Category Archives: Hawaii (HI)

Venice PI LLC (not so “new” copyright troll) filing in select Carl Crowell local counsel courts.

There is a “new” copyright troll filing lawsuits with a fervor across the US named “Venice PI, LLC” (more on the word “new”; more on “across the US”).  The Venice PI lawsuits all claim $150,000 copyright infringement damages for the illegal download of the “Once Upon a Time in Venice” movie starring Bruce Willis.  ISPs are sending notices to their subscribers informing them that a Venice PI subpoena requesting their identity has been provided to them, and that they are under an order signed by a federal judge to comply, unless the subscriber files a “motion to quash” the subpoena.

ISPs sending the subpoena notices to its subscribers informing them about the Once Upon a Time in Venice movie lawsuit include CenturyLink, Comcast Xfinity, Hawaii Telecom, Optimum Online, Verizon Fios, and Time Warner Cable, depending on where you live.

As of this evening, I see lawsuits filed as early as 6/28/2017 and as recent as 7/18/2017. Once Upon a Time in Venice movie lawsuits are being filed in Texas, Indiana, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington.

…Where have we seen those list of states before?!?

Already, without even looking, I can already see based on where the lawsuits are filed that this is yet one more “common troll” set of lawsuits masterminded by Carl Crowell and his RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT entity. I bet you if I looked up the RIGHTSENFORCEMENT.com website, I’d see the “Once Upon a Time in Venice” movie listed there. Let’s look. …Yup. Bottom right, LSD style.

venice-pi-subpoena-once-upon-a-time-in-venice-movie-lawsuit Venice PI

Personally, for a Once Upon a Time in Venice movie lawsuit, I would prefer something less noisy, but you’re not reading this for my aesthetic preferences.

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

Point being, we are dealing with Carl Crowell and his local counsel in the various states.  This means that we know not only what the lawsuits will look like (as far as which judge will allow what), but we know the plaintiff attorney who has sent the subpoenas, and their proclivities.  This means that we know which attorneys are squeamish in naming and serving defendants, which are comfortable taking the lawsuit straight into discovery, and which are “quick on the trigger,” (think, the train whistle blows before the train has left the station) meaning, which attorneys will get him or herself into trouble with a judge by not following the rules, and as a result, names and serves every John Doe Defendant.

This historical knowledge of who has done what is one reason to hire an attorney, but knowing which way to approach the lawsuit based on the proclivities of the attorney filing the lawsuit is another reason you hire an attorney.  In short, we all know that the options are FIGHT, NO-SETTLE REPRESENTATION, SETTLE (without describing each option, as I’ve done this before), and we all know that for a defendant who did not do the download, I recommend one set of options, and for someone who did do the download, I recommend another set of options.  Don’t be fooled — it’s not black and white. [SPEAK TO ME if you want my opinion on your particular case.]

Now for those who want to settle, we already have an idea of what Venice PI settlement amounts each attorney will likely ask for (their asking prices), and based on the other lawsuits filed by these attorney, we have a good idea of what settlement amounts Venice PI, LLC will accept, if you decided to settle in the first place.  Again, there is the no settlement representation, where you have me keep an open line of communication with the plaintiff attorney to demonstrate to him/her why you did not do the download, and there is also a “no settlement letter” which I write for innocent clients to stop the troll scheme cold.

In short, there is a lot of repeat here because this lawsuit contains a lot of repeat from what we’ve seen in the past with the ME2 Productions (Mechanic:Resurrection) movie lawsuits, the UN4 Productions (Undisputed 4) movie lawsuits, the Headhunter LLC (A Family Man) movie lawsuits, the WWE Studios (Eliminator) movie lawsuits, the Cook Productions (Mr. Church) movie lawsuits, etc.  Rinse, repeat, rinse repeat.

For those interested in learning more about the Venice PI LLC lawsuits, see the two links below:

Venice Pi (‘Once Upon a Time in Venice’) Movie Lawsuit Page,” written on 7/19/2017, and
All I know about the Venice Pi, LLC (‘Once Upon a Time in Venice’) Movie Lawsuits (FAQ),” written on 7/18/2017.

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

RECENT CASE HISTORY OF THE VENICE PI SUBPOENA CASES:

VENICE PI ISP subpoenas ordered in the Texas Southern District Court
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-16 (Case No. 4:17-cv-02203)

VENICE PI ISP subpoenas ordered in the various North Carolina District Courts

Venice PI subpoena cases in the North Carolina Eastern District Court:
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-12 (Case No. 5:17-cv-00337, Case No.5:17-cv-00333)
… v. Does 1-11 (Case No. 5:17-cv-00334)
… v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 5:17-cv-00340, Case No. 5:17-cv-00339, Case No. 4:17-cv-00089)

Venice PI subpoena cases in the North Carolina Middle District Court:
… v. DOES 1-11 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00611)
… v. DOES 1-18 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00610)

Venice PI subpoena cases in the North Carolina Western District Court:
… v. Does 1-10 (Case No. 3:17-cv-00409, Case No. 1:17-cv-00170)

VENICE PI ISP subpoena ordered in the New York District Courts
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-04076, 1:17-cv-04249, 1:17-cv-04904)

VENICE PI ISP subpoenas ordered in the Oregon District Court
… v. Doe-73.96.114.240 (Case No. 3:17-cv-01002)
… v. Doe-71.59.242.118 (Case No. 3:17-cv-01001)

VENICE PI ISP subpoenas ordered in the Indiana Northern & Southern District Courts
… v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 2:17-cv-00284, Case No. 2:17-cv-00285, Case No. 1:17-cv-02274, Case No. 1:17-cv-02328)

VENICE PI ISP subpoenas ordered in the Colorado District Court
… v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-01664)

VENICE PI ISP subpoenas ordered in the Hawaii District Court
… v. Doe 1; et al. (Case No. 1:17-cv-00335)

VENICE PI ISP subpoenas ordered in the Washington Western District Court
Venice PI LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 2:17-cv-01076, Case No. 2:17-cv-01075, Case No. 2:17-cv-01074, Case No. 2:17-cv-00988, Case No. 2:17-cv-00990, Case No. 2:17-cv-00991)


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.

…OR, SKIP TO THE APPOINTMENT…

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.

UN4 Productions movie lawsuits spread with Boyka: Undisputed 4

UN4 Productions ISP Subpoenas sent

I don’t take pleasure in writing this, but there is a new copyright troll on the block named UN4 Productions, Inc. (a Millennium Films company). For the past two weeks, UN4 Productions ISP subpoenas have been going out to internet users informing them that they have been implicated as being a John Doe defendant in the UN4 Productions lawsuit (a.k.a. the Boyka: Undisputed 4 lawsuit). Each lawsuit claims copyright infringement damages of $150,000 for the illegal download or streaming of the Boyka: Undisputed 4 movie using bittorrent, or some other streaming device.

The name Boyka generally means “One Who Terrifies in Battle,” fitting for a gory fighting movie. Boyka: Undisputed 4 focuses on the story of Yuri Boyka, a mixed martial arts fighter.

Boyka: Undisputed 4 Video Trailer (click here)

Why the Boyka: Undisputed 4 ISP subpoenas mirror what we have seen

As soon as I looked into this new copyright troll, I realized that this is a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” copyright troll. The UN4 Productions ISP subpoena that you just received in the mail is coming from the same copyright enforcement entity (think Carl Crowell, or rightsenforcement.com) who just finished sending you bittorrent lawsuits for the ME2 Productions movie lawsuits, the Cook Productionsmovie lawsuits, the I.T. Productions movie lawsuits, LHF Productions movie lawsuits (think, London Has Fallen), and so many others.

Are the Boyka: Undisputed 4 movie lawsuits targeting a particular ethnic group??

The difference here with the Boyka: Undisputed 4 lawsuit is that this pirated movie has been dressed up as an ethnic movie (the previews I saw had arabic subtitles). Think, ME2 Productions, Inc. with no shirt, ripped bloody muscles, adrenaline-pumping punches all in line with the three previous Undisputed 4 movies [Undisputed (2002), Undisputed II: Last Man Standing (2006), and Undisputed III: Redemption (2010]).

UN4 Productions ISP subpoenas sent for the Boyka: Undisputed movie lawsuit
antfrank / Pixabay

“tracking an ethnic-based movie based on a specific nationality”

Again, just in case you did not get my innuendo. The twisted offense here with the Boyka: Undisputed 4 lawsuit is that the  UN4 Productions copyright trolls have developed a new way of catching people — by tracking an ethnic-based pirated movie based on a specific nationality.  They spread a fishnet, monitor the downloads, and vwallah!  They catch bittorrent downloaders with ethnic names. When that defendant claims “it isn’t me who did the download!” the plaintiff attorney just chuckles at Youssef, Oleksiy, Omar, or whichever ethnic name just happened to be the same ethnic group or nationality for whom the movie was made.

UN4 Productions ISP subpoenas sent for the Boyka: Undisputed movie lawsuit

How you can understand the Boyka: Undisputed 4 cases

First of all, at some point this evening, I will be writing a FAQ page so that you can understand what is going on with your Boyka: Undisputed 4 lawsuit.  I will be posting that link here.

To keep things simple, when you think of the UN4 Productions ISP subpoena you just received, or when you think about the Boyka: Undisputed 4 movie lawsuit, just think to yourself, “this is ME2 Productions in disguise. Same rules apply.” With the UN4 Productions lawsuit, the plaintiff attorney lawyers are exactly the same lawyers as with the ME2 Productions, Cook Productions, LHF Productions lawsuits we’ve been seeing for months now.

Thus, you must come to the logical conclusion that the Boyka: Undisputed 4 movie lawsuit is simply another Carl Crowell (RightsEnforcement.com) common troll lawsuit with the same attorney characters we have seen before. We can infer that behind the scenes, the common troll entity (with MPAA’s blessing) approached the real production company of the Boyka: Undisputed 4 movie, and offered to license the rights to monetize the copyright rights on behalf of the Boyka: Undisputed 4 copyright holder (this means, sue defendants, extort multi-thousand dollar settlements from each John Doe Defendant, name some, dismiss some).

How we at the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC understand the Boyka: Undisputed 4 cases.

In sum, because we know the copyright enforcement entity behind the scenes of this lawsuit (think, APMC, or Anti-Piracy Management Company), and because we know the proclivities of the plaintiff attorneys (who names and serves, who settles, etc.) coupled with the federal judges who are assigned the various cases in each federal district court, we can predict with some relative certainty what will happen in each case.

Whether that means filing a motion to quash an ISP subpoena, whether that means we will recommend that we defend your case, or whether we settle the claims against you or simply convince the plaintiff attorneys that it was not you who did the download (no settlement representation), there are a number of options we could take to represent our clients in these cases.

Here are the cases:

UN4 Productions ISP subpoenas ordered in the Colorado District Court
[Most cases assigned to Judge Wiley Y. Daniel]
UN4 Productions, Inc. v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-01419, Case No. 1:17-cv-01477, Case No. 1:17-cv-01577, Case No. 1:17-cv-01253, Case No. 1:17-cv-01299)

UN4 Productions ISP subpoena ordered in the Hawaii District Court
… v. Doe 1 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00282)

UN4 Productions ISP subpoenas ordered in the Illinois Northern District Court
UN4 PRODUCTIONS, INC. v. DOES 1-22 (Case No. 1:17-cv-04865)
… v. DOES 1-25 (Case No. 1:17-cv-04868)
… v. DOES 1-21 (Case No. 1:17-cv-04866)
… v. DOES 1-18 (Case No. 1:17-cv-04863)
… v. DOES 1-23 (Case No. 1:17-cv-04861)

UN4 Productions ISP subpoenas ordered in the Indiana Northern & Southern District Courts
UN4 Productions, Inc. v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 3:17-cv-00473, Case No. 1:17-cv-00257, Case No. 1:17-cv-00228, Case No. 1:17-cv-02037, Case No. 1:17-cv-02070, Case No. 1:17-cv-01710)

UN4 Productions ISP subpoenas ordered in the New York Eastern & Southern District Courts
UN4 Productions, Inc. v. Doe-67.243.172.121 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-03621)
… v. Doe-173.68.177.95 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-03278)
… v. Doe-184.152.88.112 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-04817)

UN4 Productions ISP subpoenas ordered in the North Carolina Eastern District Court
UN4 Productions, Inc v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 5:17-cv-00278, Case No. 5:17-cv-00286, Case No. 5:17-cv-00317, Case No. 5:17-cv-00232, Case No. 7:17-cv-00109)
UN4 Productions, Inc v. John Doe 1-12 (Case No. 5:17-cv-00238)

UN4 Productions ISP subpoenas ordered in the North Carolina Middle District Court
… v. DOES 1-10 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00502)
… v. DOES 1-10 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00528)
… v. DOES 1-12 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00444)
… v. DOE 1, et al. (Case No. 1:17-cv-00453)

UN4 Productions ISP subpoenas ordered in the North Carolina Western District Court
… v. Does (Case No. 3:17-cv-00295, Case No. 3:17-cv-00297, Case No. 3:17-cv-00315, Case No. 3:17-cv-00329, Case No. 3:17-cv-00282, Case No. 3:17-cv-00284)

UN4 Productions ISP subpoenas ordered in the Ohio Northern & Southern District Courts
… v. Does (Case No. 3:17-cv-01190)
… v. Does 1-11 (Case No. 5:17-cv-01185)
… v. Does 1-12 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00388)
… v. Does 1-11 (Case No. 2:17-cv-00492)

UN4 Productions ISP subpoenas ordered in the Oregon District Court
… v. Doe-76.27.210.76 (Case No. 3:17-cv-00721)
… v. Doe-71.238.54.166 (Case No. 3:17-cv-00722)

UN4 Productions ISP subpoenas ordered in the Pennsylvania Eastern District Court
… v. JOHN DOES 1-9 (Case No. 2:17-cv-02481)
… v. JOHN DOES 1-15 (Case No. 2:17-cv-02768)

UN4 Productions ISP subpoenas ordered in the Texas Southern District Court
… v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 4:17-cv-01685)
… v. Does 1-13 (Case No. 4:17-cv-01788)
… v. Does 1-13 (Case No. 4:17-cv-01834)

UN4 Productions ISP subpoenas ordered in the Washington Western District Court
[Most cases assigned to Judge Robert S. Lasnik]
… v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 2:17-cv-00892, Case No. 2:17-cv-00786, Case No. 2:17-cv-00785)

WWE Studios Finance Corp. (“Eliminators”) Charles Rainey to be sanctioned?

What just happened in Nevada with the Eliminators Movie lawsuits?

WWE Studios Finance Corp. Nevada attorney Charles Rainey just sent what appear to be unauthorized subpoenas to CenturyLink subscribers accused of downloading their “Eliminators” movie. The last time an attorney made such a mistake was in 2011, and that attorney (Evan Stone) got sanctioned for the same conduct.

How did we know about the Eliminators movie lawsuit so early in the process?

Last Friday in my RIGHTSENFORCEMENT (NEW MPAA MOVIE COMPANIES GONE COPYRIGHT TROLL) article, I provided a new list of movies which RIGHTSENFORCEMENT listed on their website as “new clients.” I predicted that they would soon be filing lawsuits based on these movies. That same day, my prediction came true (I wasn’t expecting lawsuits for the Eliminators movie for another few months, as this same ‘common troll’ entity is still focusing their efforts on the ME2 Productions (Mechanic:Resurrection movie) lawsuits, the Cook Productions (Mr. Church) lawsuits, and the I.T. Productions (I.T. Movie) lawsuits).

WWE Studios Finance Corp. [now joining the ranks of many shell entities suing on behalf of a ‘common troll‘ entity], just filed suit against a small group (under 100) John Doe Defendants in Connecticut (CT), Hawaii (HI), Pennsylvania (PA), and Nevada (NV).

WHAT IS A ‘COMMON TROLL’ ENTITY?:  A ‘common troll’ entity is one that contacts a movie production company for a failed movie (e.g., a “flopper”), and convinces it to license the rights to sue defendants who view their films without authorization (e.g., via bittorrent or Popcorn Time).  That ‘common troll’ entity then sets up a shell corporation (or, enlists some other limited liability entity) masquerading as the copyright holder itself and sues defendants in federal court for copyright infringement on the copyright holder’s behalf.

WWE Studios Finance Corp. is claiming copyright infringement for the unlawful download of the “Eliminators” movie. Here is a snapshot of that title from the RIGHTSENFORCEMENT copyright troll’s own site (noting its placement among other movies, which I believe will soon be subject of future lawsuits):
wwe-studios-finance-corp-eliminators-imageThe purpose of this article, however, is not to discuss the WWE Studios Finance Corp. movie lawsuits, but to discuss their Nevada attorney, Charles Rainey of Hamrick & Evans, LLP (let’s hope they have some good malpractice insurance based on what I am about to share).

Who is WWE Studios’ plaintiff attorney Charles Rainey?

Charles Rainey is the plaintiff attorney / copyright troll attorney filing all of the WWE Studios Finance Corp. (Eliminators movie) lawsuits on behalf of his ‘common troll‘ (Guardaley / MPAA) client. I was looking at the docket for his WWE Studios Finance Corp. v. John and Jane Does (Case No. 2:17-cv-00899) case, and it occurred to me that Charles Rainey sent subpoenas out to CenturyLink subscribers WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION FROM THE JUDGE.

What is your proof that this sanctionable conduct occurred?

Here is a copy of the court’s docket — you’ll notice NO AUTHORIZATION from Nevada Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach giving him permission to send the subpoenas, and sending subpoenas without explicit authorization to do so can land the copyright troll attorney with SANCTIONS from the court.

050217-WWE-Studios-Subpoena-Sent-to-CenturyLink-Without-Court-Authorization-image

What support do you have that sending subpoenas to ISPs without court authorization is sanctionable conduct?

If you are an attorney and you were practicing back in 2011 (or if you were following cases even back then), you might remember the last time an attorney did that. Does the name Evan Stone out of Dallas, TX sound familiar to you?

Read about what happened to copyright troll Evan Stone when he did the same thing.

In short, before WWE Studios (Eliminator movie) copyright troll attorney Charles Rainey even asked the court for permission as to whether WWE Studios could send the subpoenas to unmask the identities of the John Doe Defendants implicated in his Nevada cases, “he will have already received identifying information of the CenturyLink subscribers and will have already been communicating with the John Doe Defendants in this case (and possibly others), likely to discuss or extort a settlement from each defendant… all this before the court even gave him permission to ask for the identities of the John Doe Defendants.”

Can you complain to the judge on our behalf as our attorney?

Yes.  Now obviously, Nevada District Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach (and Nevada District Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey) likely do not yet know that Charles Rainey had the chutzpah (using the language from the Evan Stone sanctions) to subpoena the names of the defendants without their authorization.  But now they will know about it, and if you are a WWE Studios Finance Corp. v. John and Jane Does Defendant, you should certainly complain about this because Charles Rainey is not yet entitled to know who you are.

What is your opinion about sanctions, and would $10,000 sanctions be appropriate?

As an attorney, I don’t like seeing any attorney get sanctioned.  However, copyright trolls and their attorneys engage in what is known as an abuse of process, or more easily said, an abuse of the court’s resources.  They pay the court one $400 fee to file the case against multiple defendants, and they cost the judge many months of time adjudicating the case when in reality, they are using the lawsuit as a mechanism to shake down John Doe defendants accused of unlawfully viewing their client’s movies.

When calculating sanctions, such a calculation should be commensurate with the amount of money that attorney has unlawfully collected through his scheme (and I wouldn’t find it objectionable to expand the scope of the sanctions investigation into other settlement amounts received on behalf of the same copyright troll ‘common troll’ entity filed in this same court).

In the case of Evan Stone, he collected tens (possibly hundreds) of settlements at $2,500 per settlement, and that is why I thought $10,000 sanctions against Evan Stone was inappropriately low — it only amounted to FOUR settlements.

Here with this WWE Studios Finance Corp. entity (and more particularly, the ‘common troll’ entity behind the scenes and in the shadows), settlement amounts are significantly higher than in 2011 when Evan Stone filed his lawsuits in the Dallas, TX federal courts.

This same entity filing this “Eliminators” movie lawsuit also is also filing the ME2 Productions (Mechanic:Resurrection movie) lawsuits, the Cook Productions (Mr. Church) lawsuits, the I.T. Productions (I.T. Movie) lawsuits, and has also filed hundreds of others over that past five years.  From this history, we already know that settlement amounts solicited can be as low as $3,500, and as high as $8,000.

Thus, if the court decided to sanction Rainey for this same conduct that the Texas Northern District Court sanctioned Evan Stone in 2011, it should be commensurate with the settlement amounts Charles Rainey is soliciting and bringing in for his ‘common troll’ client.  Plus, we are six years and literally 6,000+ copyright troll cases after the Evan Stone cases were filed, where copyright trolling and the process of obtaining early discovery from the court is well known.  Thus, any attorney who sends subpoenas to ISP [without authorization from the court] forcing them to disclose the identities of their subscribers should know better.


FOR IMMEDIATE CONTACT WITH AN ATTORNEY: Click here for more general information about WWE Studios Finance Corp. lawsuits (I will be creating the page shortly), their known tactics, and their strategies.  To set up a free consultation to speak to an attorney about your WWE Studios Finance Corp. lawsuit, 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.

List of WWE Studios Finance Corp. Lawsuits for the Eliminators Movie By State:

In the Connecticut District Court:

WWE Finance Studio Corporation v. Does 1-14 (Case No. 3:17-cv-00572)

In the Hawaii District Court:

WWE Studios Finance Corp. v. Does 1 Through 16 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00165)

In the Pennsylvania Eastern District (PAED) Court:

WWE STUDIOS FINANCE CORP. v. JOHN DOES 1-8 (Case No. 2:17-cv-01617)

In the Nevada District Court:

WWE Studios Finance Corp. v. John and Jane Does (Case No. 2:17-cv-00899)
WWE Studios Finance Corp. v. John and Jane Does (Case No. 2:17-cv-00897)
WWE Studios Finance Corp. v. John and Jane Does (Case No. 2:17-cv-00896)
WWE STUDIOS FINANCE CORP. v. JOHN AND JANE DOES (Case No. 2:17-cv-00893)

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.

I.T. Productions, LLC should really be called “I, Troll.”

To properly defend against the I.T. Productions, LLC v. Does lawsuits, it is important to understand the similarities between each case.  Each lawsuit, regardless of in which federal court it is filed, has certain similarities.  The purpose of this article is to point out the similarities between the I.T. Productions cases, and other ‘movie troll’ lawsuits filed in the same federal courts by the same copyright troll attorneys.

Different Lawsuits, Same Plaintiff Attorneys?

These past few weeks, I have been pushing the idea that there is an entity (until now, I believed it was Voltage Pictures, Inc.) behind the lawsuits which is calling up movie companies who have produced movies which have flopped in the theaters (I call them “floppers”), and this entity convinces the movie company to license its copyright rights to them so that they can sue bittorrent users as John Doe Defendants in copyright infringement lawsuits across the US.

Yesterday, I wrote about the Cook Productions, LLC lawsuits (which are sending subpoenas to ISPs to reveal the identities of subscribers who are accused of downloading the “Mr. Church” flopper), and I was concerned that maybe this copyright holder was somehow separate from the others — the ME2 Productions lawsuits, the September Productions lawsuits, and the Cell Film Holdings lawsuits (the “three legs” or “trio“) — that we have been seeing over the past few months. [So it’s not a three-legged stool; it’s a chair.]

But then this morning, I was writing an article on the I.T. Productions, LLC lawsuits, and after speaking to a John Doe Defendant on the phone, I decided to check the list of plaintiff attorneys suing in each state for the I.T. Productions to the attorneys suing in the ME2 Productions, September Productions, (and also LHF Productions and Criminal Productions, Inc., articles to come), and the connections popped out at me.  They are the same attorneys!!!

In sum, this ‘shadow entity’ (which I believed to be Voltage Pictures, Inc.) who is licensing ‘floppers’ is using the same attorneys to sue for each and every one of these movies.

I.T. Productions cases are filed in the same states as other movie troll cases.

Not only that, but for the IT Productions, LLC cases, they are even ‘dipping their toes’ into the same states as I saw yesterday when reviewing the Cook Productions, LLC cases.  Here are the similarities:

Arizona District Court (NONE YET)
Colorado District Court (I.T. 10 cases, Cook Productions, 1 case)
Hawaii District Court (I.T. 2 cases, Cook Productions, 4 cases)
Illinois Northern District Court (NONE YET)
Indiana Northern & Southern District Courts (NONE YET)
Kentucky Western District Court (I.T. 1 case, Cook Productions 1 case)
Maryland District Court (I.T. 1 case, Cook Productions 1 case)
Nevada District Court (I.T. 1 case, Cook Productions 1 case)
North Carolina Eastern & Middle District Courts (NONE YET)
Ohio Northen & Southern District Courts (I.T. 2 cases, Cook Productions 2 cases)
Oregon District Courts (I.T. 4 cases, Cook Productions 3 cases)
Pennsylvania Eastern District Court (I.T. 1 case, Cook Productions 1 case)
Washington Western District Court (I.T. 1 case, Cook Productions 1 case)

See the similarities?!?  So… expect to see I.T. Productions, LLC cases to soon be filed in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, and North Carolina.

Texas based I.T. Productions Cases

Why are Gary Fischman and Josh Wyde always the plaintiff attorneys for each movie troll case?

As far as the attorneys for each of the lawsuits were concerned, I could not understand how here in Texas, Gary Fischman and Josh Wyde showed up OUT OF NOWHERE, and started filing lawsuits for Fathers & Daughters Nevada, September Productions, Cell Film Holdings, and most recently, I.T. Productions and ME2 Productions.  Where did they come from?  And how did they all of a sudden score EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THESE movie companies to come to THEM and hire THEM to sue John Doe defendants in Texas for the unlawful download of these films?

Why is R. Matthew Van Sickle always the attorney for the movie troll cases in North Carolina?

Another name that keeps popping up in recent weeks has been R. Matthew Van Sickle (a.k.a. Ross Matthew Van Sickle) of Van Sickle Law, PC in North Carolina.  His website is http://mattvansicklelaw.com/ and it lists an expertise in “Construction Law, Civil Litigation, Employment Law, Insurance Coverage/Defense, and Mediation” (and no doubt, soon his website will be updated to state that he is knowledgeable in intellectual property matters, copyright infringement matters, and federal practice.) At least plaintiff / copyright troll attorneys Josh Wyde and Gary Fischman (AFAIK) are knowledgeable in this area of law.

The common threads between all movie troll cases.

So… who is behind these lawsuits?  Is it Voltage Pictures, Inc.?  Someone affiliated with Carl Crowell? Guardaley / IPP?  Again, do you care??

All About the I.T. Productions Lawsuits (Regardless of Where They Are Filed)

So I digress.  I.T. Productions, LLC has convinced the judges of the various courts to rubber stamp the authorization for them to conduct what is called ‘expedited discovery.’  What this means is that they are now permitted to send a subpoena to the various ISPs (e.g., Comcast, CenturyLink, AT&T, etc.), and force them to disclose the identity of the ten or so John Doe Defendants who are accused of copyright infringement from the download of their film.

The I.T. Productions, LLC lawsuit is suing for the download of the “I.T.” movie starring Pierce Brosnan.  The concept of the movie is pretty cool — innovative owner of an enterprising company is flying high until his daughter gets stalked by one of his information technology (IT) guys, who uses every technological facet to attack them.

Unfortunately, as cool as the movie sounds, IMDb gave it only 5.4 or 10 stars, which means that the movie was a flopper.  It’s too bad; I liked the concept of the movie.

So why did I spend all this time linking this I.T. Productions case to the Cook Productions case, the ME2 Productions case, and the others?  To show that there is a decrepit and sinister entity behind the scene who has likely now set up the entity called “I.T. Productions, LLC” for the purpose of suing downloaders across the U.S. for copyright infringement.

However, as terrible as this sounds, the benefit to the John Doe Defendant reading this article is that you can begin to draw lines and conclusions from one lawsuit (e.g., the ME2 lawsuits) to understand how the plaintiff attorneys will act in these lawsuits.

Honestly, I think I understand now why this movie is called “I.T.”  It really stands for “I Troll.”

As always, I hope this article has been of assistance to you.

For an analysis of the other I.T. Productions, LLC bittorrent-based cases filed across the US, click here.

RECENT CASE HISTORY OF THE I.T. PRODUCTIONS, LLC CASES:

Cases now filed in the Texas Southern District Court:
Attorney: Gary Fischman (Fischman Law PLLC)

I.T. Productions, LLC v. DOES (Case No. 4:17-cv-00597)

Cases filed in the Colorado District Court:
I.T. Productions, LLC v. Does 1-7 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00468)
I.T. Productions, LLC v. John Doe 1 et al (Case No. 1:16-cv-02979)
Other cases with the same name:
Case No. 1:16-cv-02998
Case No. 1:16-cv-03009
Case No. 1:16-cv-03058
Case No. 1:16-cv-03064
Case No. 1:16-cv-03089
Case No. 1:16-cv-03132
Case No. 1:16-cv-03150
Case No. 1:17-cv-00112

Cases filed in the Hawaii District Court:
I.T. Productions, LLC v. Does 1 through 5 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00084)
I.T. Productions, LLC v. Does 1 through 3 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00035)
I.T. Productions, LLC v. Does 1-6 (Case No. 1:16-cv-00641)

Case filed in the Kentucky Western District Court:
I.T. Productions, LLC v. Does 1-11 (Case No. 3:16-cv-00836)

Case filed in the Maryland District Court:
I.T. Productions, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 8:16-cv-03999)

Case filed in the Nevada District Court:
I.T. Productions, LLC v. Does (Case No. 2:16-cv-02705)

Cases filed in the Ohio Northern and Southern District Courts (respectively):
I.T. Productions LLC v. Does 1-10 (Case No. 3:16-cv-03073)
I.T. Productions LLC v. Does 1-15 (Case No. 2:16-cv-01199)

Cases filed in the Oregon District Court:
I.T. Productions, LLC v. Doe-76.115.0.173 (Case No. 3:16-cv-02102)
I.T. Productions, LLC v. Doe-76.27.241.78 (Case No. 3:16-cv-02103)
I.T. Productions, LLC v. Doe-76.115.228.18 (Case No. 3:16-cv-02101)
I.T. Productions, LLC v. Doe-76.27.242.207 (Case No. 3:17-cv-00163)

Case filed in the Pennsylvania Eastern District Court:
I.T. PRODUCTIONS, LLC v. JOHN DOES 1-8 (Case No. 2:16-cv-06533)

Case filed in the Washington Western District Court:
I.T. Productions, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 2:16-cv-01775)


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.

Cook Productions ‘dipping toes’ into federal court lawsuits.

Cook Productions (“Mr. Church”) Movie Lawsuits are filed across the US.

How many cases have been filed in each federal court?

At the time of writing this article (Feb. 2017), Cook Productions, LLC has sued John Doe Defendants in following US District Courts*:

Arizona District Court (2)
Colorado District Court (1)
Hawaii District Court (4)
Illinois Northern District Court (14)
Indiana Northern & Southern District Courts (1, 1)
Kentucky Western District Court (1)
Maryland District Court (1)
Nevada District Court (1)
North Carolina Eastern & Middle District Courts (1, 5)
Ohio Northen & Southern District Courts (1, 1)
Oregon District Courts (3)
Pennsylvania Eastern District Court (1)
Washington Western District Court (3)

*I have included the number of filings so that you can see in which states these plaintiffs are focusing their efforts.

All About the Mr. Church Movie Lawsuit

Cook Productions, LLC is the legal entity suing Comcast ISP subscribers for the download of the “Mr. Church” movie with Eddie Murphy and Britt Robertson.  The movie itself looked like a feel good drama, although the movie itself got dismal ratings (which is probably why someone agreed to start suing downloaders of this movie to make up for their shortfall.)

  • COS (Consequence of Sound) rated the movie as a D-, referring to it as “unusually bad melodrama…. about as enjoyable as a plague of locusts.”
  • Indiewire rated it as a C-, claiming that the movie “flails for the heartstrings, but instead of reaching them, it only tugs at that muscle that makes you roll your eyes at its old-fashioned, melodramatic attempts at emotion.”

In sum, this is yet one more movie that failed at the box office, which made it a target for some company to snatch it up in some licensing deal, and then turn on its fans by suing each one in the federal courts.  Even the number of downloaders interested in pirating this film is laughably small.

What do I do if I receive a subpoena from my Internet Provider?

For someone who received a subpoena claiming that they should file a motion to quash to stop their ISP from disclosing their contact information, speak to an attorney because most likely, you live in the state in which you were sued, and the court has jurisdiction over you.  I’d be happy to explain this further if you would like, because the last time I taught anyone about motions to quash may have been back in 2012 (by the way; although those articles are many years old now, the law explained in them is still good, so please feel free to revisit older articles as I did a lot of ‘teaching of concepts’ back when bittorrent case law was not yet “hashed out,” pardon the geeky pun).

Is there anything you can share to help me understand this case?

I have four items that I can contribute to these lawsuits which might be of assistance to someone who is looking for some free legal help or tips on how to understand these lawsuits.

1. The lawsuits are smaller than they should be.

The Cook Productions copyright holders do not have many lawsuits.  While it is scary to see multiple lawsuits in your court, in many cases, there are a small handful of defendants in each case (sometimes only including 5-7 John Doe Defendants in one lawsuit).  This suggests to me a fear that they might lose a significant pool of their defendants to a dismissal.  

On the flip side, you could also say that the attorneys expect to maximize the money they make by extorting as much as possible from one or more defendants, but I have reasons why [for the most part] this is not the case.

2. The lawsuits appear to be filed in ‘untested’ states.

The Cook Productions lawsuits are sprinkled a few here, a few there, as if they are ‘dipping their toes’ into the various federal courts to see which jurisdictions end up being favorable to them.

In my experience, this is simply an indication that Cook Productions is either inexperienced or lazy, because if they did their research into what has already happened over the years with other bittorrent lawsuits, they would have learned which jurisdictions are favorable to so-called copyright trolls, and which are not so favorable.

Why file lawsuits in federal courts where judges are known to be unfriendly to copyright trolls?

Placing 14 cases in the Illinois Northern District Court (Prenda Law Inc. / John Steele’s former home court) is simply a mistake because there are too many judges there which will laugh when they see this lawsuit hit their case list.  At least they knew to stay out of Texas.

3. New “no-name” copyright troll attorneys are being tested in these cases.

There are many well known ‘copyright troll attorneys’ in each of the states Cook is filing in.  These attorneys have filed countless lawsuits against many John Doe Defendants over the years.  However, in a handful of states that I have reviewed for the Cook Productions LLC lawsuits, I am seeing “no-name” attorneys represent the copyright holder.

Let me be clear — if I were to hire an attorney to pursue downloaders, I would hire experienced attorneys who have filed lawsuits in these courts, who know the judges, and who know copyright law.  Rather, I am seeing random attorneys take on these clients who have websites that reference the plaintiff attorney’s areas of expertise to be “insurance law,” “employment law,” “construction law,” …but where is the intellectual property law specialty? Where is the “copyright law” specialty?

Answer: There is none.  These fields of expertise are STATE-BASED areas of law, and in my humble opinion, a number of these local attorneys have never stepped foot in a federal court.

4. If the local plaintiff attorneys have no experience in copyright law, then they must be following instructions of someone higher.

How have they filed these cases then?? Funny, I thought the same thing.  The case filings look IDENTICAL to me, suggesting to me that there is SOME COMMON ENTITY WHO IS FEEDING TEMPLATES TO THESE ATTORNEYS, and these attorneys file them in the federal courts.

My final thoughts about the Cook Productions, LLC lawsuits.

In sum, Cook Productions, LLC appears to me to be yet another copyright troll.  If I was a betting man, I would suggest that some entity licensed the rights to the failed “Mr. Church” movie, and is now suing John Doe Defendants across the US using each state’s local attorneys as straw men to act as if they are the ones who are representing the client to enforce that client’s copyright rights.

For an analysis of the other Cook Productions, LLC bittorrent-based cases [as they start to develop past the subpoena phase of the lawsuit], click here.

What are the actual names of the Mr. Cook lawsuits filed in each court?

Cases filed in the Arizona District Court:
Cook Productions LLC v. Unknown Parties (Case No. 2:16-cv-04478)
Also, Case No. 2:16-cv-04481

Case filed in the Colorado District Court:
Cook Productions, LLC v. Doe 1-23 (Case No. 1:16-cv-03198)

Cases filed in the Hawaii District Court:
Cook Productions, LLC v. Does 1 through 15 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00034)
Cases also filed against small-number Doe Defendants:
Does 1-8 (Case No. 1:16-cv-00637)
Does 1-4 (Case No. 1:16-cv-00639)
Does 1-5 (Case No. 1:16-cv-00638)

Cases filed in the Illinois Northern District Court:
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC v. DOES 1-24 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11338)
Cases also filed against small-number Doe Defendants:
v. DOES 1-15 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00522)
v. DOES 1-12 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00536, 1:17-cv-00526)
v. Does 1-29 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11337)
v. DOES 1-12 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00535)
v. Does 1-13 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00523)
v. DOES 1-14 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11347)
v. DOES 1-15 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11345)
v. DOES 1-18 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11341)
v. DOES 1-25 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11340)
v. DOES 1-13 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11350)
v. Does 1-21 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11344)
v. DOES 1-23 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11339)

Cases filed in the Indiana Northern & Southern District Courts (respectively):
Cook Productions, LLC v. Does 1-11 (Case No. 3:16-cv-00773)
COOK PRODUCTIONS LLC v. DOE 1 et al (Case No. 1:16-cv-03158)

Case filed in the Kentucky Western District Court:
NOTE: The “Inc.” is probably a silly typo from a sloppy attorney.

Cook Productions, Inc. v. Does 1-9 (Case No. 3:16-cv-00838)

Case filed in the Maryland District Court:
Cook Productions, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 8:16-cv-03873)

Case filed in the Nevada District Court:
Cook Productions, LLC v. Does (Case No. 2:17-cv-00069)

Cases filed in the North Carolina Eastern & Middle District Courts:
Cook Productions, LLC v. Doe 1, et al. (Case No. 5:16-cv-00910)
Also Filed:
Case No. 5:16-cv-00909
Case No. 5:16-cv-00924
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC V. DOES 1-5 (Case No. 1:16-cv-01369)
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC V. DOES 1-11 (Case No. 1:16-cv-01375, 1:16-cv-01374)
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC V. DOES 1-7 (Case No. 1:16-cv-01372)
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC V. DOES 1-9 (Case No. 1:16-cv-01373)

Cases filed in the Ohio Northern & Southern District Courts (respectively):
Cook Productions, LLC v. Does (Case No. 3:16-cv-03045)
Cook Productions LLC v. Does 1-15 (Case No. 2:16-cv-01192)

Cases Filed in the Oregon District Court:
NOTE: OK, this one concerns me. Look at the attorney and the “single Doe” case lawsuit style. These might play out differently than the others [just my gut feeling].

Cook Productions, LLC v. Doe-50.53.40.201 (Case No. 3:16-cv-02086)
Cook Productions, LLC v. Doe-71.63.208.154 (Case No. 3:16-cv-02085)
Cook Productions v. Doe-73.37.111.126 (Case No. 3:17-cv-00162)

Case filed in the Pennsylvania Eastern District Court:
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC. v. JOHN DOES 1-13 (Case No. 2:17-cv-00705)

Cases filed in the Washington Western District Court:
Cook Productions, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 2:16-cv-01884)
Also filed:
Case No. 2:17-cv-00252
Case No. 2:17-cv-00101


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.

Attorney Fees to a Winning Defendant — “It’s a Shell Game”

When representing a client, in my eyes I am representing the internet users against the “bad guys.” Copyright holders who use the federal court subpoena power to unclothe the identity of the internet subscriber with the intent of extorting that internet user out of thousands of dollars (regardless of whether the internet user did the download or not) is an abuse of the federal court system.  To offset the very high cost of hiring an attorney to defend a copyright infringement claim in federal court, copyright law provides the “winner” of the lawsuit attorney fees (see, 17 U.S. Code § 505).

That way, when an accused internet user is forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars to properly defend him or herself against claims of copyright infringement (which often include appearing for multiple court hearings, allowing the household’s computers and electronic devices to be inspected by a forensics expert, being questioned under oath [or having to answer written interrogatories under oath]), *IF* at the end of the investigation (e.g., at the end of “discovery”), the claim of copyright infringement ends up being unfounded and the claim of copyright infringement against the internet user is dismissed, the law gives that internet user the right to collect from his accuser all the fees he paid to his attorney.

Beware, however.  Just because a defendant is entitled to attorney fees does not mean that they will get them.  There are three scenarios which can stop a defendant from obtaining their fees back from a copyright holder plaintiff:

1) The “cut and run” scenario, where a copyright holder dismisses the defendant before a judge can rule that there was no infringement, and

2) the “limited liability company” plaintiff, where the movie company has created smaller independent “shell” companies, and they use those companies to sue defendants in copyright infringement actions (knowing that if those companies incur liability, that liability will not trickle up to the owner or to the other corporate entity), and

3) the “underfunded shell company” scenario, where the copyright holder might not have the funds to pay the attorney fees to the defendant (for example, when the settlement funds have been siphoned off to another entity, or paid out to the copyright troll attorneys).

SCENARIO 1: THE “CUT AND RUN” SITUATION

In a “cut and run” situation, the accused internet user (a.k.a., the “named” John Doe Defendant) mounts a sufficient defense to demonstrate either that the plaintiff copyright holder does not have sufficient evidence to find him guilty of copyright infringement, or he is able to prove that it was not him “at the keyboard” at the time the download took place (because suing the account holder based on an ISP demonstrating that the account holder was assigned a particular IP address [which was used to participate in the downloading or copying of a copyrighted video] has been held in various jurisdictions to be insufficient to prove that it was the account holder who did the download).

In this first scenario, the account holder “fights back,” and hires and pays an attorney to file an answer to the complaint once named and served.  That attorney shows up to the court hearings, he cooperates with the discovery requests (the attorney sits with his client as he answers questions under oath, objects to questions, speaks to the judge in the middle to clarify issues that arise, etc.), and after what ends up being hundreds of hours, the copyright holder dismisses the defendant proactively before the court can rule on a summary judgement hearing that there was never a case against the client in the first place.   I saw this over and over with the Malibu Media, LLC cases.

SCENARIOS 2 & 3: THE “LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY (LLC)” PLAINTIFF, AND THE “UNDERFUNDED” SHELL COMPANY:

The second scenario in which a defendant could be deprived of attorney fees is when the movie studio sets up multiple limited liability “shell” entities (as seen by the “LLC” designation behind the name), and then that “shell” entity is used to file a lawsuit, but it does not have the funds to pay an award of attorney fees should it lose the copyright infringement claim against the “named” defendant.  This could be either because the “shell” entity was not properly funded in the first place, or because the plaintiff lawyers or the owners of the entity are siphoning the settlement funds out of the entity so that it would not be able to pay attorney fees if it was ordered to do so.

This is what bugs me about the limited liability entities which are set up and used to sue defendants — there is no accountability to the accused copyright defendant for the misuse of those entities.  Using Voltage Pictures, Inc. as an example (and by no means am I insinuating that their “shell” entities are misused or underfunded), Voltage Pictures, Inc. is a big name movie company that has sued thousands of defendants over the years.  Since our firm started in 2010, I have been seeing Voltage Pictures, Inc. as a copyright troll who has sued defendants, who has hired not-so-ethical attorneys to enforce their copyrights against bittorrent users, and I do not think one year has past where I have not seen one lawsuit or another where Voltage was behind the scenes as the copyright holder.

Over the years, I have seen Voltage shift from suing thousands of defendants using their their own Voltage name in the lawsuits to setting up smaller “shell” entities which are then used to sue John Doe Defendants.  It is not always obvious that a company suing for copyright infringement is a Voltage copyright troll, but there are tip offs in that each time a new copyright troll “shell” entity files a lawsuit, I see the same copyright troll attorney(s) filing the identical complaint as they filed in other lawsuits, and each time, I see the same discredited German forensics company (Guardaley) listed as the “expert” in the lawsuit.  With so many hundreds of lawsuits filed — and I wasn’t sure I was going to go here, but I am — , I ask myself why the judges don’t see that these are the same set of entities filing the lawsuits, and I shake my head in disgust that the copyright troll scam is still going on.  It boggles my mind that companies as large as Voltage Pictures, Inc. are still taking part in this kind of legal militarism and butchery.

Dallas Buyers Club, LLC was one such shell company that was set up and used to sue defendants, which I later learned was a Voltage Pictures, Inc. shell company.  More recently, Fathers and Daughters Nevada, LLC appears to be another such shell company.  These companies are all “limited liability companies,” which means that unless the company was structured improperly when it was formed, or unless the principals of the company did something stupid (e.g., intermingling company funds with another shell company’s funds), it is very difficult to “break the veil” to hold the owner of the company personally liable for the company’s mistakes.

This got me thinking.  A defendant does not immediately know whether a copyright troll corporate “shell” entity is properly funded or not, and before hiring an attorney and spending tens of thousands of dollars on a defense, the first thing that defendant should do (or have his lawyer do) is have the “shell” company demonstrate that they have the funds to pay the defendant’s attorney fees should it be demonstrated a) that the account holder “named” and served as the defendant was not the one who did the download in the first place, or b) that the plaintiff’s experts cannot provide sufficient evidence to prove that the copyright infringement actually happened.

Why? Because if the plaintiff does not have the funds to proceed, why spend the time and money defending the lawsuit?  Rather, hit them early on with a bond request to demonstrate that 1) they have the funds to proceed, and to demonstrate 2) that they have the intent to move forward, all the way to trial (if necessary).  This is not a cheap proposition for the copyright holders, as lawsuits such as these could easily run into the hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in fees.

Anyway, my point in this article is simply caveat emptor.  Before you go ahead throwing out all of your money paying an attorney for a defense, make sure the plaintiff can pay your fees if you win. Have them post a bond, or do something to demonstrate that they have the funds to proceed if the case goes in that direction.  If they cannot demonstrate this, then maybe there is no need to defend your case in the first place.

In sum, the copyright laws as they are practiced is lopsided.  Copyright owners are given their remedy — the ability to sue for “statutory damages” of $150,000 per instance of infringement.  And, the accused defendant apparently has his remedy — the ability to retrieve his paid attorney fees when he successfully defends his case against the copyright holder.  Why shouldn’t an accused defendant take a few steps to preserve his rights and check to make sure the plaintiff can pay his attorney fees if he wins?

NOW A NOTE FOR THE JUDGES:

Accused internet users are thrown around, threatened, extorted for thousands of dollars in cash, and the law does little to protect their rights. Defendants have the remedy to have their funds returned to them if they fight and win, but what individual internet user defendant has the ability to pay for a lawyer to defend him in court?  What use is it for the law to award attorney fees and costs to a defendant who prevails “on the merits” when that defendant cannot afford to hire a lawyer to get to that point in the legal process?

Rather, the duty to protect the public in circumstances such as these (suing internet users for the download of copyrighted materials) is on the judges themselves.

Judges know (or their clerks can easily discover) when a particular copyright holder is a “copyright troll” and they know if the same parties have filed serial lawsuits in one state, or if they have filed multiple lawsuits in multiple states, or whether that same entity has sued defendants using multiple shell companies.  Judges also know that most accused defendants cannot pay a lawyer even for the most basic defense.

Too often, judges do not act as the gatekeepers they are, and they let the copyright holders do whatever they want to do while the judges pretend to pressure the copyright holders to move forward and name and serve defendants, or not. This is a charade — one that unnerves me, because it is an open secret that the copyright holders have absolutely no interest in taking a case to trial.

Judges who rubber stamp “expedited discovery” motions: WHY allow copyright holders access to the names of the accused John Doe Defendants when those copyright holders have shown through their past filings that they have absolutely NO INTENTION of proceeding to trial?  And why not make the plaintiff copyright holders demonstrate that they intend to proceed to trial (e.g., by having them post a bond as a matter of course) rather than using your federal court as a weapon to extort settlements from defendants who otherwise do not have the funds to pay for an adequate defense?

Since I mentioned Voltage Pictures, Inc. in this article (since they are the ones behind the Dallas Buyers Club, LLC lawsuits from a few months ago, and more recently, they are the ones behind the Fathers & Daughters Nevada, LLC lawsuits), below are a list of cases filed across the U.S. (and this is only a small sample of the lawsuits that were filed).  Judges, how can you NOT know that this “Fathers & Daughters Nevada, LLC” entity is a shell company practicing copyright trolling across the US?!?  Will you now let this “shell” entity do the same thing that every Voltage Pictures, Inc. “shell” entity did before them?  Ask yourself: Have ANY of these Voltage plaintiffs gone to trial?

Current Cases Affected by this Article (I am listing these so that you see how deep the Voltage Picture lawyer network goes — cases are not only filed in Texas, but like the Malibu Media, LLC cases were, they are filed across the US):

Fathers & Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Does (Case No. 4:16-cv-01968, Texas Southern District Court (July 5, 2016))
[Plaintiff Attorney Joshua S. Wyde]

Fathers & Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Does (Case No. 4:16-cv-01315, Texas Southern District Court (May 10, 2016))
[Plaintiff Attorney Joshua S. Wyde]

Fathers & Daughters Nevada LLC v. Unknown Parties (Case No. 2:16-cv-01073, Arizona District Court (April 15, 2016))

Fathers & Daughters Nevada LLC v. Unknown Parties (Case No. 1:16-cv-00362, Michigan Western District Court (April 8, 2016))

Fathers and Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-13 (Case No. 2:16-cv-10948, Michigan Eastern District Court (March 16, 2016))

Fathers And Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-26 (Case No. 1:16-cv-02452, Illinois Northern District Court (Feb. 22, 2016))

Fathers and Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-32 (Case No. 1:16-cv-02453, Illinois Northern District Court (Feb. 22, 2016))

Fathers and Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-17 (Case No. 1:16-cv-02456, Illinois Northern District Court (Feb. 22, 2016))

Fathers And Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-21 (Case No. 1:16-cv-02450, Illinois Northern District Court (Feb. 22, 2016))

Fathers and Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-15 (Case No. 2:16-cv-10371, Michigan Eastern District Court (Feb. 2, 2016))

Fathers and Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-15 (Case No. 2:16-cv-10372, Michigan Eastern District Court (Feb. 2, 2016))

Fathers & Daughters Nevada, LLC v Does 1 Through 12 (Case No. 1:16-cv-00187, Hawaii District Court (April 22, 2016))

Fathers and Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-13 (Case No. 4:16-cv-10948, Michigan Eastern District Court (March 16, 2016))

Fathers and Daughters Nevada LLC v. Unknown Parties (Case No. 2:16-cv-00406, Arizona District Court (Feb. 12, 2016))

Fathers and Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-14 (Case No. 4:16-cv-10939, Michigan Eastern District Court (March 15, 2016))

Fathers & Daughters Nevada, LLC v. John Does 1-7 (Case No. 1:16-cv-01318, Colorado District Court (June 1, 2016))

Fathers and Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-14 (Case No. 2:16-cv-10939, Michigan Eastern District Court (March 15, 2016))

Fathers and Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-14 (Case No. 4:16-cv-10751, Michigan Eastern District Court (March 3, 2016))

Fathers and Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-18 (Case No. 4:16-cv-10785, Michigan Eastern District Court (March 4, 2016))

Fathers and Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-13 (Case No. 4:16-cv-10654, Michigan Eastern District Court (Feb. 23, 2016))

Fathers and Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-11 (Case No. 2:16-cv-10910, Michigan Eastern District Court (March 14, 2016))

Fathers & Daughters Nevada, LLC v. John Does 1-15 (Case No. 1:16-cv-00560, Colorado District Court (March 8, 2016))

Fathers & Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 1:16-cv-00670, Colorado District Court (March 22, 2016))

Fathers and Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-11 (Case No. 4:16-cv-10910, Michigan Eastern District Court (March 14, 2016))

Fathers & Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 1:16-cv-00747, Colorado District Court (March 31, 2016))

Fathers and Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Does (Case No. 1:16-cv-00278, New Mexico District Court (April 11, 2016))

Fathers and Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-15 (Case No. 4:16-cv-10372, Michigan Eastern District Court (Feb. 2, 2016))

Fathers & Daughters Nevada, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 1:16-cv-00613, Colorado District Court (March 16, 2016))

Need more examples?


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.

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Dallas Buyers Club rivals adult film bittorrent lawsuits in quantity of lawsuits.

As a quick recap, the Dallas Buyers Club, LLC piracy lawsuits started in Texas and Ohio, and like a cancer, over the past year they have metastasized into the federal courts of Illinois, Florida, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, and even Hawaii.  Copyright lawyers employed by Dallas Buyers Club have even moved their copyright enforcement activities offshore into Canada, Australia, Finland, Denmark, and Japan.

Regardless of where they go, their business model is the same — Voltage Pictures, LLC or Dallas Buyers Club, LLC files a peer-to-peer lawsuit alleging copyright infringement against multiple John Doe Defendants (generally referred to by plaintiffs as “pirates”), they convince a federal judge to rubber-stamp a subpoena demanding that the ISP turn over the contact information of the accused account holders unless the accused account holders file what is known as a “motion to quash.”  The target of the subpoena is almost always the account holder, implying that the account holder is the actual downloader or infringer who downloaded the Dallas Buyers Club (2013) movie.  The plaintiff attorney then sends one or multiple settlement demand letters to the accused downloaders in each case threatening that each will be “named and served” as a defendant in the lawsuit unless they pay a settlement of thousands of dollars (settlement requests average $3,500 to $6,500 [and in one case, $14,000, really?] depending on the state in which the lawsuit is filed).

Where the settlement demand letters blur the line of ethics is that many plaintiff attorneys employ scare tactics, making the John Doe Defendant believe that the lawsuit has already been filed against them personally.  Various attorneys have sent accused downloaders “waiver of service” forms and questionnaires along with their settlement demand letters suggesting that the not-yet-named-defendants answer these questions voluntarily, or that they waive service effectively negating the need for the plaintiff attorney to name and serve them as a defendant.

What bothers me is that because Dallas Buyers Club is not an “adult film” copyright infringement lawsuit (but rather, a “real” movie with a valid copyright and without the stigma of being an adult film), the federal judges are giving them leeway to move in and out of the federal courts to “enforce” their copyrights.  In U.S. copyright law, there is a legal presumption of validity, which means that a judge will initially lean towards favoring the copyright owner until that copyright owner has been shown to be abusing the legal process through a pattern of abuse.  Attorneys for copyright holders who represent the plaintiff generally (in our blog and in the eyes of the courts) get increased scrutiny because they have represented other copyright holders in similar lawsuits employing the same strategy of “sue and settle, but try not to name and serve [and if you do, bluff to the judge that you are prepared to go to trial on the merits of the case].”

These lawyers who file Dallas Buyers Club lawsuits (these are those who sue defendants, NOT those who defend defendants) include a growing list of attorneys, such as: Keith Vogt (Texas), Michael Hierl (Illinois), David Stephenson Jr. (Colorado), Eric Osterberg (Connecticut), Richard Fee (Florida), Paul Nicoletti (Michigan), Carl Crowell (Oregon), Leon Bass (Ohio), and Gregory Ferren (Hawaii).

Many of these names are familiar to those who have followed our “copyright troll” / bittorrent lawsuit blogs over the years, and we often see these names representing one copyright holder after another in the same fashion.  Regardless of who the lawyer is, be aware of the motivation of the Dallas Buyers Club lawsuits — to create a ‘windfall’ profit for the company by pursuing those who download the movie without authorization, and to scare and intimidate the accused downloaders into paying large settlement amounts to avoid defending the claims against them in court.

Related: Dallas Buyers Club launches post-Oscar copyright salvo, sues 615 Does (ArsTechnica)


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.