I have added this page for internet users who have become entangled in the Cook Productions, LLC (a.k.a. the “Mr. Church”) cases. The goal here is to keep up to date on this plaintiff, and to discuss their various cases. Should you learn of any updates regarding one of their cases, please post it here using the following format — (e.g., “Cook Productions, LLC v. John Does 1-5 (Case No. 3:16-cv-00773) filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana”). Please also feel free to post new cases you find where Cook Productions, LLC is listed as the plaintiff.
Cook Productions, LLC v. Does Lawsuits
Cook Productions, LLC is suing for copyright infringement based on the the illegal download of the “Mr. Church” movie, starring Eddie Murphy and Britt Robertson. The lawsuits are all copyright infringement lawsuits filed in the Federal Courts, and each lawsuit sues for statutory damages of $150,000.
Accused internet users are made aware of these cases when they are sent a letter from their ISP (e.g., Comcast, etc.), which informs them 1) they are implicated as a “John Doe” Defendant in this case, and 2) the ISP is bound by a subpoena to share the account holder’s contact information (and relevant information about their IP address’ involvement in the case) on a certain due date unless the subscriber files an objection with the court (referring to a “motion to quash”).
Remember to please exercise discretion when posting (e.g., do not post your real name or e-mail address), and as usual, avoid using vulgar or offensive language (both towards the plaintiff and towards other users).
RECENT CASE HISTORY OF THE COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC CASES:
Cases filed in the Arizona District Court:
Cook Productions LLC v. Unknown Parties (Case No. 2:16-cv-04478)
Cook Productions LLC v. Unknown Parties (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)
Cook Productions, LLC v. Does 1-8 (Case No. 1:16-cv-00637)
Cook Productions, LLC v. Does 1-4 (Case No. 1:16-cv-00639)
Cook Productions, LLC v. 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)
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC v. DOES 1-15 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00522)
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC v. DOES 1-12 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00536)
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC v. DOES 1-12 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00526)
Cook Productions, LLC v. Does 1-29 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11337)
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC v. DOES 1-12 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00535)
Cook Productions, LLC v. Does 1-13 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00523)
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC v. DOES 1-14 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11347)
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC v. DOES 1-15 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11345)
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC v. DOES 1-18 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11341)
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC v. DOES 1-25 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11340)
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC v. DOES 1-13 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11350)
Cook Productions, LLC v. Does 1-21 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11344)
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC 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)
Cook Productions, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 5:16-cv-00909)
Cook Productions, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (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)
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC V. DOES 1-7 (Case No. 1:16-cv-01372)
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC V. DOES 1-11 (Case No. 1:16-cv-01374)
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-18.104.22.168 (Case No. 3:16-cv-02086)
Cook Productions, LLC v. Doe-22.214.171.124 (Case No. 3:16-cv-02085)
Cook Productions v. Doe-126.96.36.199 (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)
Cook Productions, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 2:17-cv-00252)
Cook Productions, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 2:17-cv-00101)
Article(s) Written on the Mr. Church / Cook Productions LLC cases:
Cook Productions, LLC ‘dipping their toes into various federal courts’, on 2/21/2017
HOW AN ATTORNEY SHOULD REPRESENT A COOK PRODUCTIONS CLIENT:
Because bittorrent-based copyright infringement cases appear to be similar, I thought it would be beneficial to take a few moments and simplify the process. That way, when you pay an attorney, you will know exactly what the attorney will be doing.
Here are the steps your attorney (us, or anyone else) should be taking on your behalf.
STEP 1) STOP PLAINTIFF FROM CONTACTING YOU OR ANYONE ELSE ON YOUR BEHALF (WORKPLACE) ABOUT THE CLAIMS AGAINST YOU.
Once your plaintiff attorney learns that you are represented by an attorney, all communication must be with that attorney alone. Phone calls or letters to client directly once a notice of representation is provided can jeopardize that attorney’s law license.
STEP 2) RESEARCH AND DISCUSS CLAIMS COMPARING PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY’S DATA OF USE VERSUS ACTUAL USE OR NON-USE.
If they are doing their jobs, your plaintiff attorneys should be researching the claims and linking the accused IP addresses to determine whether that accused defendant has been involved in the download of other copyrighted films. They should be watching the activity of the IP address (specifically, before and after the date the ISP sends the subpoena notice to the account holders) to see if there is a change in the downloading activity of the accused subscriber.
It is important to share truthful information with your defense attorney so that claims against you can be disputed with facts and dates. The plaintiff attorneys likely have data that they rely on, but their reliance on that data will be based on a STORY which may or may not have an alternative explanation. Obviously, your attorney should have the common sense to discuss the claims in order to refute their story without admitting guilt on your behalf.
STEP 3) DISCUSS AND NEGOTIATE SETTLEMENT OPTIONS WITH PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY, WHETHER BY PAYING A SETTLEMENT FEE, OR NO SETTLEMENT (PROCEED WITH LAWSUIT).
Normally the plaintiff attorneys in a copyright infringement lawsuit (or more frequently, a bittorrent-based “copyright troll” lawsuit) will immediately approach a settlement regardless of guilt or wrongdoing. This might not always be the case with the Cook Productions, LLC attorneys, as they are not the ‘usual’ copyright troll attorneys (and thus they might be reinventing the wheel).
The “no settlement” option is obviously the scenario where the client did not do the download, or the plaintiff attorney was unwilling to come to an amicable arrangement.
Obviously if neither side can agree on an early solution to the problem, then yes, it makes sense to proceed to allow the plaintiff attorney to name and serve your client, file an answer with the court, and proceed with defending your client’s interests in the courtroom.
STEP 4) NEGOTIATE PRICE (IF BENEFICIAL, CONSIDERING CLIENT’S ABILITY TO PAY). PROVIDE DOCUMENTATION OR STATEMENT IF NECESSARY TO SUBSTANTIATE CLAIMS.
Many accused defendants downloaded the copyrighted movie not realizing that the download was illegal. This is because there is software (e.g., Popcorn Time) which, on its face, appears to be legitimate. However, sometimes unbeknownst to the end user, Popcorn Time uses a bittorrent backbone in order to acquire the file for the end user. It is here that the account holder gets ‘caught’ downloading the video, because his/her real IP address is exposed as the Popcorn Time software joins one or more bittorrent swarms in order to acquire the video.
Unfortunately, it is not always known whether a software source is legitimate or not. For example, as far as I understand, the videos presented on the Popcorn Time software are usually pirated, and downloading the videos or viewing the videos can get the end user sued for copyright infringement. Contrast this with other movie sources, e.g., Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc., these are legitimate. However, there are many “in between” software platforms and websites which appear to be legitimate, but may not be. Most notoriously – Crackle. So far, to me it looks as if the movies here are legitimate and can be viewed without being sued for copyright infringement, but I could easily be wrong and we will not know this until the lawsuits start flying.
Regardless of the intention of how the video was acquired, downloaded, or viewed, this is our goal — to have the circumstances of the accused defendant be relevant and useful in a negotiation with Cook Productions, LLC to arrive at a settlement price the client can afford.
STEP 5) NEGOTIATE TERMS OF SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT.
The settlement agreement should be specific to the claims of copyright infringement, and they should include the nuances of contract law in order to ensure the agreement is enforceable. The terms should not ‘admit guilt’ on behalf of the client, and the scope of the contract should include not only the accused defendant (the account holder), but also the household and/or family members.
There are other crucial elements to have in a settlement agreement (e.g., attorney fee shifting specific to copyright infringement lawsuits), but the above should be sufficient.
STEP 6) HAVE PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY SIGN AGREEMENT(S), THEN HAVE CLIENT SIGN AGREEMENT(S) AND PROCESS SETTLEMENT PAYMENT.
This is self explanatory. Cook Productions, LLC is not bound to an agreement until they sign it (or until their attorney with authority to sign signs it on their behalf as their agent). Attorneys generally try to get the John Doe Defendant to sign first and pay their settlement fee, and then ‘maybe’ the plaintiff attorney will sign it, and ‘maybe’ the attorney will accept the payment, and ‘maybe’ the attorney will release that defendant from liability once the settlement is received. These are games a plaintiff attorney may play, and for this reason, it is advisable to have the defense attorney insist that the plaintiff attorney sign the agreement first in order to bind their client to the terms of the agreement… before their client signs the agreement or pays a penny in settlement of the claims against them.
STEP 7) FOLLOW-UP WITH PLAINTIFF TO HAVE CLIENT’S “JOHN DOE” ENTITY DISMISSED FROM CASE.
Once again, this is self explanatory, but unfortunately, it must be a step. Too often, plaintiff attorneys have the clients sign first and pay first, and then when they get around to it, they’ll sign the agreement and release that defendant from liability. However, this could take weeks or months.
The reason for this is because once their client has their money, without being contract-bound to release the defendant from the lawsuit (assuming the John Doe Defendant signed first), the John Doe Defendant who paid their settlement fee becomes a lower priority to the busy plaintiff attorney (who is juggling sometimes hundreds of defendants in multiple cases) who is more worried about the due dates for their other cases, or who is more worried about extracting settlements from other defendants. This is why it is important in STEP 6) for the plaintiff attorney to sign the agreement first.
Nevertheless, even with a signed agreement, sometimes the plaintiff attorneys need ‘reminders’ to do what they are duty-bound to do. Thus, your attorney should not close the client’s file when payment is sent, but rather, the attorney should stay on top of the plaintiff attorney until the dismissal is actually filed in the court dismissing that John Doe Defendant from liability.
In sum, copyright infringement cases are all similar, but each one has its nuances. The steps described in this article apply to any John Doe Defendant in any copyright infringement lawsuit, and for this reason, I wrote this article 1) to not only give the client an understanding of the steps which are required in representing a client prior to being named and served in a John Doe lawsuit, but more importantly, 2) to allow that client to hold their lawyer’s toes to the fire and make sure they are being represented carefully and individually.
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.