Congratulations to the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC defendants dismissed from the Nu Image, Inc. v. Does 1-3,932 (FLMD) case.

Congratulations to the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC clients and former defendants who were dismissed from the Nu Image, Inc. v. Does 1-3,932 (Case No. 2:11-cv-00545) case in the Middle District of Florida.

We’ve known that this case has been “dead” since December, when the court denied the plaintiff’s request for an extension of time to name and serve defendants. I was surprised that they did not instantly dismiss the case months ago, but it lagged on with almost no activity.

I suppose the timing of this case is fortuitous for those following the Prenda Law Inc. scandals, because the judge in this case is US District Judge John E. Steele, having no relation to John Steele of Prenda Law Inc.

A few months ago, I referred to this case as an “abandoned, dead floating ship.” Even then I had no idea that the timing of the death of this case by Judge John Steele would coincide so nicely with Judge Wright’s hearing just the day beforehand.

For those that want to know what actually happened here, the politics were very simple. Copyright troll attorney Jeffrey Weaver of Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver, PLLC (now “Dunlap Weaver, PLLC sans former partner Grubb”) took this case after his main attorney Nicholas Kurtz left the firm leaving the oldest copyright troll without teeth to go after defendants. Nu Image, Inc. came in wanting to sue, and so Jeffrey Weaver took the case. Almost 300 documents, 79 weeks, and 2 days later, the case is dead.

Congratulations again to all 3,932 defendants who have been dismissed from the case.

[scribd id=134128697 key=key-104x0cq7diilu2lsl0js mode=scroll]

Link to the dismissal order.

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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    (FLMD) Why wasn’t the Nu Image, Inc. case killed like the others?

    As a follow-up to the “Sunshine State: No longer a “Happy” place for copyright trolls” article I wrote on Tuesday, I was surprised to see that one of Dunlap Weaver, PLLC’s cases — this one having 3,932 John Doe Defendants — survived UNSCATHED. It blows my mind that this case is still alive!

    Nu Image, Inc. v. Does 1-3,932 (Case No. 2:11-cv-00545) in the Middle District of Florida was filed back in September, 2011, and our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC has been tracking the case since its inception. Jeffrey Weaver of Dunlap Grubb & Weaver, PLLC (“DGW”) filed this lawsuit after his lead attorney, Nicholas Kurtz left the firm to do who-knows-what.  Having a copyright troll / mass bittorrent extortion outfit with no lead attorney to fight the cases must have been a disaster for the firm, and so DGW partner Jeffrey Weaver took the case.

    Now, over two years and 293 docket entries later (yes, watching this docket will max out your PACER payment every time you load the page), the case hangs in limbo.  On December 26th, 2012, Judge Sheri Polster Chappell denied Nu Image, Inc. more time to name and serve defendants.  We would think this would be the death nail for the case, but for some reason, the judge has not yet dismissed it.  (I can only assume this means that she is giving Weaver one last chance to prove that he is not a copyright troll, meaning that he actually has an interest in protecting his client Nu Image’s interests and going after the accused defendants.)  I have seen this firm name defendants before (even out of spite or vengeance when a certain attorney insulted them publicly [no, that wasn’t me that time]), so while I wouldn’t be surprised if they pull out an “Ace” and name hundreds of defendants, I really don’t think this will happen for the following reason:

    DUNLAP WEAVER, PLLC is lacking local counsel across the country.  While many of us attorneys have been building our local counsel networks across the U.S. (both on the defense side and on the plaintiff copyright trolls’ side), this law firm appears to have been stagnant, perhaps suffering from a bad economy and a failed copyright trolling business model.  They were the first, the biggest, and the oldest copyright trolls, but when they fired a number of paralegals who [unbeknownst to the partners at Dunlap Grubb & Weaver, PLLC] were doing most of the “scare” work and settlement negotiations for them, and when their lead attorney jumped ship, I expect they received an unexpected dip in their settlement rates (more like a fall-off-a-cliff wake-up call).

    As a result of lacking a significant local counsel network of attorneys, they cannot sue the 3,000+ defendants in their home states.  And, of the 3,000+ defendants, very few of them live in Florida.  Thus, they are no doubt experiencing some legal logistical issues.  This doesn’t mean that they cannot go after defendants.  It simply means that they haven’t gotten their act together to do so, and that they may never get organized in time to do so.

    As a funny side note, I wanted to point out that “John Steele” is the U.S. District Judge for this case.  Not the same John Steele that we know from Prenda Law Inc., but another John Steele.

    In sum, I am watching this case carefully because I would like to see it go bust like the others.  I am dumbfounded why this case wasn’t killed with the others.

    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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      Canal Street Films… MORE AND MORE TROLLS…


      I would think that when someone creates and copyrights a film, the purpose of creating that film is to attract viewers to purchase tickets to view that film either in the theaters, or by selling DVDs of that film.  If part of their strategy is to hire new copyright trolls to sue downloaders rather than to sell movie tickets, there is a problem in their model.

      It boggles my mind that more and more, I am seeing B-rated film companies release garbage films that nobody would watch, and instead of promoting their film to attract viewers, somehow those films are “leaked” onto the internet, only to see the production companies then sue internet users for $150K for each internet user who downloaded their films.


      Earlier this week, my kids were watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on PBS, where Fred Rogers was quite a bit older than I remember him being when I was younger. To show them the “Mr. Rogers” I remembered, I searched around and found an older version where his hair was black and he was quite a bit younger.   The video was obviously copyrighted, but it was also uploaded and online for all to see.  Was I wrong for playing this video for my kids?  Or, should I have contacted the Rogers’ Foundation and acquired a license to purchase a copy of this video [noting that there is likely nowhere to purchase this black-and-white video]?


      My point is that the copyright laws as they apply to individuals needs to be changed.  Production companies should make quality videos THAT SELL TICKETS (and DVDs) rather than trying to cash in on the end user that happened to view that video online without permission.  

      As I mention in my policy letter to lawmakers, if a production company really wanted to police their own copyrights, they are already given a legal remedy, and that remedy is to file a DMCA takedown notice with the website owner — and the unlicensed (“pirated”) video is quickly and effectively taken down by the website owner, or else the website owner can be found liable for copyright infringement himself.


      If the Rogers Foundation wanted to stop me and my kids from viewing a 1968 version of Mr. Rogers, then they could have easily sent a one-page takedown request to where that and many other similar videos are hosted.  There is no reason for them to come after me, my kids, or any of the other thousand viewers, unless stopping “piracy” for copyright trolls is not the their real intent.


      Back to the lawsuits and the new copyright trolls I am discussing in this article.  One new copyright troll is Canal Street Films, Inc. (link) who is suing 117 John Doe Defendants in two lawsuits in Washington for the download of their “Scary or Die (2012)” horror film.  The attorney suing for Canal Street Films is David Allen Lowe of Lowe Gram Jones, PLLC (link). The Canal Street Films lawsuits include:

      Canal Street Films Inc v. Does 1 – 13  (Case No. 2:13-cv-03001)

      Canal Street Films, Inc. v. Does 1-104 (Case No. 2:13-cv-00007)

      010613 Scary or Die


      Also suing in the Washington Western District Court are new copyright trolls Kintop Pictures, Inc. and their attorney, Richard J. Symmes of the Frontier Law Group.  It appears that each Kintop Pictures lawsuit was for the download of the title, “Tucker & Dale v. Evil (2010)” film (link).  

      The strange thing about these six Kintop Pictures cases is that they were all filed at the same time in December 2012. With ZERO explanation, just a few days ago, the Kintop Pictures were correspondingly ALL DISMISSED.  

      I wonder if Kintop Pictures or their attorney grew a conscience, or whether they just needed to get their copyright paperwork in order before they reared their ugly head and started suing defendants again.  

      Nevertheless, because Kintop Pictures sued internet users directly using the “bittorrent swarm joinder theory,” I am listing their cases in this site.


      Kintop Pictures v. Does 1-78 (Case No. 2:12-cv-02162) [DISMISSED]
      Kintop Pictures v. Does 1-26 (Case No. 2:12-cv-02159) [DISMISSED]
      Kintop Pictures v. Does 1-37 (Case No. 2:12-cv-02161) [DISMISSED]
      Kintop Pictures v. Does 1-40 (Case No. 2:12-cv-02163) [DISMISSED]
      Kintop Pictures v. Does 1-79 (Case No. 2:12-cv-02164) [DISMISSED]
      Kintop Pictures v. Does 1-70 (Case No. 2:12-cv-02165) [DISMISSED]


      Then in the Missouri Eastern District Court, Paul Lesko is still at it filing copyright infringement lawsuits on behalf of his new clients, PHE, Inc. and Purzel Video GMBH, both for the download of pornography titles.  The lawsuits are:

      Purzel Video GMBH v. Does 1-91 (Case No. 4:12-cv-02292)
      PHE, Inc. v. Does 1-96                      (Case No. 4:12-cv-02296)


      On a side note, I hear that there was some controversy as to whether Lesko was pressured by the president of his alma mater to stop representing porn companies in copyright infringement actions, but apparently the attempts fell on deaf ears.  

      On 12/11/2012, Lesko filed a lawsuit in the Missouri Eastern District Court on behalf of his new client, “Purzel Video GMBH” for the download of their porn video, “Chubby Teens 1.”  

      Then on 12/12/2012, he filed another lawsuit on behalf of PHE, Inc. (the “Adam & Eve” adult sex toy company) for the download of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer XXX: A Parody.”  

      I wrote about PHE, Inc. here in my “Nice try, PHE, Inc. – a failed copyright troll” article.  In short, Lesko is still at it despite his alma mater’s attempts to stop him.


      Lastly, in my own neck of the woods, I saw two cases filed against 400+ defendants by new copyright troll Studio West Productions, Inc.  The lawsuit is for the download of the film, “In the Name of the King: Two Worlds (2011)” (link).

      Even though the copyright troll attorney is John W. Raggio of the Raggio Law Firm, P.C. in Dallas (5 hours away from the court), after some research, it occurred to me that Raggio is merely local counsel to Dunlap Grubb & Weaver, PLLC (now, Dunlap Weaver, PLLC).  

      I am frankly surprised that they are still suing defendants, as they are one of the older copyright trolls out there, but they lost most of their litigation power when their attorney Nicholas Kurtz and a number of their paralegals left the firm after an internal shake-up early last year.

      Studio West Productions Inc. v. Does 1-237 (Case No. 4:12-cv-03690)
      Studio West Productions Inc. v. Does 1-205 (Case No. 4:12-cv-03691)

      All I have to say about these two cases is that they are in my back yard, so I will be happy to be there at the hearings and report things as they evolve.

      IN SUM

      As for all the other cases out there, I am still watching out for them, and if I see anything of interest, I will be happy to share what I find.  Obviously if anyone has any updates or questions about these cases, you know where to find me.

      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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        Now that my bittorrent case is dead… What to do about the settlement letters?!?

        A majority of the calls into our office these past few days have essentially been, “I was dismissed from XYZ case, but the plaintiff has started sending me scare letters telling me that I must settle by a certain date or else they are going to sue me again in my home state. I see they have started suing people in smaller numbers in different states. Can they really take me to court?!? Will they take me to trial if I don’t settle?!? What should I do?!? Should I settle?!?

        Up front, almost every knowledgeable plaintiff copyright “troll” attorney has shifted from suing thousands of defendants in one lawsuit to suing smaller numbers of defendants in smaller lawsuits (e.g., v. Does 1-23, v. Does 1-56, etc.) in many cases in the defendants’ home states. However, the filing of the lawsuits themselves — even against smaller groups of Does or against individuals — do not suggest that the plaintiff attorneys have any intention of moving against those particular Does. Over the past year, a number of plaintiff attorneys have sued individuals, but the lawsuits then just sit there for months at a time.

        I have a strong suspicion that the follow-up lawsuits are merely second chances for the plaintiff attorneys to prove that they “are serious” about moving forward against formerly dismissed defendants. I would be unimpressed if people got named, sued, and served, and then another one of their settlement “scare” letters arrived at the repeat defendant’s home stating, “We’re ready to move against you today if you would like. However, if you would like to settle, we’re willing to extend an olive branch of $X thousand dollars,” (that amount being significantly higher than the $3,500-$4,500 they are currently trying to extort from defendants.)

        The reason it is so easy for them to name and serve a defendant is because plaintiff attorneys know that the burden to hire an attorney and to file an answer within 20 days falls on the accused defendant, and if he misses this deadline, he defaults in his case and the plaintiff automatically wins. Once the default happens (e.g., by not hiring an attorney and timely filing an answer), this becomes yet one more opportunity for the plaintiff to write a “you defaulted on your case; pay us $X thousand dollars or else we will file a default judgement against you where we might get a $30,000 judgement, or possibly even a $150,000 judgement against you.”

        As for whether the plaintiffs have the manpower or the resources to take their cases to trial, my opinion is that [with few exceptions,] they probably do NOT have the resources to do so. Copyright infringement lawsuits are expensive to defend, and they are just as expensive to prosecute. Remember, the burden here is on the plaintiff to prove guilt, not on the Doe Defendant to prove he didn’t do it. The MPAA and the RIAA tried taking defendants to trial a few years back and you see how ineffective that strategy was (they have since abandoned the business model of suing downloaders, [as their former multi-million dollar judgements have been recently reduced to pennies on the dollar]).

        Then, the next question is whether Dunlap Grubb & Weaver, PLLC (now sending letters as another law firm, *how deceptive*) with Ellis Bennett, Nicholas Kurtz, and the other attorneys has the manpower to bring these cases to trial, I believe the answer is no. I have no doubt they might sue people individually. I have no doubt they might spend the few thousand dollars to hire a digital forensics expert to take a mirror image of the accused downloaders’ hard drives, and even to do a few depositions on the defendants themselves. However, beyond that — beyond a summary judgement motion where the plaintiff would ask the court to find the defendants guilty or not guilty as a matter of law based on the evidence gathered by the forensics team and by the depositions — I doubt they have the manpower or resources to move forward to trial, and I would be the first to hop on a plane and watch the case firsthand with popcorn in my hands if they did.

        Now as for whether you should settle. Up front, each defendant’s risk tolerance of being named and sued is different, and the effects of being sued differ based on each defendant’s financial situation and whether they are set up to be protected from such a loss. People with assets which are unprotected should obviously take being sued more seriously than someone without assets, or than someone who’s assets are properly shielded (e.g., either through umbrella liability insurance, various asset protection strategies, or through the use of corporate entities or trusts). That being said, let’s chat about the risk of being sued.

        In short, there is a website — which lists all the cases which are filed in each of the federal courts across the US. You can easily do a search for Copyright cases in your particular court, or in any or all federal courts. The best search is to list either the plaintiff’s name, e.g., “West Coast Productions”, “Hard Drive Productions”, or “Liberty Media Holdings”, or you can see the newer lawsuits filed against various does by doing a search for “Does 1-” which brings up most of the bittorrent cases.

        Then there is the question of can they even sue you? The answer is yes, but the analysis should not be one of fear or “maybe they will, maybe they won’t,” but a cold, calculated analysis of RISK. Most federal courts require that an out-of-state attorney hire local counsel before filing suit against defendants. Thus, if you look in your state and you do not see any lawsuits from your plaintiff (or your plaintiff attorney), then chances are they do not have local counsel yet in your state and the risk of being sued is low, and the need to settle is also correspondingly low. That being said, if you see that your plaintiff attorneys have sued defendants in your state (or if you see that their office is physically in your state), then that means that they can sue you themselves and they do not need local counsel, or that they have likely hired local counsel in your state — in either case, the risk of being sued skyrockets, and the need to settle also becomes quite high. As to whether to wait to be sued and then settle, or to settle proactively, you know that you have a better chance of negotiating if you do not have a lawsuit with a deadline looming like a gun at your forehead. Thus, if you are going to settle, it is best to settle proactively and before you get sued. If you wait until after you are sued, 1) there may be no settlement then, or 2) there may be a ridiculously high settlement after they sue you.

        Lastly, should you run off and settle your case on your own? Bad idea. It is better to have an attorney negotiate your settlement because 1) they could probably get a better deal than you because of increased negotiating power from other clients or a former relationship from past negotiations, 2) your attorney will not identify you during the negotiation process and thus your settlement negotiations are anonymous, 3) your attorney will not incriminate you with their discussions while you might, and 4) your attorney has the power to negotiate the settlement agreement to properly protect your interests whereas a defendant calling the plaintiff will probably be railroaded and will probably be told to either “take the contract as it is or leave it,” — not to mention that without an attorney, you do not know the clauses that need to be in the contract to protect your interests, e.g., from being sued later for attorney fees and costs. Last, but not least, it goes without saying that as soon as your attorney tells the plaintiff attorney that they are representing you, the plaintiff attorneys are NO LONGER ALLOWED TO CONTACT YOU, AND ALL COMMUNICATIONS MUST GO THROUGH YOUR ATTORNEY. Thus, no more settlement solicitation calls, no more midnight voicemails, no more scare letters, no more threats, and no more harassment. Everything goes through your attorney’s office.

        In sum, these plaintiff attorneys will no doubt try to push the envelope and sue individuals and/or smaller groups, and as potential defendants, settling should not immediately be your first inclination. There are factors to consider, and there are terms to negotiate if you do decide to settle. Missing the step of negotiating your settlement can get you sued for something you thought you settled, or can get you hit with fees and costs you did not realize you agreed to in the contract. Caveat emptor. Beware and vigilantly protect your interests when settling, or do not settle in the first place. And for G-d’s sake, do not visit the plaintiff’s website and log on to see your settlement, and then not settle. You must assume they are tracking you. If you are going to settle anyway, the last thing you want to sign is a boilerplate settlement agreement which has every term in their favor and none in yours. Be cautious.

        Which will be the bittorrent lawsuits of tomorrow?

        With the larger cases from Dunlap Grubb & Weaver, PLLC heading off into the bittorrent litigation graveyard, the plaintiff attorneys have not yet learned their lesson about the dangers of filing John Doe lawsuits with thousands of Does sued together. Below are just a few cases filed by the same plaintiff attorneys — newer cases — which thus far have not achieved much traction. No doubt we’ll be seeing more of these in the coming months.

        First and foremost, Ira Siegel’s new case, Digital Sin, Inc. v. Does 1-5,698 (Case No. 4:11-cv-04397-LB) filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Apparently it did not occur to his client that suing 5,698 defendants is the easiest way for a case to achieve scrutiny.

        Also by Ira Siegel is his SRO Pictures, Inc v. Does 1-3036 (Case No. 5:11-cv-04220-PSG) case, his Discount Video Center, Inc. v. Does 1-5,041 (Case No. 5:11-cv-02694-PSG) case, his Zero Tolerance Entertainment, Inc. v. Does 1-2,943 (Case No. 3:11-cv-02767-EDL) case, each filed in the same California court as Digital Sin.

        We are already hearing from Doe Defendants on Ira Siegel’s Third Degree Films, Inc. v. Does 1-3,577 (Case No. 4:11-cv-02768-LB) and most notorious, his Patrick Collins, Inc. v. Does 1-2590 (Case No. 3:11-cv-02766-MEJ) case, also in the same California court.

        Next, filed by Thomas Dunlap himself (of Dunlap Grubb & Weaver, PLLC) is CineTel Films, Inc. dba Family of the Year Productions, LLC v. Does 1-1,052 (Case No. 8:11-cv-02438-JFM) filed in the US District Court for the District of Maryland. This one should be fun. This same plaintiff has had Dunlap sue in his home US District Court for the District of Columbia, the Cinetel Films Inc. et al v. Does 1-1,951 (Case No. 1:11-cv-01334-RLW) case. Same plaintiff, different jurisdiction. My guess is that Ellis Bennett or Nicholas Kurtz will be the on the paperwork for these since they have to date handled Dunlap Grubb & Weaver’s older cases.

        In the District of Columbia (where most of Dunlap Grubb & Weaver’s cases are filed,) to everyone’s surprise is the AF Holdings, LLC v. Does 1-1,140 (Case No. 1:11-cv-01274-RBW) case, apparently using Timothy Anderson of Anderson & Associates, PC as the local counsel. The funny thing about this one is that AF Holdings, LLC is John Steele of Steele Hansmeier PLLC’s clients (where Steele Hansmeier has sued a bunch of AF Holdings, LLC v. Does smaller cases across the country already), so this Tim Anderson guy is probably another one of Steele’s local counsel puppets (sorry Tim).

        Then, there is Evan Stone’s FUNimation Entertainment v. Does 1-1,427 (Case No. 2:11-cv-00269-DF) filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. I haven’t heard much about this case yet, but Evan Stone is the attorney who was the plaintiff attorney over the LFP Internet Group, LLC v. Does [LFP a.k.a. “Larry Flint Productions”] lawsuit that had over 6,000 defendants in total dismissed last year. Maybe he’s back in the game with a case that won’t be immediately dismissed.

        Last, but not least, there is a set of triplet lawsuits filed by an unknown McDaniel Law Firm plaintiff (probably a copycat attorney who has watched these bittorrent cases develop and now has decided to try his hand and sue) in the US District Court for the District of New Jersey. Both of them go by the same name, Baseprotect UG, Ltd. v. John Does 1-X (Case No. 2:11-cv-03621, Case No. 2:11-cv-02021, and Case No. 2:10-cv-06806 respectively). The deceptive part is that the “Does 1-X” title appears to suggest that there are just a few defendants, so the case is hoped to stay under the radar. Nope. In one case, I believe there are over 300+ John Doe defendants implicated, and in the other case, I believe there are over 1,500 John Doe defendants. Funny enough, I hear that Baseprotect does not even own the Polish copyrights they assert, and that they have merely questionably acquired a limited right to sue on these copyrights. This will be fun to watch.

        So in short, with the demise of the famous DC cases (Maverick Entertainment, Call of the Wild, and now West Coast Productions, Inc.), there are a whole new generation of cases who hope to achieve exactly the same purpose as their predecessors. Make a profit before getting dismissed into oblivion.

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