CEG-TEK: Naughty or Nice?

Copyright Enforcement Group (CEG-TEK) has sent possibly hundreds of thousands of letters to internet users accused of downloading copyrighted content. In their letters, they invoke the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) as the justification for their “intellectual property (IP) enforcement” activities. They claim to be the good guys, but are they?  Are they “naughty or nice”?

CEG-TEK claims to be the good guys — they stop piracy, and as a result of their efforts, fewer people download on the ISPs’s networks (a social “good” and a “win” for the copyright holders). They have stopped the copyright troll lawsuits, for the moment. And, although they are charging $300 per title for each downloaded movie (sometimes higher) for what is often an accidental “click of the mouse,” they claim that they are not “bad” or “vindictive” like their Rightscorp competitor, which charges only $20 per title, but then sues the accused downloaders in federal courts, and then even go so far as contacting the ISPs in order to attempt to shut down the internet accounts of those accused of downloading their clients’ copyrighted titles.

But then again, CEG-TEK is a business. While I have had success negotiating away cases against veterans, the elderly, and in many cases, college kids, CEG-TEK has taken a number of steps which at best would be questionable.

Most relevant is the “admission of guilt” clause in their settlement agreements, which at the time of writing this article has flipped back to the version which does not include this clause. Months ago, when CEG-TEK expanded into Canada and then Australia, the settlement agreements which released those who have settled from liability included the following clause:

Admission of Guilt in CEG-TEK Settlement Agreement

[For those of you who cannot see the image, it says, “…in the event of a (i) failure to clear, (ii) chargeback, (iii) cancellation, (iv) failure to complete…this Release shall be considered admissible and conclusive evidence of RELEASEE’s infringement of the copyright in the Work and that RELEASEE will be liable to CONTENT COPYRIGHT OWNER for all damages, statutory and/or otherwise, for such infringement plus attorney fees plus costs as of the Settlement Date…” (emphasis added)]

[Now as a side note, for those who are particular about formatting and details, note that CEG-TEK placed that inflammatory clause at the bottom of Page 2, and they split it up where half of it is at the bottom of the page, and the other half is at the top of the next page, where even a careful individual might not read the clause in its entirety because the inflammatory clause is separated by being on different pages.]

The problem with such a clause admitting guilt is that it is binding on an unsuspecting individual who tries to settle the claims against him by paying with a credit card. How?  These contracts are available to the individual paying the settlement fee on the CopyrightSettlements.com website to review, and upon processing the credit card payment, they agree to the terms contained within the contract.

Then, when their credit card transaction fails (either because their card is not accepted by CEG-TEK’s website, or because the transaction is declined, or, if through no fault of their own, because of the website itself the bank flags the transaction as suspicious (fraud alert for a large online charge) and fails to approve the transaction), at that point, the individual has admitted guilt to copyright infringement, which carries a $150,000 statutory fine for each title downloaded. Assume for the moment that the individual has five (5) cases.  Multiply this $150,000 amount by five separate copyright holders, and the individual could be looking at 5 x $150,000 lawsuits (= $750,000 in statutory damages separated into multiple lawsuits filed by different copyright holders all of whom hired CEG-TEK as their agent to enforce their copyrights) where the internet user has already admitted guilt.

Then, when the confused internet user who tried to settle calls CEG-TEK on the phone already having admitted guilt, what sort of leverage does the individual have if they are asked for more than $300 per title? Legally, they likely have no defense because according to the terms of the agreement, they already admitted guilt — even if the credit card transaction failing was not their fault.

So… Copyright Enforcement Group may be the “good guys” because they let attorneys negotiate away cases for vets, old ladies, and elderly gentlemen who don’t realize that they should be using basic privacy tools when they download adult content, and CEG-TEK may serve the public good by demonstrating that piracy has gone down because of their efforts. While this is all true, remember: watch their contract, because caveat emptor still applies.

I don’t want to make this into a “you should have hired an attorney for your $300 matter” blog entry, but really, this is but one example of how even the “good guys” need to be approached with caution, and better yet, through a proxy by using an attorney. [I won’t even go into the conspiracy theories about CEG-TEK trying to get more than the $300 per title that is listed on the website.] Let’s stick to the facts and look at their contract to judge them on whether they are truly “naughty or nice.”

[2017 UPDATE: Carl Crowell has created a new entity called RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT which has reverse-engineered CEG-TEK’s proprietary DMCA copyright infringement notice system.  Many of you have visited CEG-TEK links thinking that RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT was CEG-TEK, but really they are an ‘evil twin’ competitor.  Since their methodologies are nearly identical, this article is still very useful.]

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.

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    CEG-TEK’s client list.

    I believe it is the duty of the copyright holders to “police their own copyrights,” meaning, if a company sees a file sharing tracker or website hosting an unlicensed copy of their copyrighted work, BY ALL MEANS, issue a DMCA takedown notice to the website or to the file sharing tracker, and that torrent will be GONE AND UNAVAILABLE for downloaders to take the content.

    [2017 UPDATE: Carl Crowell has created a new entity called RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT which has reverse-engineered CEG-TEK’s proprietary DMCA copyright infringement notice system.  Many of you have visited CEG-TEK links thinking that RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT was CEG-TEK, but really they are an ‘evil twin’ competitor.  Since the two entities operate almost the same way, and since Crowell has solicited (and likely taken) most of the clients on this list, this article is relevant.]

    2016 UPDATE:  I wrote this article in June, 2014.  Immediately afterwards, a number of the companies changed their names which confused the issue of who was a copyright troll suing defendants, and who was not a copyright troll.  It is now almost two years later, and while I usually do not update older posts, since this article does still come up from time to time, I am updated a few of the copyright holders’ names.  -RZC

    Rather than doing this, copyright holders hire CEG-TEK to target EVERY SINGLE DOWNLOADER with a letter forwarded by various ISPs, privacy providers, or university IT departments who are cooperating with CEG-TEK (sometimes for profit). Account holders receive “notice of infringement” letters sent directly to them either via an e-mail, FedEx, or a screen pop-up link along with a notification that they have violated the ISP’s terms of service. CEG-TEK’s letters now ask for $250-$300 per download, and they direct the accused downloaders to the “Copyright Settlements” website (http://www.copyrightsettlements.com) with a link which pre-populates the assigned Case Number and Password into the website.

    With the cooperation of the ISPs in forwarding CEG-TEK’s letters to accused downloaders, there is no longer an anonymity barrier between the accused downloaders and the copyright holders as there once was when CEG-TEK would need a court order to access the identities of the accused downloaders. Now, since various ISPs and universities (e.g., Charter, Suddenlink, CenturyLink, Giganews, etc.; NOTE: Comcast, Verizon, and the other big ISPs appear NOT to be working with CEG-TEK for the moment) have been useless in stopping the copyright holders from contacting the account holders, other than hiring a lawyer such as myself to create a buffer between the copyright holders and the accused account holders, internet users should probably be aware of which companies are using this extortion tactic of “we will sue you unless you pay us money for the video you have downloaded.”

    Here is a list I compiled from my own records as to which copyright holders are [at the moment] using Ira Siegel and CEG-TEK to “monetize” their “most pirated” copyrights. I want to point out that I am conflicted as to whether to post this list because the list itself can be deceiving — a title “not” on this list can still be monitored, and by no means am I suggesting that someone avoid these titles and download others. Perhaps by listing which companies are enforcing their copyrights using this extortion-type of “settle or else we’ll sue” method, it might shame the companies into doing something a bit more ethical (e.g., by policing their own copyrights and issuing DMCA takedown letters rather than attacking the downloaders as a means for financial revenue):

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

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

    Cinderella Distributors Inc.
    – Backdoor To Hollywood 6

    Coast to Coast Video
    – Older Women Younger Men 16

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

    Daring Media Group
    – Pretty Woman

    – Swallowing is Good For You

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

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

    Fallout Films
    – Naughty Girls 2

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

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

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

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

    GGW Direct, LLC DBA “Girls Gone Wild”
    – Baby Bash Live & Uncensored
    – Bad Girls 2
    – Best Breasts Ever
    – Best of Blondes 2
    – Celebrity Look-A-Likes
    – Endless Spring Break 3
    – Endless Spring Break 4
    – Endless Spring Break 5
    – Endless Spring Break 6
    – Endless Spring Break 7
    – Endless Spring Break 9
    – Endless Spring Break 10
    – Endless Spring Break 11
    – Endless Spring Break 12
    – Endless Spring Break 13
    – Endless Spring Break 14
    – Freshman Class
    – GGW – Extreme Sex
    – GGW – On Tour 1
    – GGW – On Tour 2
    – GGW – On Tour 3
    – GGW – On Tour 4
    – GGW – On Tour 5
    – GGW – On Tour 6
    – GGW – On Tour 7
    – GGW – On Tour 8
    – GGW – Sweet Young Sex Maniacs
    – GIRL POWER 2
    – GIRL POWER 3
    – GIRL POWER 4
    – GIRL POWER 5
    – GIRL POWER 6
    – GIRL POWER 7
    – GIRL POWER 8
    – GIRL POWER 8
    – GIRL POWER 9
    – Girls On Girls
    – Girls Who Like Girls
    – Horny Cheerleaders
    – Hottest Texas Coeds
    – My 18th Birthday
    – Road Trip
    – Sex Race
    – Sexiest Moments Ever
    – Sexiest Moments Ever 2
    – Spring Break 2007
    – The Perfect Pair
    – Ultimate Rush
    – Usually a siterip or a torrent containing 25+ titles.
    – Wild World
    – Wildest Bar in America

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

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

    Intense Industries
    – Fucking Your Socks Off

    JM Productions Inc.
    – Suck Off Races 3

    JW Releasing Ltd
    – Kinky Business

    Kick Ass Pictures Inc.
    – Foot Fetish Daily 9

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

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

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

    Marc Dorcel
    – Cathy 40 (Cheating Housewife)

    Marc Dorcel DBA SBO Pictures, Inc.
    – Orgy Anthology

    SBO Pictures DBA Vouyer Media
    – Jack In Me POV 2

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

    Metro Media Entertainment
    – Cute Little Asses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    White Ghetto Films Inc.
    – Group Sex Junkies

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

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

    A few things to note.

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

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

    In sum, all I ask of everyone is to understand that the file sharing networks are no longer safe, and when you download something, assume someone else is watching you. And, be aware that there are companies out there like Copyright Enforcement Group (CEG-TEK Int’l) who are waiting to send you a settlement demand letter.

    CONTACT FORM: If you have a question or comment about what I have written, and you want to keep it *for my eyes only*, please feel free to use the form below. The information you post will be e-mailed to me, and I will be happy to respond.

      NOTE: No attorney client relationship is established by sending this form, and while the attorney-client privilege (which keeps everything that you share confidential and private) attaches immediately when you contact me, I do not become your attorney until we sign a contract together.  That being said, please do not state anything “incriminating” about your case when using this form, or more practically, in any e-mail.

      shalta boook now cta

      CEG-TEK’s new “you didn’t settle” letters sent from Marvin Cable.

      Back in November 2012, I wrote an article about CEG-TEK’s CopyrightSettlements.com web site “crashes” where following a failed settlement transaction (purposeful or not), accused infringers received letters essentially saying, “[B]ecause you have decided not to settle, we will be moving forward against you in a copyright infringement lawsuit. Please pay us $3,500 or else we will sue you.” These letters were apparently sent from Copyright Enforcement Group (CEG-TEK).

      [2017 UPDATE: Carl Crowell has created a new entity called RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT which has reverse-engineered CEG-TEK’s proprietary DMCA copyright infringement notice system.  Many of you have visited CEG-TEK links thinking that RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT was CEG-TEK, but really they are an ‘evil twin’ competitor.  Since the two entities operate almost the same way, this article is relevant.  Once thing to note.  The “you didn’t settle” letters that Marvin asked for here will no doubt be copied by Crowell.]

      Now it appears that CEG-TEK is “stepping up” their game again, and more letters are being sent out, but this time from CEG-TEK’s local counsel, Marvin Cable. What is particularly concerning is that this letter appears to be sent out to:

      1) ANYONE WHO CALLED IN TO CEG-TEK, BUT DID NOT SETTLE (they are scouring the CALLER-ID RECORDS and matching them with publicly available contact information), and

      2) ANYONE WHO ENTERED THEIR CONTACT INFORMATION ON THEIR WEBSITE (e.g., to process their credit card payment), but the website “crashed,”


      NOTE: I have personally heard reports of 1) and 2), but 3) is a catchall for items I have not yet heard about, but expect that they are doing.

      In sum, as I suspected when the Six Strikes System was put into place, with the big ISPs no longer forwarding their “$200 per title” settlement letters, their settlement stream of cash has started to run dry. As such, their production studio clients are forcing them to do whatever they can to “monetize” their clients IP (here, scrubbing the voicemail records, the caller ID records, and website tracking records, and putting names to those traces left by accused internet users), or else sue. In order to keep these clients, we see examples of letters such as this one:

      [scribd id=131868392 key=key-v3kkn86k16ertw216iv mode=scroll]

      Just to be clear, for a long time, when people ask “Should I settle or ignore CEG-TEK’s DMCA letters? What are my chances of being sued if I ignore?” I have been telling people that they could do either, and I laid out the factors to consider.  I am still of this opinion, namely that 1) Neither Ira Siegel, Terik Hashmi, Marvin Cable, or Mike Meier have sued anyone in MANY MONTHS (since July, 2012 to be exact), and 2) the purpose of their CopyrightSettlements.com website was to convince production companies that it is easier for them to sign on with CEG-TEK and run a settlement “IP monetization” campaign, rather than to sue everyone in a copyright infringement lawsuit.  I assume they are still trying to salvage this system, especially with the renewed efforts to find those who have not settled.

      And as always, if you haven’t read my previous articles on the topic, I am still getting reports of website transactions not working (website “crashes,” failed transactions), and so once again, be smart and protect your contact information. Know that when you visit a website, by default, you share with that website your IP address, and when you call Copyright Enforcement Group’s phone number to inquire about your matter, you leak your phone number which can easily be cross-referenced back to you.

      In other words, be careful with your information, and the “breadcrumbs” you leave when you conduct your daily life.  These breadcrumbs can be traced back to you, and next thing you know, you’ll be on the phone with me asking how to defend a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against you and 200 other Doe Defendants.

      Canada begins receiving CEG-TEK DMCA settlement letters. (3/12/2015)
      How time limits / purged records stop a copyright holder from learning a downloader’s identity. (12/18/2014)
      CEG-TEK’s growing list of participating ISPs, and their NEW alliance with COX Communications. (11/12/2014)
      The Giganews Problem (11/12/2014)
      CEG-TEK is now your friendly “photo” copyright troll. (6/13/2013)
      CEG-TEK’s new “you didn’t settle” letters sent from Marvin Cable. (3/22/2013)
      CEG-TEK’s DMCA Settlement Letters – What are my chances of being sued if I ignore? (2/22/2013)
      Why CEG-TEK’s DMCA settlement system will FAIL. (2/22/2013)

      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.

        shalta book now cta

        UPDATE 3: More of Mike Meier bittorrent cases consolidated.

        All of Mike Meier’s Bittorrent cases consolidated by New York Federal Judge Forrest so that she can adjudicate them together.

        *** UPDATE (3/13, 11:45am CST): I might need to backpedal a bit here. I received word from an attorney who had ears in yesterday’s hearing that Judge Forrest is not going to bust these cases as I thought she would. The reason for the consolidations is to treat them as one larger case so that the rulings in each of the cases will be consistent throughout his many cases. I am editing yesterday’s blog posts with cross-outs (example) and underlines (example) so you can see where I am changing the tone of the blog post from overly optimistic to slightly somber. I will obviously post about the judge’s order [UPDATE 3/14: HERE – see comments below for commentary] once it becomes available. ***

        *** UPDATE (3/12): As we initially discussed last week, *new cases* have been handed over to Judge Forrest so that she can adjudicate the smaller bittorrent cases together. I have added them to the list below. They are not yet listed as part of the “consolidated” case list (in Case No. 1:11-cv-09705), but if you look at the case dockets for each case, the notations that Judge Forrest is now handling them should tip you off that these cases too are now in trouble are now under her scrutiny. ***

        New Cases Now Handled By Judge Forrest:

        Combat Zone Corp. v. Does 1-63 (Case No. 1:11-cv-09688)
        Digital Sin, Inc. v. Does 1 – 179 (Case No. 1:11-cv-08172)
        Media Products, Inc. v. Does 1-55 (Case No. 1:11-cv-09550)
        Media Products, Inc. v. Does 1-36 (Case No. 1:12-cv-00129)
        Media Products, Inc. v. Does 1-142 (Case No. 1:12-cv-01099)
        Next Phase Distribution, Inc. v. Does 1-138 (Case No. 1:11-cv-09706)
        Patrick Collins, Inc. v. Does 1-115 (Case No. 1:11-cv-09705)
        SBO Pictures, Inc. v. Does 1-92 (Case No. 1:11-cv-07999)
        SBO Pictures, Inc. v. Does 1-154 (Case No. 1:12-cv-01169)
        Third Degree Films, Inc. v. Does 1-216 (Case No. 1:11-cv-09618)
        Third Degree Films, Inc. v. Does 1-217 (Case No. 1:11-cv-07564)
        Zero Tolerance Entertainment, Inc. v. Does 1-56 (Case No. 1:11-cv-09703)

        This is obviously relatively good news for the roughly 1,200+ John Doe Defendants who can now breathe a bit more easily knowing that their plaintiff attorney’s cases are in trouble because 1) we now know that the judge is VERY aware of the MANY cases pending against the many Doe Defendants, and 2) rulings across the board will now be consistent — you will no longer have one judge letting one bittorrent case move forward, and another judge dismissing his bittorrent case for lack of joinder or improper jurisdiction. You can read about the judge’s order regarding the original consolidated cases in our “New York Judge consolidates and freezes SMALLER BITTORRENT CASES for plaintiff attorney” article. No doubt similar orders will in time be written for these additional cases.

        On a related note, Judge Forrest is not the only New York District Judge who has figured out what is going on with these copyright infringement (“copyright troll”) cases.

        Judge Colleen McMahon (no doubt these judges talk to each other about their cases) has issued an order in two cases (so far; response due 3/30) demanding that Mike Meier tell the court why his cases should not be dismissed due to the inherent joinder issues in his cases (e.g., how bittorrent users can be sued together under the theory that they committed the “same crime at the same time” theory [when according to the plaintiff’s complaint, the bittorrent users committed the illegal act of downloading and/or seeding the copyrighted materials sometimes weeks if not months apart]).

        What I enjoyed most in the order was that Judge McMahon accused Mike Meier of [essentially] CHEATING the court out of the $350 fees for each of the 138 defendants (e.g., theft from the court of $47,950) who, according to the judge’s opinion should have been sued in SEPARATE cases. In addition, she states that the “misjoinder has resulted in an undercounting of the number of cases filed in this court and a concomitant distortion of the size of the court’s docket.” To make matters laughable, in response to a request from Mike Meier regarding one of the cases, she wrote, “[u]ntil I have decided whether joinder of these 139 defendants is proper-which I very much doubt-there will be no discovery. Motion denied. Get to work on responding to any order to show cause.”

        Cases involved:

        Patrick Collins, Inc., d/b/a Elegant Angel v. John Does 1-139 (Case No. 1:12-cv-01098)
        Media Products, Inc. v. Does 1-59 (Case No. 1:12-cv-00125)

        I don’t know about you, but when a judge accuses you of stealing $47,950 from the court, wouldn’t you worry that your cases won’t win? I expect to see more of these in the coming days and weeks with his other cases. More significantly, I’d be surprised if I saw any more filings from Mike Meier in the Southern District of New York. The last thing a copyright troll wants is a judge as an enemy who aggressively goes after his cases.

        Florida Judge consolidates and freezes ALL SMALLER BITTORRENT CASES for plaintiff attorney.


        If you were a plaintiff attorney suing thousands of defendants, what would you do if the judge figured out that you were not allowed to practice law?

        Terik Hashmi, owner of the Transnational Law Group, LLC just received a note from U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle essentially freezing each and every one of his 28 cases filed against John Doe Defendants, at first glance because he was not licensed to practice law in the state where he lives.

        In short, in order for an attorney to gain admission to practice as an attorney in a federal court, the court requires that you be licensed to practice law and be in good standing in the state in which you are licensed. Without delving too deeply into this, on Terik Hashmi’s letterhead, it says, “PRACTICE LIMITED TO FEDERAL COPYRIGHT PROTECTION AND ENFORCEMENT LAW,” which essentially says, “I’m not licensed in this state and this state’s bar, but I’m not practicing any state law,” which is usually a way out of being charged with the unauthorized practice of law (“UPL”), or practicing law without a license.

        Looking a bit deeper, when Terik signs his name, he signs it as “Terik Hashmi, JD, LLM (OH, FL/ND)” suggesting that he is licensed in the State of Ohio and in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida (the court that issued this ruling).

        Taking a look at the Ohio Bar’s website he appears to be licensed as an attorney and in good standing. Apparently he was sanctioned three (3) times during the years 2000-2001, 2002-2003, and 2004-2005 for failing to comply with the continuing legal education (“CLE”) requirements [he just had to pay fines for this], but other than these, I see nothing that indicates that he is not licensed as an attorney in Ohio.

        The problem is that it would NOT be the unauthorized practice of law if he lived in ANOTHER STATE and he was filing cases in the Northern District of Florida Federal Court as he has been. However, because Mr. Hashmi RESIDES IN the State of Florida (meaning he appears to be running his law practice while being in the physical borders of Florida — hence the “limited to federal practice” notation on his letterhead), the judge is suggesting that he is in violation of the Florida State Bar unauthorized practice of law statutes (and probably as a result will be in violation of his Ohio state bar’s ethics rules as well).

        For this reason, all of his 28 cases [for the time being] have been merged into Case No. 4:11-cv-00570 and are FROZEN. Lastly, quoting from the judge’s order, “Mr. Hashmi must show cause by March 9, 2012, why these cases should not be dismissed on the ground that he has no authority to practice law in Florida or in this court.”

        What this means to you is that as things stand, “…Mr. Hashmi must not attempt to settle any of these cases, must not accept any payment in settlement of any of these cases, and must not take any other action in any of these cases.” In other words, for the time being, Terik Hashmi’s cases (listed below) are DEAD.

        THIRD DEGREE FILMS, INC. v. DOES 1-259 (Case No. 4:11-cv-00570)
        THIRD DEGREE FILMS, INC. v. DOES 1-375 (Case No. 4:11-cv-00572)
        DIGITAL SIN, INC. v. DOES 1-208 (Case No. 4:11-cv-00583)
        DIGITAL SIN, INC. v. DOES 1-145 (Case No. 4:11-cv-00584)
        DIGITAL SIN, INC. v. DOES 1-167 (Case No. 4:11-cv-00586)
        NEXT PHASE DISTRIBUTION, INC. v. DOES 1-126 (Case No. 4:12-cv-00006)
        PATRICK COLLINS, INC. v. DOES 1-85 (Case No. 4:12-cv-00007)
        ZERO TOLERANCE ENTERTAINMENT, INC. v. DOES 1-52 (Case No. 4:12-cv-00008)
        MEDIA PRODUCTS, INC. v. DOES 1-34 (Case No. 4:12-cv-00024)
        SBO PICTURES, INC. v. DOES 1-92 (Case No. 4:12-cv-00025)
        SBO PICTURES, INC. v. DOES 1-97 (Case No. 4:12-cv-00026)
        METRO INTERACTIVE, LLC v. DOES 1-56 (Case No. 4:12-cv-00043)
        EVASIVE ANGLES ENTERTAINMENT v. DOES 1-97 (Case No. 1:11-cv-00241)
        ELEGANT ANGEL, INC. v. DOES 1-87 (Case No. 1:11-cv-00243)
        ELEGANT ANGEL, INC. v. DOES 1-115 (Case No. 1:11-cv-00245)
        ELEGANT ANGEL, INC. v. DOES 1-85 (Case No. 1:11-cv-00246)
        ELEGANT ANGEL, INC. v. DOES 1-77 (Case No. 1:11-cv-00247)
        MEDIA PRODUCTS, INC. v. DOES 1-175 (Case No. 1:11-cv-00248)
        DIGITAL SIN, INC. v. DOES 1-150 (Case No. 1:11-cv-00280)
        DIGITAL SIN, INC. v. DOES 1-131 (Case No. 1:11-cv-00281)
        EXQUISITE MULTIMEDIA, INC. v. DOES 1-178 (Case No. 1:12-cv-00002)
        MEDIA PRODUCTS, INC. v. DOES 1-43 (Case No. 1:12-cv-00003)
        NEXT PHASE DISTRIBUTION, INC. v. DOES 1-93 (Case No. 1:12-cv-00004)
        PATRICK COLLINS, INC. v. DOES 1-159 (Case No. 1:12-cv-00018)
        THIRD DEGREE FILMS, INC. v. DOES 1-195 (Case No. 1:12-cv-00019)
        MEDIA PRODUCTS, INC. v. DOES 1-168 (Case No. 1:12-cv-00020)
        SBO PICTURES, INC. v. DOES 1-98 (Case No. 1:12-cv-00021)

        On a personal note, do I really think this is the end of these cases? No, and this is merely because I am still floored that these cases are still around almost TWO YEARS no after they first started to appear. Plaintiff attorneys have come and gone, but the cases still appear to continue [for the most part] unhindered by the various Judges. Obviously many of them have smartened up the the mass extortion scheme being perpetrated on now a hundred or so thousand John Doe defendants, but the fact that the “Plaintiff v. John Doe 1-25” or “Plaintiff v. John Doe 1-250” cases are still around in the first place suggest that the attorney generals and the U.S. attorney generals are doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to make these cases go away as they did with the Trevor Law Group automobile repair shop extortion scheme cases (look them up) a few years back in the Northern District of California.

        Do I think Terik Hashmi is finished? Probably not. I am sure he’ll find a way to overcome this obstacle, but again, I say this only because I’m a bit dark and jaded from the fact that plaintiff attorneys still have their law licenses and are still filing lawsuits long after their cases have been shown to be what they are.

        For now, we should enjoy our victory and not get overly confident that these cases cannot reappear in the near future. Congratulations to all.

        Most importantly, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME A JUDGE HAS TAKEN DOWN ALL OF THE SMALLER “JOHN DOE” LAWSUITS AT ONCE. Other plaintiff attorneys should sit up and take notice.

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