Category Archives: Torrent

Rightscorp business model of sending DMCA settlement demand letters just succeeded.

Rightscorp‘s business model just took an unexpected positive turn, as the BMG v. Cox lawsuit just had a surprising outcome — Cox just settled with BMG, paving the way for the DMCA settlement demand notices to gain some teeth.

Years ago, I wrote articles about companies like Rightscorp (Digital Rights Corp), CEG-TEK, and Rights Enforcement who were changing the “playing field” (in a bad way) by allowing copyright owners to track and sue downloaders who downloaded their copyrighted videos, films, movies, adult films, or music using bittorrent.

The account holders (often the parents of the downloaders themselves) would receive a notice either in the mail or in their ISP’s e-mail inbox informing them:

  1. that they have been implicated as having downloaded one or more copyrighted materials,
  2. that using bittorrent to download copyrighted materials was a violation of that ISP’s terms of service, and
  3. that the account holder could forego a potential copyright infringement lawsuit in a federal court by vising the website of the Rightscorp (Digital Rights Corp) copyright enforcement entity, paying a small fee (from $20-$30/title [or with other copyright enforcement entities, from $300-$750/title]), thus settling the claims before a copyright infringement lawsuit was filed.

The obvious problem is that by the time the account subscriber received the settlement demand notice, the Rightscorp or CEG-TEK or Rights Enforcement entity racked up tens, or sometimes hundreds of violations. Then there were class action lawsuits against the copyright enforcement entities (e.g., for robocalling) and other “bad things” that these companies did to maximize their per-title settlement.

However, for years, these entities have been quiet, and I know why. BMG v. Cox Communications.

I was told years ago that the success of the “copyright trolling” settlement demand notice business model would be based on whether a copyright holder could force an ISP to 1) forward their DMCA copyright infringement notice (a.k.a. “settlement demand letter”) to their subscribers, and 2) whether a copyright holder could force an ISP to shut down a repeat infringer’s account (something Rightscorp was accused of doing in 2014). At the time, there was the “Six Strikes” system in place (now, I understand it to be defunct), and under it, Comcast stopped forwarding the “settlement demand letter” portion of the infringement notices; rather, they forwarded just a snippet of the infringement notice telling the account holder to stop downloading illegal content.

However, there were also ISPs who stopped forwarding the notices altogether. To the dismay of various copyright enforcement entities, I understand that Cox Communications was one such ISP, although the BMG lawsuit appeared to stem from Cox refusing to shut down the internet accounts of repeat infringers.

The funny thing about COX Communications was that Cox was supposed to be the “golden goose” to the copyright holders, simply because of the large subscriber base it could reach. “If only 1% of infringing users pay a settlement fee… imagine the money that could be made…”

Further, COX Communications provided their subscribers ONE STATIC IP ADDRESS, which meant that whatever the downloaded did in the past (whether the downloader was caught, tracked, or not), could be later attributed to the accused account holder to multiply the list of infringements. This love-hate relationship between the copyright holders, the ISP, and their customers was only temporary, and as a result, COX Communications found itself at the center of a lawsuit for protecting its customers against copyright enforcement entities such as the RIAA and Rightscorp.

Fast forward a few years to today. The “new” news is that the BMG v. Cox Communications lawsuit has been going on and on, but it appears that in the past few days, it has come to an end. Apparently Cox settled with BMG, awarding a “win” for the copyright holders.  The question is… was the settlement only a MONEY settlement?  Or did Cox agree to shut down the accounts of repeat infringers?

What this means moving forward (and I am still hashing this out with the limited time that I have to devote to this topic) is that copyright enforcement / copyright “monetization” copyright holders such as Rightscorp (and perhaps now CEG-TEK again, Rights Enforcement, the RIAA, and other new companies join the “copyright monetization” bandwagon) will now start sending DMCA notices once again to accused downloaders. The difference is that their requests to the ISPs to forward their settlement demand letters will now have some “teeth,” as I understand that ISPs might start shutting down internet accounts of those subscribers who are “repeat infringers.”

Obviously this topic is still evolving. However, whereas we at the Cashman Law Firm PLLC thought that the days of the “DMCA settlement demand letter” notices were numbered, I suspect what happened from 2010-2016 was just a first wave of what is to be an even larger wave of infringement notices to be sent to account holders for the unlawful downloading of copyrighted content.  Couple this with the resistance I have received in the past from companies such as Rightscorp, this is likely going to cause some trouble.


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 [email protected], or call or SMS 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.

Revisiting Harvey for a moment, and turning our attention to Florida.

To the many of you who have been inquiring as to the safety of our family and our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC and its employees…
Thank you.  Our family is well, and our 4th Floor office was untouched by the storm (although it was inaccessible for a few days). However, I cannot say the same thing for family members and friends who had their homes flooded, where in some cases water covered half of the windows (meaning half of the houses were literally under water, both inside and out). I even saw pictures of streets not too far from me where water not only covered the streets, but almost covered the stop lights far above the street. This has chilled me to the core, because even though I have seen floods and hurricanes in Houston before (and we are known for surviving rough weather events), some of the things I saw, my eyes still do not believe.

I understand that we are only slightly above sea level, but walking the streets seeing the contents of the community’s home on each person’s front lawn, I still cannot imagine or picture in my mind’s eye how water can flood so high.  I know that we received five or six feet of rain, but Houston has an elaborate network of bayous and flood prevention mechanisms which would ordinarily drain heavy rains into the sea.  The bayous do function well, even if they flood a foot or so. With this storm, I expected them to flood with maybe an additional 1-3 feet of water (something I refer to as “car killers,” which friends have lost cars trying to drive through). But to see streets, mailboxes, and street lights under water, and to see houses just a few miles away from me covered literally just below the roofs — this was something I never imagined I would ever see.

In short, the news and the media are rightfully turning their attention to Florida, and those living there have my empathy and my support in whatever way I can help. Our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC has donated to the hurricane relief funds and each of us personally has spent most of our week helping with disaster relief. My wife and kids spent countless hours preparing meals with the Houston community for those who have been displaced, and the work, the rebuilding, and the donations will need to continue long after the media has forgotten both Houston and Florida.

Why Kodi users are being sued for copyright infringement.

You CAN be sued for using bittorrent-based Kodi Add-ons

I almost fell off my chair when I read this. Kodi users are being sued for copyright infringement?!? The answer is yes, Kodi users who are tweaking the Kodi software to run Kodi Add-ons which provide copyrighted movies using peer-to-peer (P2P) or bittorrent are 100% at risk of getting sued for copyright infringement.

Kodi Add-Ons Users Sued For Copyright Infringement | TorrentLawyer

Didn’t I write many articles saying that Kodi users wouldn’t get sued?

Yes.  I have been watching this topic for years now on whether it is possible for someone streaming movies to get caught — not in the context of Kodi Add-ons, but in general.  Until recently, the answer was “no, the copyright trolls have not yet caught up with technology, and there is no way a person will get sued for streaming movies.”  Today I change my opinion, but as you’ll read, I do so cheaply because the cause of getting caught using Kodi is the fault of Kodi Add-ons developers who incorporated bittorrent into their plug-ins.

2015 – “No, you CANNOT get sued streaming videos.”

Jumping back a bit, the first time I wrote about the possibility of internet users getting caught streaming was in October, 2015.  Fresh in the mind of the internet was the Ashley Madison hack exposing millions of internet users who had an account on their “let’s cheat” website.  The topic of whether it was possible to have your adult film viewing habits exposed to the public was fresh on the minds of internet users.  My opinion back then was that “you likely CANNOT get caught streaming adult films.”  Then in 11/2015, I was asked whether an internet user can get caught viewing “You Tube” like videos, and my opinion was, “maybe, but it likely would not happen because there are too many steps.”

2017 – “It’s possible to get sued, but the technology needs to advance and the trolls are still stuck on bittorrent lawsuits.”

Jumping ahead to 3/2017, I was searching for a common copyright troll behind each of the movie lawsuits, and I wrote a quick article entitled, “Can I Get Caught Streaming Movies Over The Internet?”  My point of this article was to say, “yeah, it is possible, but unlikely that someone would get caught streaming movies,” parroting my 11/2015 article.

As a response, a viewer asked me to analyze Kodi and the Amazon TV Fire Sticks, and again in 3/2017, I wrote a second article on Why I would NOT put Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV Stick“.  At the time, I was still of the opinion of “you likely won’t get caught, but beware of Amazon turning you in.”  Again, this opinion had nothing to do with the Kodi Add-ons, as I did not suspect any developer would create Kodi Add-ons which connected to the bittorrent networks.  That would have been silly, and any developer that knew anything about piracy lawsuits wouldn’t be reckless enough to expose their users to the bittorrent networks.

Then in 4/2017, the Pornhub lawsuits happened, and thinking about the lawsuit (and the way the plaintiffs went about it all wrong), it occurred to me that Google Analytics could expose an internet user to a copyright infringement lawsuit.  This was possibly the first time I had the opinion that “yes, in the future, you can get sued for streaming movie content.”  Again, in the future when technology advanced further and copyright trolls moved past bittorrent lawsuits.  Again, no mention of Kodi Add-ons.

In 5/2017, I applied this line of thought to write an update on the risks of using Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV stick, and I wrote that “there is another way to get sued using Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV Stick — via Google Analytics.”  So while my answer was now “yes, you can get caught,” my thought was “just block the Google Analytics plug-in and you don’t need to worry about this.”  As far as copyright trolls suing Kodi users based on these revelations, well, this was far into the future.  Once again, no mention of Kodi Add-ons.

What changed? How are Kodi users getting sued?

What I did not anticipate is that there are a number of Kodi Add-ons which use bittorrent to provide copyrighted content to their users. Obviously if certain Kodi Add-ons are using bittorrent — and the assumption is that the Kodi user is using Kodi without a VPN — then YES! Someone using Kodi Addons which connect to streamed content via “peer-to-peer (P2P)” bittorrent networks can certainly get caught!

Why using Kodi Addons can be the same as using a bittorrent client

Let’s simplify this.

If you use Kodi with a VPN connection, and the Kodi Addons plug-in that you enable provides content to you via bittorrent, *THEN YOUR KODI SOFTWARE IS NOTHING OTHER THAN YET ANOTHER BITTORRENT APPLICATION*. What this means is that when your Kodi Addon connects to the bittorrent, it is *YOUR* IP address that shows up in the bittorrent swarm. Thus, when the copyright troll or their so-called “investigators” download the list of IP addresses who have downloaded a particular movie, your IP address will show up. At that point you have been caught downloading or streaming the copyrighted movie without a license, and you should not be surprised if you receive a subpoena notice from your ISP informing you that you have been implicated as a John Doe defendant in a copyright infringement lawsuit.

It really does not matter that you were using Kodi, because using Kodi with a Kodi Addon which downloads movies for you using bittorrent is the SAME as you downloading that same movie from The Pirate Bay using a bittorrent client.

Which Kodi Add-ons use bittorrent?

So, the next question is… which Kodi Addons use bittorrent? (Kudos to Sam Cook, my source for this information. If anyone knows of others, please feel free to add them to the comments below this article, and I will update this list.)

As of a few months ago, the following Kodi Addons use bittorrent:

  • Quasar
  • Popcorn Time
  • Plexus
  • Ace Stream
  • SportsDevil
  • P2P Streams
  • Castaway
  • Red Beard
  • Bubbles

NOTE: Why some of these Kodi Addons might no longer exist

My thoughts: Kodi Addons recently suffered a huge loss after a large number of them shut down in response to a few prominent lawsuits. Thus, these addons I pasted here from Sam Cook’s article possibly no longer exist.

SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO NOT TO GET SUED USING KODI

NOTE: Obviously using Kodi to stream movies or copyrighted content was not why Kodi exists. However, for the purpose of this article, assume you are tweaking Kodi to stream movies.

Before you use one of the Kodi Addons, check to see whether it uses bittorrent or some form of P2P to download content for its users. Assuming you will be using Kodi for the purpose of acquiring or viewing copyrighted movies without a license (again, not my recommendation), avoid these plug-ins and any plug-ins which connect you unwittingly to bittorrent networks.

Advice from a Kodi reddit user:

Generally speaking, if the setup or configuration of an add-on requires you to make significant changes to your environment, it’s probably to support p2p. If the setup installs and then starts showing you sources to stream from immediately without having to add/configure a bunch of extra crap, it’s just direct streaming from a web source and has no p2p/upload component to it. The only 2 I’ve seen that are “recommended” by certain people and are p2p are sopcast and acestream. anything else just blatantly calls itself “bit torrent stream” or “best torrent addon” or “p2p streams” which should all be no-go’s if you don’t already have experience masking your location.

My Opinion: Kodi Add-Ons can get you sued.

In sum, back to Kodi itself. It is no longer my opinion that you cannot get sued for using Kodi. If you are using one of the many Kodi Addons which connect a user to copyrighted content using bittorrent, then of course you can get sued. The reason for this is bittorrent exposes the IP address of the user who is not masking their IP address with a VPN. Personally, it is careless for programmers to make Kodi addons which use bittorrent, which is not what the Kodi software was meant to do.

KODI LAWSUIT ARTICLES:

GOT WARNING LETTER FOR USING KODI?” written on 7/20/2017 by The VPN Guru
Kodi BAN – Kodi Add-On users panic over WARNING letter from US Department of Justice” written on 4/8/2017 by Express
P2P Kodi Addons – 2017 Updates for Kodi Users” written on 3/28/2017
Who’s behind the Kodi TV streaming stick crackdown?” written on 2/8/2017 by The Register
Comcast Starts Issuing Copyright Infringement Notices to Kodi Users” written on 10/21/2015 by Cord Cutters News


[CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: If you have a question for an attorney about a Kodi copyright case and options on how to proceed (even specifically for your circumstances), 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 Kodi copyright lawsuit, or you can call us at 713-364-3476 (this is our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC’s number].

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.

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)