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)
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-188.8.131.52 (Case No. 3:16-cv-02086)
Cook Productions, LLC v. Doe-184.108.40.206 (Case No. 3:16-cv-02085)
Cook Productions v. Doe-220.127.116.11 (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)
Case No. 2:17-cv-00252
Case No. 2:17-cv-00101
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