN INTERNET USER WOULD *NOT* BE ABLE TO BE CAUGHT VIEWING STREAMED CONTENT ON A YOUTUBE-LIKE WEBSITE because 1) the copyright holder would not be able to obtain the IP addresses of the viewers of the content (no longer true), and 2) all lawsuits to date against internet users have been for bittorrent activity (which technically is trackable).

2. “Tube” websites likely do not keep logs (I never considered something like a Pornhub lawsuit, or how Google Analytics exposes every visitor to a lawsuit).

I also assumed that a Tube-like website (such as we see in the Pornhub lawsuit) or any website that provides pirated content would not keep logs on their users — and if they did, they would never reveal them to a copyright troll.  Thus, I concluded that the copyright holder would not be able to learn which IP address visited which page on which Tube site.

However, in recent years, website owners use Google Analytics to track their users.  Each “tube” website is a business of their own, and I’m guessing they generate millions in ad revenue selling all sorts of products to their users.  Thus, it is a no-brainer that they would have a Google Analytics account.

Why Google Analytics can create a whole new class of copyright trolls.

Google Analytics can expose the IP addresses (and the browsing habits, and, and, and…) of the website visitors, and my guess is that Google would comply with a subpoena sent to it to unmask the IP addresses of the users who visited a particular website linked to a Google Analytics account.

Thus, there was no need to sue the Tube website holder like they did in the Pornhub lawsuit.  This was a misstep.

3. Copyright Trolls are generally lazy

Other factors which led to my initial opinion a few years back was that copyright trolls are generally lazy.  The entire business model of the copyright trolls is focused on leveraging the least amount of time to extract the largest amount of money from their victims.

Initially, I reasoned that filing a lawsuit against a website owner, and then correlating that list of IP addresses obtained from that website owner was already too much work for a troll.  Then, having to go through a second step of sending subpoenas to the ISPs to discover the identity of the account holder who was assigned that IP address on that particular date and time (and doing so before the IP address lease logs were purged according to the ISP’s IP retention policy), well, that would be too many steps for a troll.

However, with the introduction of Google Analytics, even this laziness is mitigated.  A troll wouldn’t need to fight the Tube website.  Rather, he would subpoena the logs from the Google Analytics account.  Then, he would obtain the identity of the account holder who had that IP address from the ISPs.  No Pornhub lawsuits would be needed.

In sum, this is no longer such a difficult thing to do. 

4. Most pirate website owners are outside the US

Initially, I thought that even if copyright holders were willing to file the lawsuit and overcome each of the other roadblocks, most pirate-content is hosted by companies which are outside of the US (and thus it would be difficult to pull them into a US court to comply with a US federal court order).

Again.  I am almost sad to say that the website owner is not needed in a lawsuit to unmask the identity of the internet users who visited a particular page.  Why?  That page is likely tracked by a Google Analytics account.

For these reasons, in 2015, I concluded that there was almost no way an internet user could get caught for viewing pirated content on a Tube-like site.

However, even so, I still recommended they use a VPN just in case I was wrong (and in hindsight, maybe I was wrong.  Maybe Google Analytics already was widespread back in 2015, but I simply did not know about it).

Pornhub lawsuit ordered Pornhub.com to expose copyright infringers

Fast forward to 2017 — Pornhub has just been forced by a judge to expose its users.

Okay, this was unexpected.  I never expected a federal judge to order a Tube-site to reveal the identity of its users.  Today, a California federal judge judge did just that.  So in the context of this article, the financial ‘incentive’ that I considered a few years ago (that maybe a copyright holder could bribe a website owner to disclose its logs) ended up being the force of a court order signed by a federal judge.  

As described in the TorrentFreak article, Pornhub has been forced to provide the names, e-mail addresses, IP addresses, and other data exposing the identity of uploaders of pirated videos.  

Pornhub Lawsuit Target: Uploaders and Users who create accounts on pirate websites.

There was one caveat that I mentioned in my “Can I get caught viewing streamed Tube-like videos?” article, and that caveat was that viewers and users who create an account on a pirate Tube site risk having that account information exposed at a later date. This has now been shown to be true in the Pornhub lawsuit, as it was exactly THIS USER INFORMATION which is sought by the copyright holders.

BACKGROUND: At the time that I wrote the articles, the Ashley Madison hack just happened, where millions of names of individuals who had a paid accounts on the Ashley Madison website (a website set up for the purpose of having an adulterous affair).  Also in the news were various reports of hackers who were claiming that they will soon expose the porn viewing habits of all users, and that was the subject of my October 18th, 2015 article.

It simply made sense that it was only a matter of time before a Tube website was hacked, or something was done (now we know – Pornhub lawsuit was filed) to unmask the records surrounding the registered users and uploaders to these sites.

WHAT AN INTERNET USER CAN DO TO PREVENT HAVING THEIR WEB BROWSING HISTORY EXPOSED

1. Use a VPN

Even last night, I came to the conclusion that ordinary users who protect and encrypt their internet connection by using a VPN would not be at risk if such a lawsuit or a hack actually happened.

 

I am still skeptical as to whether the California court will succeed in identifying anyone other than the users who uploaded content (or who created accounts on the Tube sites), however, I remain cautious about whether Pornhub had a Google Analytics account.

2. Block the Google Analytics tracker

And now seeing the risk that Google Analytics creates for the internet user, I recommend every user install tracker blocker software on their browsers, specifically to block the Google Analytics tracker.  Tracker blockers include add-ons and extensions such as EFF’s Privacy Badger, or Ghostery.  The Pornhub Lawsuit teaches us to block Google Analytics

The Pornhub Lawsuit teaches us to block Google Analytics

 

Lastly, a word of warning as to advancing technology.

Last night, the “Google Analytics” piece of the puzzle did not even occur to me.  However, there was one big thing that did keep nagging at me, and it is worth mentioning:

BITTORRENT NOW OFFERS STREAMING

If I were to sound the warning call, it would be against using this feature.  Bittorrent is how 99.999% of the copyright infringement defendants across the US have been caught.

1. STREAMING VIA BITTORRENT IS STILL USING BITTORRENT

I cannot say this more simply.  Streaming content via bittorrent still requires a bittorrent swarm in order to obtain and play that content being acquired and streamed.  And if there is a bittorrent swarm, there is a copyright holder recording the IP addresses of the bittorrent users in that swarm who are sharing the streamed content to the other bittorrent users in that swarm.

2. POPCORN TIME IS STILL USING BITTORRENT

I have had it out with the Popcorn Time software developers so many times already, and the last I checked Popcorn Time still uses bittorrent to obtain and serve the movie content to its users.  Thus, Popcorn Time requires a bittorrent swarm and if there is a bittorrent swarm, there is a copyright holder monitoring that swarm.

SUMMARY

In sum, while it initially did not look like copyright holders would file a lawsuit to unmask the identity of internet users who visit a particular movie or streamed content, as I thought through the topic in writing this article, I see very clearly that IT IS NOW POSSIBLE.  

So far, I understand that the Pornhub lawsuit is only looking to unmask those who had accounts on Pornhub.  But who knows if Pornhub website owners used Google Analytics to track their users.  As I mentioned before, if Pornhub has a Google Analytics account, EVERY INTERNET USER WHO VISITED THEIR SITE (OR ANY TUBE SITE) IS NOW AT RISK.

So looking at this topic with fresh eyes (and knowing now a thing or two about analytics whereas in 2015 I didn’t even know such data existed), it only makes sense that internet users of porn SHOULD BE CONCERNED that their identities could get unmasked in a lawsuit such as this one.

 Discuss your Streaming Movie Case With a Cashman Law Firm Attorney


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.  Also, the contents of topics discussed on this site are not meant to be considered legal advice to act upon or not act upon.  Contact your attorney for answers specific to your particular circumstance.

All I know about Rightscorp in One Page

RIGHTSCORP THEN AND NOW

Rightscorp Inc. has always been the bastard child of the RIAA. Backed by the RIAA, Rightscorp Inc. uses the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) to send DMCA copyright notices to the accused music downloaders. Rightscorp has been known to strongarm the ISPs and force them to identify the account holders who allegedly downloaded copyrighted titles belonging to Rightscorp Inc. clients.  Then, they forward these accused downloaders multiple settlement demand notices threatening that they will be sued for $150,000 per instance of copyright infringement unless they pay a measly sum of $20.

RIGHTSCORP WAS THE GIANT THAT WOKE UP IN 2013

Rightscorp Inc. came on my radar in June of 2013, where I wrote the article, “RIAA Giant Waking Up and Luring Defendants into Settlements.” At the time I wrote that article, I was spending a considerable amount of time helping clients who received similar notices for adult films they allegedly downloaded, but through Copyright Enforcement Group (CEG-TEK), another copyright monetization outfit.

Rightscorp Inc. DMCA Letters ‘Smelled’ Like a Trap

Knowing the DMCA rules and the ways copyright holders enforced them, something ‘smelled wrong’ with the Rightscorp Inc. letters. The Rightscorp Inc. company (a.k.a., “Digital Rights Corp”) itself seemed legitimate, but the way they handled their DMCA notices caused me to think that they were up to a scam. I sensed that the $20 settlement letters were a trap, and I recommended that recipients of those letters ignore them. Here is what I wrote in 2013 on the topic:

“What is bothering me, however, is that the release on their https://secure.digitalrightscorp.com/settle website (pasted below) releases the accused defendant from their claim of copyright infringement for a mere $20, but it has the defendant ADMITTING GUILT to the infringement. Thus, in legal terms, an accused internet user who pays the $20 may be released from liability for THAT instance of infringement, but the next time they catch that user downloading, they can not only sue for the full $150,000 (or ask for TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS as a settlement), but in court, they would use the prior settlement as EVIDENCE OF GUILT that the accused defendant habitually downloads copyrighted videos and TV shows.

To be clear: EVERY settlement agreement for copyright infringement should have language stating that the accused defendant is not admitting guilt, or else the act of settling a copyright infringement claim can be construed as an “admission” of guilt in a court. Specifically, the language (e.g., taken from CEG-TEK’s settlements) would say something like “this Liability Release represents a compromise and that nothing herein is to be construed as an admission of liability on the part of RELEASEE.” This language appears to be purposefully ABSENT from the RightsCorp Settlement Agreements.”

Rightscorp Inc. DMCA Settlement Notices Ended Up Being A Trap

I worried that a client who settled a Rightscorp Inc. copyright infringement notice subjected himself to future claims of copyright infringements. Every settlement was an admission of guilt, and it turned out that Rightscorp Inc. sent many follow-up DMCA notices to the individual who paid their $20 fee.

Pay One Notice, Receive Twenty More

Those who paid the DMCA settlement notices on their own often ended up calling me when they received twenty more DMCA settlement notices. For a while, I thought that this was part of their elaborate plan of eliciting hundreds of dollars from each defendant rather than a one-time payment of $20. Unlike CEG-TEK, who at the time would list all of the alleged claims against a particular user in real time (based on the IP addresses they allegedly used to download the copyrighted content), Rightscorp Inc. asked for one settlement at a time, and when you settled one, there was often another one right behind it.

The Rightscorp scam in my opinion did not start until Rightscorp Inc. started to ask its users for settlements in the thousands of dollars. While the numbers never matched CEG-TEK settlements (where CEG-TEK was asking for $300 per title), Rightscorp settlement numbers often found themselves hovering near the $900-$1,800 range.

Settling ONE Instance Of Infringement vs. Settling All Past Downloads of a Title

The reason Rightscorp was able to increase their settlement amounts was because each settlement was for “one instance of copyright infringement,” which means that if a user downloaded the file twice, they had to pay twice. If they left their bittorrent software on overnight, and that bittorrent software seeded 20 copies of a title to 20 downloaders, that accused downloader would be accused of 20 more instances of infringement.

This was very different from CEG-TEK, who allowed their settlements to cover “all past instances of infringement regarding that copyrighted title.”

Rightscorp Inc. Then Used Settlements To Force ISPs To Shut Accounts

Rightscorp then used the admissions of guilt within the settlement agreements to attempt to strongarm the ISPs to shut down their internet accounts.

I always thought this was a petty move. I understood that there were some politicians behind the Digital Rights Corp / Rightscorp entity, and that those politicians had no idea how to run a company (which is why Rightscorp stock has been worth only a few pennies for years now). I also understood that Rightscorp Inc. motives were not [at first] to extort money from the accused downloaders such as a copyright troll would, but rather, they wanted to protect their music labels and stop piracy.

I understand and respect a company who legitimately tries to stop piracy, but Rightscorp Inc. went about it in the wrong way. I always thought that Rightscorp pressuring the ISPs to shut down the internet accounts of those who paid a settlement ransom was vindictive. To me, it just showed the callous disregard for the power Rightscorp wielded like a child who swings a light saber at his infant unsuspecting brother.

Then Rightscorp Inc. Started Robocalling Accused Downloaders

Rightscorp then started ‘robocalling’ accused downloaders. They did it recklessly — again, think of a child whacking his infant brother with a lightsaber — and they broke a whole slew of laws in the process. In addition, they called at all hours of the night, and because the company was in my opinion a ‘headless’ company, meaning that there was nobody to call to complain or help resolve a situation, the Rightscorp harassment issues only got worse. Eventually they were sued in a class action lawsuit and had to pay a hefty settlement for their robocalling shenanigans.

Then Rightscorp Inc. Started Suing Accused Downloaders For $150,000

I must admit, I lost interest in the Rightscorp shenanigans after I noted that their settlement agreements do not protect the legal rights of those who settle because their settlements amounted to admissions of guilt. Thus, when someone asked me “Should I pay Rightscorp Inc.?” my answer was “not without a valid release that doesn’t have you admitting guilt.”

However, there was a point that Rightscorp Inc. started filing copyright infringement lawsuits against accused music downloaders in federal court. Each accused defendant was sued for $150,000 statutory damages for the unlawful download of the various music titles they allegedly downloaded via bittorrent.

Rightscorp defendants deceptively are not told that it is Rightscorp who is suing them.  Rather, they will receive a subpoena relating to some ‘motion to compel’ that they have filed in a federal court.  Their subpoenas force the ISP to hand over account information to a place called “Inquest Resources” at 807 Brazos Street, Suite 805 in Austin, TX.  The subpoenas usually come with a Declaration by Dennis J. Hawk of the Business Law Group under the 17 USC 512(h) statute.

I don’t have much to say here, except that Jordan Rushie was one of the attorneys who was hired by Rightscorp to file the lawsuits. If I was looking for it, the Jordan Rushie connection with Carl Crowell and RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT was something that I did not make until writing “The Great MPAA/RIAA Scheme To Defraud Copyright Law” in March, 2017).

Rightscorp Then. Reckless Copyright Troll.

All I could say about Rightscorp is that is has been a trainwreck. First with the bad settlement agreements. Then with the unruly wielding of power to shut down ISP accounts of infringers. Then the ‘headless’ robocalls. Then the copyright infringement lawsuits. Rightscorp was a reckless copyright troll, and I always sensed that the leadership was delegating orders the management simply could not carry out.  To make matters worse, Rightscorp was in financial ruin (at one point before what appears to have been a ‘cash infusion’ which brought them out of their consistent negative cashflow), and I used to refer to Rightscorp as a “sinking ship.”

Rightscorp Now. Efficient Copyright Troll

Rightscorp in recent years has made a number of changes, graduating them from a reckless copyright troll to an efficient copyright troll. In recent years, they have revamped their settlement agreements where there is no longer an admission of guilt. They also now have a contact for an attorney such as myself to speak to. That way, if I have a client who is in trouble and wants to pay significantly less that they were accused of, or if my client wants to settle anonymously, at least now I have someone in Rightscorp I can speak to in order to make this happen.

I have to assume they are still filing in the federal courts, although their lawsuits do not get nearly the amount of publicity as other copyright troll lawsuits do, probably because they are going after individual defendants, and are suing in the name of the music copyright holder. Settlements are no longer $20 per instance of infringement, but are now $30 per instance of infringement. This is a 50% increase in their profits, but for you or me, it’s another $10 which thankfully is not $3,500 (the going asking rate to settle movie download lawsuits with CEG-TEK’s out-of-court DMCA settlement letters was $300/title). Most importantly, they have stayed off the radar and have kept out of trouble.

From the perspective of running our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC, in the past, we used to decline representing Rightscorp clients because their settlement agreements did not protect the interests of our clients.  However, with 1) the improvements in their settlement agreements in eliminating admissions of guilt, 2) the ability to anonymously protect our clients’ interests, 3) negotiate the dollar amount of the settlements, and 4) the ability to negotiate the settlement agreement itself to tailor it to the needs of our clients, today, our firm does represent Rightscorp clients.

However, doing so does not come with a bit of awkwardness.  When representing a client in a CEG-TEK DMCA settlement demand notice, clients would come with 3-20 notices (and at $300/claim, the settlement asking price was $900-$6,000 before settlement negotiations).  Thus, representing a client and having the client pay our fees made sense.

Not necessarily so with a Rightscorp client who received those same 3-20 notices.  At $30/claim, the settlement asking price would be $90-$600 (before settlement negotiations).  Thus, depending on the number of notices, there could be a disproportionate payment to our law firm to handle what could be a $30 problem.

For more on this topic, click the “Rightscorp settlement attorney considerations for a set of DMCA notices” article, here.

How To Handle a Rightscorp Notice Today

Rightscorp Inc. is still a failing company (from the point of view of corporate earnings and management). However, from the point of view of an accused downloader of a Jethro Tull music album, or some other piece of music, you must assume that failing to settle could put you at risk of being sued for copyright infringement in federal court. All this being said, when you receive the letter, the Rightscorp problem still small, and can be managed with the assistance of a lawyer (myself or anyone else).

How An Attorney Would Represent You In Resolving Your Rightscorp Matter

[NOTE: For credibility purposes, be aware that since 2013, I recommended that if Rightscorp is unwilling to protect your interests in a settle, do not settle. If you get sued, hire an attorney (again, me, or someone else) because Rightscorp lawsuits likely have the same Guardaley “no evidence” problem I described here). Now that Rightscorp Inc. is willing to help me protect your interests in a settlement, I am willing to settle Rightscorp cases for clients.]

Here is why to retain a lawyer, and what we would do for you.  (Below, when I speak of “you,” I am speaking in a general way. I do not become your attorney (nor should this be considered legal advice) until we sign a contract together.)

Next Step: Schedule a Consultation

Follow the three steps below to begin working with a Cashman Law Firm, PLLC patent attorney:

1. Schedule a phone appointment to speak to a patent attorney about your matter.

2. Get, sign, and return retainer agreement.

3. Sit back, relax, and let us work on your behalf to get you the results you need.

After scheduling your appointment online, you will be contacted by phone at the specified date and time by a Cashman Law Firm, PLLC attorney.

Discuss your Rightscorp Case With a Cashman Law Firm Attorney

Anonymous Settlement

Remember, when you receive the DMCA notice from your internet provider, you are anonymous, AND YOU SHOULD STAY THAT WAY. Rightscorp has enough of a history to have me recommend that every client of mine who settles does so ANONYMOUSLY.

Stop Rightscorp From Sending Additional DMCA Notices After a Settlement

There should be a legal barrier between you and Rightscorp, and hiring an attorney and having me put them on notice that I am representing your account stops them from contacting you in the future. Also, any future communications (or additional DMCA notices) should come through me, as I am the attorney representing you. By having me represent you, we ‘discourage’ Rightscorp from sending any additional DMCA notices after a settlement is complete. Rather, we ask them to research to see whether there are any outstanding titles claimed against you, and we would include them in the settlement negotiations.

Negotiate the Settlement, Facilitate the Anonymous Payment

You would have me review and negotiate the claims with Rightscorp. When they agree to lower the price to something you are comfortable paying, I would facilitate the settlement to make it an ANONYMOUS SETTLEMENT.

Review Release of Liability

This is an obvious step to be done before we pay the settlement on your behalf. I am giving this section its own heading because sometimes, custom terms need to be inserted into the Rightscorp agreements to protect a client’s interests. This would be part of the settlement negotiations (above).

Handle Any Follow-Up Communications From Rightscorp

This last step happens after the settlement is complete, and we do not charge our clients for this. When we settle the claims, we settle them as an “Anonymous Client” of the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC (using our law firm’s address and e-mail). That way, they have our information on file should they have any follow-up questions.

After a settlement is complete, in the past, Rightscorp has been known to send additional DMCA notices asking for more money. With our clients, this has not been the case because we ask them to include all claims in the settlement negotiations we do on our client’s behalf. However, should Rightscorp have a question about a settlement, or should a new matter occur, we will speak to them and handle any needed follow-up communications on your behalf, even after we have closed your file. Should any communication occur relating to a matter we have already settled anonymously on your behalf, I will be sure to let you know.

Next Step: Schedule a Consultation

Follow the three steps below to begin working with a Cashman Law Firm, PLLC patent attorney:

1. Schedule a phone appointment to speak to a patent attorney about your matter.

2. Get, sign, and return retainer agreement.

3. Sit back, relax, and let us work on your behalf to get you the results you need.

After scheduling your appointment online, you will be contacted by phone at the specified date and time by a Cashman Law Firm, PLLC attorney.

Discuss your Rightscorp Case With a Cashman Law Firm Attorney

*QUICK UPDATE (7/2017)*: I have created a short Rightscorp FAQ page on my Cashman Law Firm, PLLC website which gives a short overview of the Rightscorp problem.


FOR IMMEDIATE CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: To set up a free consultation to speak to an attorney about Rightscorp DMCA letter or subpoena, click here.  Lastly, please feel free to e-mail me at info@cashmanlawfirm.com, or call 713-364-3476 to speak to me now about your case (I do prefer you read the articles first), or to get your questions answered.

CONTACT FORM: Alternatively, sometimes people just like to contact me using one of these forms.  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 would copyright trolls show evidence of ‘other downloaded movies’ if they have evidence of infringement?

ANSWER: Insufficient or non-existent evidence.

Copyright trolls often surprise me by the lengths they will go to prove that a particular “John Doe” defendant downloaded a particular movie. Because the underlying copyright infringement cases likely cannot prove copyright infringement, instead, copyright troll attorneys will spy into the internet connections of their accused defendants and determine what other movies, videos, or content that accused downloader allegedly downloaded. They use those additional downloads as ‘character evidence’ to assert that the defendant downloaded the accused movie. (Next article, I will describe how they are likely doing it.)

By showing character evidence of ‘other downloaded movies,’ copyright trolls prove that the accused “John Doe” Defendant has the personality or ‘character’ of being a habitual infringer (a ‘pirate’).  This character evidence shows that the defendant is familiar with piracy tools and illegal methods of acquiring movies and videos from bittorrent websites (e.g., The Pirate Bay). By demonstrating to the court that “someone from that same IP address downloaded these other movies,” the copyright troll seeks to prove that “the accused defendant must have also downloaded this movie as well.”

Copyright Trolls Use Other The Pirate Bay Downloads to demonstrate character evidence to infringe their movie copyright.

[NOTE TO THE READER: WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ IS A GREAT ARTICLE, BUT IT NEEDS A ROADMAP TO UNDERSTAND THE FLOW OF IT.]

HERE IS THE ROADMAP:

  1. INTRODUCE THE CONCEPT OF ‘CHARACTER EVIDENCE’ (A LEGAL TERM), AND DESCRIBE WHY EVIDENCE OF ‘OTHER TITLES DOWNLOADED’ IS INADMISSIBLE TO PROVE COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.
  2. INQUIRE WHY PLAINTIFF WOULD TAKE THE EXTRA STEP OF SHOWING ‘OTHER TITLES DOWNLOADED’ IF HE HAS SOLID EVIDENCE OF INFRINGEMENT.
  3. DISCUSS THE NEBULOUS ‘PCAP FILE’ WHICH CAN PROVE INFRINGEMENT, NOTE THAT THE PLAINTIFF HAS ACCESS TO THIS FILE, AND YET IT IS MISSING FROM THE PLAINTIFF’S CASES.
  4. SUB-TOPIC: THE EVIDENCE THE PLAINTIFF ACTUALLY HAS IS “SNAPSHOT EVIDENCE.” COURTS REJECTED SNAPSHOT EVIDENCE AS BEING INSUFFICIENT TO PROVE COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.
  5. (I RETURN TO THE MISSING PCAP EVIDENCE AND DEMONSTRATE THAT THE PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY MISDIRECTS THE COURT BY REFERRING TO A SOFTWARE REPORT, BUT GLOSSING OVER THE PCAP EVIDENCE).
  6. END THE ARTICLE BY COMMENTING THAT SHOWING ‘OTHER TITLES DOWNLOADED’ TO A DEFENDANT IS AN EFFECTIVE STRATEGY IN SCARING HIM TO AGREE TO SETTLE THE CASE.

1. EVIDENCE OF ‘OTHER TITLES DOWNLOADED’ IS INADMISSIBLE CHARACTER EVIDENCE.

In the eyes of the law, ANY CHARACTER EVIDENCE OF ‘OTHER MOVIES OR TITLES’ DOWNLOADED BY THE JOHN DOE DEFENDANT IS INADMISSIBLE TO PROVE THAT THE DEFENDANT DOWNLOADED THE MOVIE TITLE FOR WHICH THAT DEFENDANT WAS SUED. Malibu Media, LLC tried using character evidence and failed. For a while, they were listing other movie titles and illegal downloads that accused defendant participated in, and the courts reprimanded their efforts.

Specifically because Malibu Media attempted to admit character evidence into their complaints, in the Western District of Wisconsin, Judge Stephen L. Crocker consolidated each of Malibu Media LLC’s cases.  Here, the judge ruled that character evidence of ‘other titles allegedly downloaded’ was not only inadmissible, but it was prejudicial to the defendant’s case (see attached order).

According to the Federal Rules of Evidence (“F.R.E.”), evidence of a person’s character to prove a consistent act with that character is called ‘character evidence,’ which is inadmissible to prove copyright infringement. (See the Federal Rules of Evidence, §404 on Character Evidence).

2. WHY WOULD COPYRIGHT TROLLS USE CHARACTER EVIDENCE OF ‘OTHER DOWNLOADED TITLES’ WHEN THEY CAN PROVE INFRINGEMENT USING THE PCAP FILE?

Why a copyright troll would resort to using ‘character evidence’ of ‘other titles downloaded’ to prove that the downloader must have downloaded this title is puzzling.  The copyright holders DO have evidence of infringement, don’t they?

3. EVIDENCE OF INFRINGEMENT CAN BE FOUND IN THE PCAP FILE.

Perhaps the reason why the attorney is seeking to find “other titles” an accused defendant downloaded is that copyright trolls do not actually have evidence that the defendant downloaded this movie.

For the technical-minded, this evidence of copyright infringement would be found in a “PCAP file.” Copyright holders have this file, but they will never release to the courts. This PCAP file would indicate whether a downloader merely clicked on a link and connected to a bittorrent swarm WITH THE INTENT* to download, view, or stream a movie, or whether the accused defendant actually copied a substantial watchable portion of the movie. (*NOTE: a defendant who had ‘INTENT’ to commit a copyright infringement cannot be found guilty of ‘willful’ copyright infringement if the download or the viewing never actually took place.)  The PCAP file is hidden from the courts and is never introduced to prove that the defendant downloaded the movie. Instead of documenting actual evidence of infringement, the copyright troll attorneys find “other titles” that the defendant allegedly downloaded.

4. HOW TROLLS REPLACE PCAP EVIDENCE WITH ‘SNAPSHOT’ EVIDENCE.

The omission of the PCAP evidence is relevant to an accused defendant in a bittorrent-based movie lawsuit.  The reason for this is because courts are misled into thinking that a report containing a list of IP addresses of accused downloaders at some ‘snapshot’ or time period by proprietary Peer-to-Peer surveillance software is sufficient to prove infringement.  However, the so-called ‘SNAPSHOT’ EVIDENCE of infringement (described below) might demonstrate only that the accused John Doe Defendant was present downloading a bittorrent file at a particular date and time.  ‘Snapshot’ evidence of infringement has been rejected by the courts as not being sufficient to prove copyright infringement.

Further, the companies that do the ‘snapshot’ tracking of the bittorrent networks — IPP International, and here in the Texas-based cases, MaverickEye UG, all appear to be shell companies of Guardaley.  For those who are new to the site, Guardaley is the German company our firm has been investigating to find the connection between almost every copyright infringement case hitting the US courts.  Guardaley has been the common thread between each lawsuit, regardless of whether the copyrighted material is pornographic (as in the Malibu Media, LLC lawsuits), or whether it is a mainstream movie.

For current defendants, the ‘snapshot’ evidence problem as I will describe it below likely applies to each of the “Mechanic:Resurrection” movie lawsuits (ME2 Productions), each of the “I.T.” movie lawsuits (I.T. Productions), each of the “Mr. Cook” movie lawsuits (Cook Productions), and literally every other movie lawsuit filed in the last seven years, as listed on Carl Crowell’s list of Guardaley clients.

Character Evidence of 'Other Movies Downloaded' To Prove The Download of THIS movie.

4A. SUB-TOPIC: WHY “SNAPSHOT EVIDENCE” IS INSUFFICIENT TO PROVE COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

Source: Judge Otis Wright’s 2013 order from the Ingenuity 13 LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:12-cv-08333) case in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

RULE 2. A “SNAPSHOT OBSERVATION” OF AN IP ADDRESS ENGAGED IN DOWNLOADING AT THAT MOMENT IS INSUFFICIENT PROOF OF COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

Here, all the evidence a copyright troll plaintiff has on a suspected defendant is that at a particular date and time (a “timestamp”), that particular IP address was engaged in the downloading of a particular copyrighted file.

Here, a “snapshot” of an IP address correlated with evidence from the subscriber’s internet service provider (“ISP”) [that it was the subscriber who was leased that IP address during the date and time the alleged activity took place] is insufficient proof that the download actually took place. The defendant could have merely entered the swarm and could be in queue to download his first byte of data. The defendant could be 10% done with the download and could have in his possession an unviewable fragment of the copyrighted video.  This is hardly enough to rise to the level of “SUBSTANTIAL SIMILARITY” that is required in order to find a defendant guilty of copyright infringement. And, yet at the same time, that same snapshot could refer to a defendant having a download which is 99% complete.

A snapshot of an IP address in a bittorrent swarm is simply not conclusive that the downloader infringed the copyright.

The analogy the judge gives is taking a “snapshot” of a child reaching for a candy bar. In order to find someone guilty of copyright infringement, a plaintiff needs to prove that it is “more likely than not” that activity rising to the level of copyright infringement occurred. A snapshot places the defendant at the “scene of the crime.” It does not convict him for the unlawful act itself, and usually this is all the evidence a plaintiff copyright troll compiles when tracking a bittorrent swarm.

5. RETURNING TO THE OMISSION OF PCAP EVIDENCE IN PLAINTIFF’S DECLARATION. WHY THEY TURN TO ‘CHARACTER EVIDENCE’ OF ‘OTHER TITLES DOWNLOADED’ WHEN CONFRONTING A DEFENDANT

Instead of providing the PCAP file (which can prove or disprove whether actual infringement happened), the copyright holders have some expert witness file some declaration stating that they have viewed the reports generated by the bittorrent surveillance software.   That expert witness declares that they have verified that the IP address list created by that software matches the list of defendants who are accused as “John Doe” defendants in this case.

[Curiously, even copyright troll attorneys list themselves as expert witnesses to show that they viewed the software printout.  I don’t know why an attorney would do this, because this makes the plaintiff attorney a discoverable witness in discovery. Here in the Texas ME2 Productions, Inc. v. Does lawsuits, we see plaintiff attorney Gary Fischman’s declaration stating exactly what I have described:

Gary Fischman Declaration Regarding Maverickeye UG (Guardaley) P2P swarm surveillance software report. by Cashman Law Firm, PLLC on Scribd

As a defense attorney, I am puzzled why the plaintiff attorneys often try to prove their case with inadmissible character evidence (“other downloaded titles”).  I understand that copyright infringement in the context of a bittorrent swarm can be proved by the PCAP file (e.g., stating that the movie was 100% downloaded).

Thus, it logically makes sense that the attorney simply DOES NOT HAVE EVIDENCE OF INFRINGEMENT.  This could be why he goes to such lengths to prove that the downloader downloaded the other titles.

6. NEVERTHELESS, SHOWING CHARACTER EVIDENCE OF ‘OTHER TITLES DOWNLOADED’ IS STILL AN EFFECTIVE TACTIC.

From the copyright troll’s perspective, the goal is not to ‘nail’ each “John Doe” Defendant and make them liable for the $150,000 in statutory damages. Rather, a copyright troll seeks to elicit a settlement of a few thousand dollars from each “John Doe” defendant. 

Thus if the copyright troll isn’t interested in proving copyright infringement, but rather wishes to scare the bejeebies out of the accused defendant who actually downloaded those additional titles, then showing that defendant the list of ‘other titles downloaded’ *is* an effective tactic to manipulate them to do whatever the plaintiff demands of them, even if that means paying a multi-thousand dollar settlement.

IN SUM: WHICH ONE IS IT?

So which is it?  Does the plaintiff actually lack evidence of infringement as I have suggested by the missing PCAP file and the misdirection in the declarations filed with the court?  Or, does the copyright troll want to use the so-called ‘character evidence’ of ‘other titles downloaded’ to demonstrate to you (the John Doe Defendant) that you must have been the one who did the download of the movie (and thus you should pay him)?

My opinion: it is both.


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 would not put Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Amazon Fire TV Sticks and more recently, Amazon Fire TV Media Players (which as of writing this article (3/22/2017) can currently be purchased for $18/month) have been sold for years, and can be modified to permit the installation and use of the Kodi application.  As many tech savvy guys and gals know, Kodi (formerly XMBC) can be used to add pirated content to be downloaded or streamed using the Kodi app.

Dangers of putting Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV Device

DANGERS OF USING KODI ON A MEDIA DEVICE

The problem with using Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV (or any media device, for that matter) is twofold.

  1. You are using a tracked device that you likely registered to your Amazon.com account.

  2. Kodi when installed on the Amazon Fire Stick uses the wireless connection provided to it, exposing the user to copyright infringement lawsuits.

YOUR AMAZON FIRE TV STICK IS TRACKED BY AMAZON.COM

This is a no-brainer.  To activate the Fire Stick, you need to register it with your Amazon.com username and password.  Amazon knows this device belongs to you, and in a number of cases, it even comes pre-programmed to your Amazon account, so why would you use it to view copyrighted software without a license?

All that would need to happen to sue an Amazon Fire Stick user is for a copyright holder to file a copyright infringement lawsuit against a John Doe, and then have the court authorize expedited discovery to allow the copyright holder to send a subpoena to Amazon.com asking it to disclose the identity of the owner of the Amazon Fire Stick.  Amazon would happily comply just to stop you from using their device to pirate or stream copyrighted content without a license.

Of course, there are ways to factory reset the device or deregister it from your account, but that is outside the scope of this article.

KODI, WHEN INSTALLED ON YOUR AMAZON FIRE TV DEVICE, USES YOUR WIRELESS CONNECTION TO RETRIEVE THE PIRATED CONTENT

When you set up your Amazon Fire TV Stick, you enter your wireless username and password.  That way, your Amazon Fire Stick can connect to the internet automatically as soon as you plug it in.

The problem is that any apps you use (here, Kodi), ALSO USES THAT SAME WIRELESS CONNECTION.  This connection has your real IP address exposed and shared with the internet.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that they can file a copyright infringement lawsuit against the website providing the content, and force it to hand over the web site logs or analytics for a particular page hosting the copyrighted movie you connected to with your exposed IP address when you used your Kodi-enabled Amazon Fire Sitck to view or download that copyrighted movie.  And once they have your exposed IP address, they now have TWO WAYS to sue you in a copyright infringement lawsuit:

  1. Subpoena the ISP who owns that exposed IP address and have them expose the identity of the account holder (the typical way a “John Doe” lawsuit is filed), or
  2. Subpoena Amazon.com to have them expose the account information of the customer who purchased that particular Amazon Fire Stick.

NO, TECHNOLOGY DOES NOT *YET* MAKE IT EASY TO SUE USERS VIEWING ILLEGALLY STREAMED CONTENT

Technology in its current state does not make it easy or convenient for a copyright holder to go through the hassle of suing Icefilms, Putlocker, or any of the MANY providers of copyright-infringing content.  Many of these providers are out of the U.S., and as such, it is difficult (not impossible) to get them to comply with a US-based court order signed by a US federal judge.

Also, it is difficult to determine whether these sites even keep analytics or website logs to determine which IP addresses visit any of the pages on their websites.  As soon as users start getting sued, no doubt these companies will shut off all website logging and analytics, thwarting any copyright holder’s attempts to identify the IP address of the Kodi / Amazon Fire Stick user.

Lastly, it is an uphill battle for a copyright holder to fight a website provider to turn over the website logs exposing who is visiting their websites.  This is why you do not see ANY copyright infringement lawsuits suing John Doe Defendants for the unlawful STREAMING of copyrighted content from software sources such as XBMC or KODI.

For this reason, at the time I am writing this article, I cannot see how a user would realistically be sued for using Kodi on an Amazon Fire Stick.  However, as technology advances and tracking methods improve to the point where a copyright holder will be able to identify the IP address accessing a website containing copyrighted materials, the threat of being sued for streaming content will increase.

Click here for more details on the topic of “Can I be caught and sued for copyright infringement for streaming movies.”

A QUICK NOTE ABOUT POPCORN TIME: Popcorn Time is a piece of software that uses BITTORRENT to acquire the movie title in order to serve it for free to their end user.  Bittorrent lawsuits account for most, if not all of the copyright infringement lawsuits, and thus Popcorn Time (even though it streams movies) is not included under the category of “hard to catch users for infringement.”

COMMON SENSE. DON’T USE KODI ON A FIRE TV STICK.

Even though I just told you that you will likely NOT be sued for using your Kodi-enabled Amazon Fire TV Stick to view pirated content, I still caution strongly against using it without some additional steps.

Why would you use a device that is registered to your name?  Do you think that Amazon.com is your friend and would protect you if they realized you were using their device to pirate movies and music?

And, why would you use a device that could expose your IP address to the world?  Your connection to the internet would create a trackable line between your internet account and the server hosting the pirated content.  Do you really think that your ISP isn’t snooping on you to see whether you are using their bandwidth for legal or illegal purposes?  If somehow copyright holders figure out how to get the list of IP addresses who downloaded or streamed a particular movie, do you really want to risk being sued for $150,000 for copyright infringement?

Common sense.  Even if you will likely not be tracked or caught, DO NOT use devices which connect to the internet without using an encrypted connection.  Your Kodi-enabled Amazon Fire TV Stick is one such device.

WAYS AROUND THE IP ADDRESS EXPOSURE PROBLEM (USING A VPN)

Obviously this article is meant to alert users as to the dangers of using a Kodi-enabled Amazon Fire TV devices.  It is not to teach you how to break the law and enable Kodi on your device. (I cannot believe Amazon is actually selling this ebook).

For common sense purposes, if you are going to do anything that exposes your IP address to the public, use a VPN.  A VPN is a Virtual Private Network which allows an individual to obscure his real IP address by connecting to the content desired by way of one or more servers.  I will not go into how they work here, but for reputable VPN companies who do not keep logs on your activities, TorrentFreak writes a report every so often, and that report is a good resource.

VPNs that keep your identity and your IP address private are PAID VPNs.  Free VPNs have been known to turn over their user’s account information (as have various paid VPNs as well, which is why I suggested TorrentFreak’s list).

If you were willing to learn how to program your router to route your internet connection through your VPN (most VPN providers teach their customers how to do this), then using your Kodi-enabled Amazon Fire TV device would be safe, and a user who uses this method would not need to worry or fear about being sued for connecting to the internet using the Fire Stick.

Of course, keep in mind that it is still a dumb idea to register that same Amazon Fire TV Stick with your real Amazon.com account information.  There might come a time where technology advances to the point where Amazon start ‘not liking’ their users using their Fire Stick for piracy purposes.  Thus, if you were to deregister the Fire Stick, or to purchase it without connecting it to your account (e.g., checking ‘buy it for someone else’) when you check out, that will stop Amazon.com from preprogramming the Fire Stick with your account information.  But still, you should still be cautious using an Amazon Fire Stick with Kodi (even with a VPN) because Amazon themselves might devise a way to track their own devices (if they have not done so already).

IN SUMMARY

In summary, Amazon Fire TV Sticks and better yet, Amazon Fire TV Media Players are wonderful pieces of technology.  I own one, and current Amazon Fire TV Sticks even have Alexa built into them (a cool feature).  With an Amazon Prime Subscription (we replaced our Netflix subscription with this to get the free shipping and other benefits), you can view literally THOUSANDS of videos from the Fire TV Stick or Media Player.

The Fire TV Stick itself is HDMI enabled, which means that it can plug into any old monitor, and that monitor will become an Amazon movie studio.  We can even connect our Bluetooth speakers (think, Amazon Echo or ‘Alexa’) to the Amazon Fire TV Stick, and we have theater-quality movies and binge worthy TV shows, all available to be played in our living room.

If I were a pirate, I would probably NOT put Kodi on my Amazon Fire Stick, even if I set up my router to route all internet traffic through a paid VPN.  I personally simply don’t trust Amazon.com that they will not at some point become proactively ‘anti-piracy’, and I wouldn’t want to be the recipient of a subpoena letter indicating that I was sued for using my Fire TV Stick in an unlawful way.

Nevertheless, if you are a regular reader of the TorrentLawyer website, you would not either.  However, hopefully this article will somehow go out to people searching for “Kodi-enabled Fire TV Sticks,” and we will at least teach them that watching Kodi this way is a bad idea.

Final Note, and Off Topic:  I am not a Roku guy, simply because my Amazon Fire TV was given to me as a gift and I love the device. However, if I were to purchase a device anew, I WOULD probably choose the Roku Premiere+ Streaming Media Player simply because Roku is known to upgrade their devices every year, and Roku is simply a better company focused on making Roku Media Players (similar logic: I would go to a Chinese Food Store to buy Chinese Food). If I was just comparing an Amazon Fire TV Stick (considering that it has Alexa on it) and a plain Roku, since I have do have unlimited Amazon movies through Amazon Prime, and the Amazon Fire TV devices are supposedly faster, I’d stick with the Amazon.  If I did not have Amazon Prime, I’d go with the Roku.  Whichever device I had, however, I WOULD NOT PUT KODI ON IT.

Porn Sites Sending DMCA Letters Through RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT

In June, 2014, I exposed the list of porn companies that were working with CEG-TEK.  This upset a lot of adult film companies, who turned around and started having CEG-TEK send letters using a variation on their name (which made no sense to me *IF* the reason they were having CEG-TEK send out DMCA notices was to “encourage ‘pirates’ to sign into their websites legitimately and pay an annual fee”).  Instead, like roaches, these companies scattered, but even so, I still tracked the name changes and I kept this list up to date.

The reason this list is immediately relevant is because now Carl Crowell is sending out these same DMCA notices to Internet Subscribers through his RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT company.  For more about Crowell or his RIGHTSENFORCEMENT.COM website, click this link.

Below is a list I compiled from my own records as to which copyright holders are hiring companies to collect $300 per title settlements on their adult film copyrights.  The exciting news from 2017 is that I now have an idea of what are the porn companies which are now working aggressively with Carl Crowell (RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT), including some which were not working with CEG-TEK.  I will list the most active companies first.

REALITY KINGS (Manwin Content)

Reality Kings (http://www.realitykings.com).  Reality Kings has obscured their name in the past after I posted the original list in 2014.  They have been known to send out DMCA letters using the names 1) Manwin Content RK Limited DBA Reality Kings, and 2) MG Content RK Limited.  Regardless of the name, it is still Reality Kings.

Reality Kings is a giant corporation, comprising 45+ separated brand names, each of which have their own website.  Their brand names include:

40 Inch Plus, Big Tits Boss, Cum Fiesta, Extreme Asses, Girls of Naked, In the VIP, Milf Hunter, Money Talks, RK Prime, See My Wife, Teens Love Huge Cocks, We Live Together, 8th Street Latinas, Bikini Crashers, Cum Girls, Extreme Naturals, HD Love, Mega Cock Cravers, Milf Next Door, Monster Curves, Real Orgasms, Sneaky Sex, Top Shelf Pussy, Wives in Pantyhose, Bad Tow Truck, CFNM Secret, Dangerous Dongs, First Time Auditions, Happy Tugs, Mike in Brazil, Moms Bang Teens, No Faces, Round and Brown, Street Blowjobs, Tranny Surprise, Big Naturals, Captain Stabbin, Euro Sex Parties, Flower Tucci, Hot Bush, Mike’s Apartment, Moms Lick Teens, Pure 18, Saturday Night Latina, Team Squirt, and VIP Crew.

List of Reality Kings sites.
This is a list of Reality Kings sites. Each button is clickable and reveals hundreds of subtopics. This list can be found at http://www.realitykings.com/tour/sitemap/videos/

For a list of some of Reality Kings’ titles that I know they have enforced via the DMCA letters, see my original list in the “ORIGINAL LIST OF PORN COMPANIES SENDING DMCA NOTICES” heading.

BRAZZERS (MG Premium Ltd.)

Brazzers (http://www.brazzers.com).  Brazzers also has obscured their name in the past after I posted the original list in 2014.  They have been known to send out DMCA letters using the names 1) Froytal Services Limited DBA Brazzers, and confusingly enough, 2) MG Premium Ltd.  The interesting point to note is that this MG Premium entity seems to be a common thread through a number of the big-name porn companies, which suggests that there is a common owner or entity through which they tunnel their copyright enforcement activities.  At this moment, I am not searching deeper into learning who they are.

Brazzers is another a giant corporation, comprising 47+ separated brand names, each of which have their own website.  Their brand names include:

Asses in Public, Baby Got Boobs, Big Butts Like It Big, Big Tits In Sports, Big Tits In Uniform, Bit Tits at School, Big Tits at Work, Bit Wet Butts, Brazzers Exxtra, Brazzers Live, Brazzers Vault, Brazzers en Espanol, Busty & Real, Bustyz, Butts & Blacks, CFNM Day With A Pornstar, Dirty Masseur, Doctor Adventures, Hot And Mean, Hot Chicks Big Asses, JugFuckers, Milfs Like It Big, Mommy Got Boobs, Moms in control, Pornstars Like it Big, Racks & Blacks, Real Wife Stories, SexPro Adventures, Shes Gonna Squirt, Teens Like It Big, and Teens Like It Black.

As part of their “ZZ Series”, brands include:

A Brazzers Christmas Special, American Whore Story, Brazzers House, Brazzers Worldwide Budapest, Brazzers Worldwide Paris, Deadly Rain, Ghostbusters XXX Parody, Lost in Brazzers, Lustbite, One Night in the Valley, Pornstar POV, Pussy o Plomo, Storm of Kings XXX Parody, The Whore of Wall Street, and ZZ Erection 2016.

List of Brazzers Sites
This is a list of Brazzers sites. Each button is clickable and reveals hundreds of subtopics. This list can be found at http://www.brazzers.com/sitemap/brazzers-porn-directory/

For a list of some of Brazzers titles that I know they have enforced via the DMCA letters, see my original list in the “ORIGINAL LIST OF PORN COMPANIES SENDING DMCA NOTICES” heading.

DIGITAL PLAYGROUND (Manwin DP)

Digital Playground (http://www.digitalplayground.com).  Digital Playground is the third company that obscured their name as soon as I posted the original list in 2014.  They have been known to send out DMCA letters using the names 1) Digital Playground, and more frequently, 2) Manwin DP Corp. DBA Digital Playground.

Digital Playground is another a giant corporation, comprising 47+ separated brand names, each of which have their own website.  However, unlike Reality Kings and Brazzers, Digital Playground has taken steps to mask the list of brand names by hiding them behind an “A(1), B(5), C(0)…” list.  Thus, I am sharing the full list below:

Cougerville, Crave, Dirty Santa, DP Presents, DP Star Confidential, DP STAR Seasons 1-5, Flesh, Flesh: House of Hedonism, Girls of Summer, Gym Angels, House Calls, Infernal, Jack’s Back, League of Frankenstein, Lock and Load, London Knights (a Heroes & Villains XXX Parody Series), Rina Ellis Saves The World (a 90s XXX Parody), Sherlock (a XXX Parody), Sisterhood, Sisters of Anarchy, Ski Bums, Stryker, Swans of LA, The Fetish Diaries, The Pleasure Provider, True Detective: A XXX Parody, Wingmen, and 4Ever.

List of Digital Playground (Manwin) sites.
This is a list of Digital Playground sites. Each button is clickable and reveals hundreds of subtopics. The complete list can be found at http://www.digitalplayground.com/porn-directory-sitemap/series/

For a list of some of Digital Playground titles that I know they have enforced via the DMCA letters, see my original list in the “ORIGINAL LIST OF PORN COMPANIES SENDING DMCA NOTICES” heading, below.

ORIGINAL LIST OF PORN COMPANIES SENDING DMCA NOTICES

Axel Braun Productions
– “Batman XXX: A Porn Parody”

Celestial Inc., DBA Lethal Hardcore
– Fuck My Mom and Me 17

Cinderella Distributors Inc.
– Backdoor To Hollywood 6

Coast to Coast Video
– Older Women Younger Men 16

Combat Zone Inc.
– Daddy’s Little Princess #2

Daring Media Group
– Pretty Woman

Diabolic
– Swallowing is Good For You

Digital Sin, Inc.
– All About Ashlynn 1
– Incestuous
– Little Darlings
– My Anal School Girl
– My Plaything Ashlynn Brooke
– Perfect Little Pussy
– The Family That Lays Together
– The Innocence Of Youth #3, #5, #6
– This Is My First… A Gangbang Movie

Echo Alpha, Inc. DBA Evil Angel
– Fetish Fanatic 12
– Fetish Fuck Dolls 3
– Raw 16
– Rocco’s Perfect Slaves 3
– Rocco’s Young Anal Adventures

Fallout Films
– Naughty Girls 2

Froytal Services Limited DBA Babes (now known as “MG Premium Ltd.”)
– Abrasador
– Amatores
– Dancing With Myself
– Hearts Racing
– Love Encounter
– Raving With Pleasure

Froytal Services Limited DBA Brazzers (now known as “MG Premium Ltd.”)
– Dani’s Back and Ready to Play
– Driving Mrs. Madison Wild
– I Can Walk!!!
– Miss Titness America
– Mommy Got Boobs 15
– Sharing My Roommate’s Cock (Milfs Like It Big)
– Slutty Sorority Contest
– Teens Like It Big 12
– The Dangers of Working From Home (Kiki Minaj)

Froytal Services Limited DBA Mofos (now known as “MG Premium Ltd.”)
– Best Vacation Ever! (Ivy Laine)
– Cheerleader Fantasy
– Flashing Gets Her Whatever She Wants
– Fun And Sex Games
– I Make It Rain On Your Tits (I Know That Girl; Dillon Harper)
– Jewels for the Duch-ASS
– Rub a Dub Gimme a Tug
– Swinging Slut Buffet

Froytal Services Limited DBA Twistys (now known as “MG Premium Ltd.”)
– Burnin’ Luv
– Cum Over And Taste..

GGW Direct, LLC DBA “Girls Gone Wild”
– ALL NEW COLLEGE GIRLS EXPOSED VOL 1
– ALL NEW COLLEGE GIRLS EXPOSED VOL 2
– ALL NEW COLLEGE GIRLS EXPOSED VOL 3
– ALL NEW COLLEGE GIRLS EXPOSED VOL 4
– ALL NEW COLLEGE GIRLS EXPOSED VOL 5
– ALL NEW COLLEGE GIRLS EXPOSED VOL 6
– Baby Bash Live & Uncensored
– Bad Girls 2
– BEACH BABES 3
– BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
– Best Breasts Ever
– BEST BREASTS EVER 2
– Best of Blondes 2
– Celebrity Look-A-Likes
– CO-ED TRYOUTS
– CO-ED TRYOUTS 2
– CO-ED TRYOUTS 3
– DADDY’S LITTLE GIRLS
– Endless Spring Break 3
– Endless Spring Break 4
– Endless Spring Break 5
– Endless Spring Break 6
– Endless Spring Break 7
– Endless Spring Break 9
– Endless Spring Break 10
– Endless Spring Break 11
– Endless Spring Break 12
– Endless Spring Break 13
– Endless Spring Break 14
– EXTREME ORGY 1
– EXTREME ORGY 2
– EXTREME ORGY 3
– FIRST TIMERS
– FIRST TIMERS 2
– Freshman Class
– FRESHMAN ORIENTATION 1
– FRESHMAN ORIENTATION 2
– FRESHMAN ORIENTATION 3
– FRESHMAN ORIENTATION 4
– GGW – Extreme Sex
– GGW – On Tour 1
– GGW – On Tour 2
– GGW – On Tour 3
– GGW – On Tour 4
– GGW – On Tour 5
– GGW – On Tour 6
– GGW – On Tour 7
– GGW – On Tour 8
– GGW – Sweet Young Sex Maniacs
– GIRL POWER
– GIRL POWER 2
– GIRL POWER 3
– GIRL POWER 4
– GIRL POWER 5
– GIRL POWER 6
– GIRL POWER 7
– GIRL POWER 8
– GIRL POWER 8
– GIRL POWER 9
– Girls On Girls
– GIRLS WHO CRAVE SEX
– GIRLS WHO CRAVE SEX 3
– Girls Who Like Girls
– GIRLS WHO LIKE TOYS
– Horny Cheerleaders
– HORNY SCHOOL GIRLS
– HORNY SCHOOL GIRLS 2
– HORNY SCHOOL GIRLS 3 (PRIVATE TAPES)
– HORNY SCHOOL GIRLS 4
– Hottest Texas Coeds
– ISLAND ORGY
– MARDI GRAS INVASION
– My 18th Birthday
– Road Trip
– ROCKS AMERICA
– Sex Race
– SEX STARVED COLLEGE GIRLS 2
– SEX STARVED COLLEGE GIRLS 3
– SEX STARVED COLLEGE GIRLS 4
– SEX STARVED COLLEGE GIRLS 5
– SEX STARVED COLLEGE GIRLS 6
– SEX STARVED COLLEGE GIRLS 7
– SEX STARVED PANTY RAID
– Sexiest Moments Ever
– Sexiest Moments Ever 2
– SORORITY GIRL ORGY
– SORORITY GIRL ORGY 2
– SORORITY GIRL ORGY 3
– SORORITY GIRL ORGY 4
– Spring Break 2007
– SPRING BREAK SEX RIOT
– The Perfect Pair
– THE SEIZED VIDEO
– Ultimate Rush
– Usually a siterip or a torrent containing 25+ titles.
– Wild World
– Wildest Bar in America

Giant Media Group, Inc. DBA Devil’s Film (they have changed this name more than once, but have kept the “Devil’s Film” trade name.)
– Ass Full Of Cum 4
– Best Of Gangland Cream Pie
– Cum On My Hairy Pussy 2
– Cum On My Hairy Pussy 16
– Don’t Tell My Wife I Buttfucked Her Best Friend
– Gangland 70
– Gangland 85
– Gangland Cream Pie 24
– Gangland Cream Pie 25
– Gangland Cream Pie 26
– Gangland Cream Pie 27
– Gangland Cream Pie 28
– I Wanna Buttfuck Your Daughter 10
– My Wife Caught Me Assfucking Her Mother
– My Wife Caught Me Assfucking Her Mother 2
– My Wife Caught Me Assfucking Her Mother 5

Girlfriends Films Inc.
– I Dream of Jo 4 True Passion
– Mother Daughter Exchange Club 27
– Poor Little Shyla 2
– Tides of Lust
– Lesbian First Timers
– Lesbian Seductions 46

Intense Industries
– Fucking Your Socks Off

JM Productions Inc.
– Suck Off Races 3

JW Releasing Ltd
– Kinky Business

Kick Ass Pictures Inc.
– Foot Fetish Daily 9

LFP Internet Group, LLC DBA Hustler
– Barely Legal 2
– Barely Legal 16
– Barely Legal 19
– Barely Legal 84
– Barely Legal 100
– Barely Legal 127
– Barely Legal 128
– Barely Legal 131
– Barely Legal 134
– Barely Legal 138
– Barely Legal 139
– Barely Legal 140
– Barely Legal Little Runaways
– Barely Legal: All Stars 5
– New Wave Hookers
– The Opening of Misty Beethoven
– This Ain’t Game of Thrones

Manwin Content RK Limited DBA Reality Kings (now known as “MG Content RK Limited”)
– 2 For 1 Pink
– A Lavish Load
– Belle Bottom
– Bouncing Deluca (Big Naturals; Angel Deluca)
– Cum Hard
– Dirty Minds
– Full Figure (Monster Curves; Katie Banks)
– Getting Hardy
– Girlfriends Revenge (GF Revenge 6)
– Hello Alexis
– Leather and Lace
– Licking Lessons – Jasmine Wolff (Moms Bang Teens 2013-12-30)
– Naughty Kennedy – Kennedy Leigh (Moms Bang Teens 2014-01-20)
– Pussy Love (Money Talks – Esmi & Lily)
– Riding Riley
– Ripping Through
– Sexy All Star
– Sexy Stella
– Sweet Veronica
– Tits and Hips
– Ass In Heels – Angell Summers (EuroSexParties 2013-05-30)
– Busty Bikini Babes 1
– Finger Licking Good
– Lick It

Manwin DP Corp. DBA Digital Playground
– Bad Girls 5
– Bad Girls 6
– Bridesmaids
– Code of Honor
– Don’t Fuck My Sister
– For Sale
– Island Fever 2
– Island Fever 3
– Jack Attack 4
– Jack’s POV 2
– Jack’s POV 3
– Jack’s POV 5
– Jack’s POV 7
– Jack’s POV 8
– Jack’s POV 10
– Jack’s POV 12
– Jack’s POV 15
– JACK’S POV 19
– Jesse Jane Fuck Fantasy
– Jesse Jane Kiss Kiss
– Lost and Found
– Nurses
– Pink Slip
– Pirates
– Raven Alexis The Substitute
– Riley Steele Deceptions
– Riley Steele Satisfaction
– The Girlfriend Exchange
– Titlicious 2
– Top Guns
– unSEXpected
– Web Whore
– WHEN DADDY’S AWAY

Marc Dorcel
– Cathy 40 (Cheating Housewife)
– WIFE NEXT DOOR

Marc Dorcel DBA SBO Pictures, Inc.
– Orgy Anthology

SBO Pictures DBA Vouyer Media
– Jack In Me POV 2

SBO Pictures DBA Wicked Pictures
– Daddy Did The Babysitter
– I Was a Mail Order Bride
– Octomom: Home Alone
– Selfies
– Spacenuts
– Teen Ravers

Metro Media Entertainment
– Cute Little Asses

Millennium TGA, DBA Grooby Productions
– Buddy Wood’s Shemale Bedtime Stories

New Sensations Inc.
– Almost Heaven
– Anal Sex Secrets
– Ashlynn Brooke Is Sexy
– Big Bang Theory A XXX Parody
– Big Girls Are Sexy #3
– Double D Vixens
– Friends A Xxx Parody
– I Can’t Believe I’m Doing This (Zeina Heart)
– I Love Asians 11
– I Love Asians 5
– Redheads Are Sexy #5
– Sexy Student Bodies`
– WKRP in Cincinnati: A XXX Parody
– Young Girls With Big Tits 10

Patrick Collins Inc., DBA Elegant Angel
– Alexis Texas Is Buttwoman
– Big Wet Asses #3
– Big Wet Asses #6
– Big Wet Asses #7
– Big Wet Asses 16
– Cuties 4
– It’s A Daddy Thing!
– It’s A Secretary Thing!
– It’s A Secretary Thing! 2
– Massive Facials 5
– Performers Of The Year 2014
– Real Female Orgasms 10
– The A Line
– The Bombshells 5
– The Greatest Squirters Ever! 4

Pleasure Productions Inc.
– Wild Honey 2 (Tera Patrick)

RLD Distribution LLC
– Girls Of Red Light District – Sasha Grey
– I Bang Teens (Megan Salinas)
– White Dicks Black Chicks

Second Phase Distribution Inc.
– Big Butt All Stars – Crystal Clear
– Mama Turned Me Out 3
– Mama Turned Me Out 4
– Mama Turned Me Out 5
– Pigtail Virgins

Third Degree Films, Inc.
– Big Boob Orgy 2
– Curve Appeal
– Illegal Ass 2
– Laid In Lingerie 2
– Laid in Lingerie 3
– Spunk’d 7
– Spunk’d 8
– Top Ten 2

Vivid Entertainment LLC
– Farrah 2 Backdoor and More
– Farrah Superstar: Backdoor Teen Mom
– Kim Kardashian Superstar
– Raven Alexis Unleashed
– Raylene’s Dirty Work
– Tera, Tera, Tera (Tera Patrick)
– Tila Tequila Backdoored and Squirting
– Tristan Taormino’s Expert Guide to the G-Spot

White Ghetto Films Inc.
– Group Sex Junkies

Zero Tolerance Entertainment
– Dr. Ava’s Guide to Sensual BDSM For Couples
– Is Your Mother Home?

Now obviously you will notice a common theme along each of these copyright holders, and that is the “genre” of content they all produce. You will also notice that in this list there are “copyright trolls,” (meaning, companies who in the past have used or use the federal courts to sue individual downloaders for copyright infringement) and there are “not” copyright trolls (meaning, companies who have NOT sued defendants for copyright infringement). You can see which are copyright trolls by either searching the web for their name, or doing a search on PACER or JUSTIA to see whether they have sued in federal court.

A few things to note.

1) Many of the larger companies have multiple websites, and do business as multiple entities. For example, Froytal Services Ltd. “does business as” (“DBA”) Mofos and Brazzers (corresponding to their Mofos.com and Brazzers.com websites).

2) Many copyright holders are OLDER COMPANIES and FAMILY OPERATED BUSINESSES. This means that it is common to have former porn companies hire CEG TEK to track and send letters for “vintage” films from the 1970’s and 1980’s. The copyrights for these films ARE STILL IN EFFECT, and the former owners of those companies are now elder individuals who are now enforcing their copyrights from FORTY YEARS AGO. On the flip side, many older couples have been caught downloading a film from their youth thinking that since the titles were so old, it was probably legal to do so.

In sum, all I ask of everyone is to understand that the bittorrent networks are no longer safe, and when you download something, assume someone else is watching you. And, be aware that there are companies out there like RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT who are lurking in the bittorrent swarms waiting for you to click on a link so that they can send you a settlement demand letter.


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 Believe the MPAA/RIAA Schemed to Break Copyright Law

Yesterday, I spent most of the day writing articles for the blog.  My two priorities for the day were 1) to get articles out on RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT (focusing on how they differ from what I wrote about CEG-TEK), and 2) to write about the great merging of the porn and movie industry to break copyright law.

THE RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT ARTICLES FOCUSED ON HOW THEY DIFFER FROM CEG-TEK.

Getting articles out on RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT was my first priority, specifically, because so many people were going to the old CEG-TEK articles, and I did not want to give my readers a false sense of security based on what I wrote about those same topics as they applied to the CEG-TEK entity.

RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT should be considered a hostile copyright troll (analogous to a John Steele / Prenda-level troll because their beliefs about law and ‘pirates’ mirror each other).  I have abstained from commenting on the personality of Carl Crowell (the owner of RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT and the likely puppet master behind all of the adult film and movie “John Doe” bittorrent lawsuits filed across the US).  However, I meant it when I said that one should expect tactics of using very illegal, but untraceable means to violate the security of your computer when you log into his site in order to gain leverage over you and scare you into paying a settlement.

Why do I think Crowell would break the law just as John Steele did to achieve his goals?  Attorneys that powerful (if not already corrupt) become corrupted, and I have too often seen them develop a sense of invincibility to the law.  After crossing one grey line after another, they ultimately end up breaking the law thinking that they will never be caught.  This is what happened to John Steele, and this is what I am guessing will eventually happen to the Carl Crowell.

HERE IS WHAT I KNOW ABOUT THE RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT CASES.  ALL ARTICLES POSTED WERE OFFSHOOTS OF TOPICS FROM THIS ARTICLE.

You should expect that RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT will likely be treating cases differently than CEG-TEK did, so I did not want people to get the wrong impression that they were harmless, as CEG-TEK was (in comparison).

WHY I NOW BELIEVE THAT THE MPAA/RIAA COLLUDED WITH THE PORN COMPANIES TO CREATE CASE LAW IN ORDER TO BREAK COPYRIGHT LAW.

The more important topic I wrote about yesterday got shadowed by my other articles.  That topic was how the MPAA/RIAA appears to have colluded with the adult film / porn companies with the intent of breaking copyright law.

HERE IS WHY I THINK THAT THE MPAA/RIAA IS BEHIND THE ADULT FILM LAWSUITS WE HAVE SEEN OVER THE LAST SEVEN YEARS.

I started the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC in 2010, just as the MPAA/RIAA lawsuits became quiet. I always wondered where they went, and why they stopped suing defendants.

Now based upon the explicit ‘coming together’ of the adult film companies, the movie companies (MPAA), and now Rightscorp (RIAA) under the leadership of Carl Crowell, his network of attorneys filing Guardaley-backed bittorrent lawsuits across the US, and now the appearance of his RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT company, the merging of what were thought to be separate entities demonstrates that perhaps they weren’t so separate as we thought they were.

WHY I THINK THAT THE MOVIE INDUSTRY AND THE PORN INDUSTRY WERE IN COLLUSION

With the appearance of the RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT entity, I couldn’t help but to think that 1) EITHER CARL CROWELL IS A GENIUS ATTORNEY WHO HAS MERGED THE TWO VERY SEPARATE FACTIONS — MOVIE-BASED COPYRIGHT TROLLS, and PORNOGRAPHY-BASED COPYRIGHT TROLLS, or 2) CARL CROWELL IS MERELY A FIGUREHEAD, A PATSY.

Reading what I have learned about this man, I cannot believe that he is a genius who has united the separate entities of movie lawsuits and porn lawsuits.  This is just too big of a project for one man.  Rather, I think Carl Crowell is the figurehead replaced by some entity behind the scenes when the relationship between this Guardaley-backed ‘investor’ and Keith Lipscomb soured in April of 2016.

REMEMBER — WHEN LIPSCOMB AND MALIBU MEDIA LLC PARTED WAYS, LIPSCOMB AND GUARDALEY ALSO PARTED WAYS.  MALIBU MEDIA LLC CONTINUED FILING LAWSUITS WITH THEIR GUARDALEY-BACKED ENTITY AS THE BOSS, CLAIMING, “WE HAVE A NEW INVESTOR.”  ONLY THEN WAS CARL CROWELL INSTALLED AS THE HEAD OF THE GUARDALEY-BACKED SET OF LAWSUITS.

Thus, it occurred to me that Carl Crowell is not the one behind everything, but he is merely their “figurehead / fall guy” answering to some higher entity (just as Lipscomb was the “figurehead / fall guy” to some higher entity for all of the porn-based lawsuits filed since 2010, and just as Paul Duffy of Prenda Law Inc. (R.I.P.) was the “figurehead / fall guy” installed by John Steele).  [It would be interesting to learn whether John Steele TOO answered to some higher entity, because he too fits the profile I am about to describe.]  Each of these guys came out of nowhere into positions of extreme power, and with the exception of Lipscomb, each of these guys reminded me of drunk fraternity guys who showed up to work in a stretched and torn football jersey, shorts, and a hangover.

HOW I ARRIVED AT THE CONCLUSION THAT THE MOVIE AND PORN INDUSTRY ARE WORKING TOGETHER TO BREAK COPYRIGHT LAW

In the context of researching the ME2 cases (already noting that there was a connection between a number of movie cases [ME2/COOK/CELL/SEPTEMBER/I.T.], specifically, that the same attorneys were filing the same set of lawsuits across the US), I wrote a side article explaining “the evolution of piracy,” (an innocuous post).  In that post, it occurred to me that “it would be just too terrible” if there was collusion between the movie industry and the porn industry.

A few days later, I noticed in my website’s analytics that people were rushing to view my CEG-TEK articles, and I could not figure out why (CEG-TEK was no longer sending out letter to John Doe Defendants).  From there, I learned about Carl Crowell (who I previously ignored as being a nobody) and his RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT entity, which demonstrated that there was a connection between the movie industry and the porn industry.

It was then when I saw that Carl Crowell’s RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT entity represented both the mainstream movie companies (the ME2 / COOK PRODUCTIONS / I.T. PRODUCTIONS connection I was already looking for), and from my own website analytics and follow-up research, learning that RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT was also sending out notices for CEG-TEK’s old porn company clients that I made the connection that perhaps there was a relationship between the porn and movie industry.

Then I remembered the Guardaley connection years back when representing clients in the Dallas Buyers Club, LLC cases, and it occurred to me that some entity connected with Guardaley is behind both the porn-based lawsuits AND the movie-based lawsuits, but why?  That is where I learned that Rightscorp (the MPAA/RIAA also joined with Carl Crowell), and the connection made sense.  Through some common entity or ‘investor’, both the movie companies and the adult film companies are having their lawsuits funded.  Then it occurred to me how convenient it would have been for that investor to be the MPAA/RIAA, especially considering the millions they are pouring into Rightscorp (a sinking ship), just as they spent [I believe] hundreds of millions on lawsuits for copyright infringement shortly before I started my Cashman Law Firm, PLLC in 2010.

I always wondered why all of a sudden in 2010, the MPAA/RIAA stopped filing the copyright infringement lawsuits.  Now, I am starting to understand that if I am correct about the MPAA/RIAA being the entity behind the adult film lawsuits, they never did stop their activities.  Rather, they just devised a clever scheme to get the porn industry to file lawsuits and blaze the trail to create case law across the US (because most pornography-based defendants do not fight back, and judges laugh when they see the explicit porn titles sued upon, and through this uncomfortable laugh, judges undermine their legal sense and allow the ‘repressed, stigma-based industry’ to proceed with protecting their rights to sue “just like everyone else.”).  As a result of having the porn companies file the lawsuits across the US, IF what is unfolding ends up being true, then the MPAA/RIAA schemed to break copyright infringement law so that they can come back seven years later and start filing lawsuits, but now, with a “lower bar” and relaxed legal standards.


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.