Choose authentic content. Avoid settlement factory websites.

Picture suggesting settlement factory websites are faked.

It just occurred to me that some settlement factory websites are not written to educate you, but rather to lure you in to click on that law firm’s webpage or blog.

Obviously every business writes a website to grow their business — law firms (including mine) are no different. However, I have been well aware that some of us attorneys write useful content for the purpose of educating you — the accused defendant. Other attorneys just write contentless keyword-spammed articles which are written to show up at the top of search engines.

"68 John Doe Defendants Sued in Florida."
"23 John Doe Defendants Sued in California."
...and so on.

In this article, I explain why I think these content-less websites are settlement factory websites meant only to lure you in.

Photo of man fleeing the scene.
Source: Pixabay.com by Candid_Shots

We are changing the structure of our websites.

We have been doing “spring cleaning” of the TorrentLawyer blog these past few weeks; I am not sure you have noticed. Most of the changes are “under the hood” — I’ve been re-categorizing older content, and updating useful information with today’s lawsuits so that our content is more orderly… for myself and for you.

In the coming weeks, I will hopefully be updating the structure of the pages themselves so that they are more readable (my articles typically have been horribly content-laden – an older employee once told me that “reading my articles was like walking through mud”). I hope to fix that shortly.

I researched and wrote every one of my articles.

This blog has hundreds of articles that I (Rob Cashman, Owner of the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC) personally researched, wrote, and edited. I researched and wrote each article myself. I have never hired someone to write my articles for me, nor do I think doing so is authentic or honest.

We started this blog to bring clarity to a new area of law.

I am not a journalist, I am an attorney. However, in 2010 (now ten years ago), I decided that someone should write about the growing number of mass-bittorrent based copyright infringement lawsuits. Even the other attorneys did not understand at the time how intellectual property laws and copyright laws applied to someone accused of downloading music and movies (ugh, now adult films). So I created this blog to hash out those topics.

Picture suggesting the ghostwriting of blogged content.
pedrofigueras / Pixabay

Copyright Trolls, a pimple sprouted from patent trolls.

We called these companies who file these lawsuits “copyright trolls” after patent trolls who purchase the rights to certain patents for the purpose of extorting others for hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions of dollars. You can read up on these topics on an older blog called “Cashman IP.”

Now defense attorneys betray their clients.

Now we are ten years later, and the number lawsuits have grown exponentially, but so too, the number of attorneys claiming to “defend John Doe Defendants against the copyright trolls” have grown exponentially as well.

Misinformation floods attorney blogs like blood.

These attorneys pump out “bad information” on their websites, often suggesting motions to quash, or suggesting that John Doe Defendants immediately settle when these two options mask better, more practical approaches.

But some attorneys appear to have read my articles (and other articles on the web, of course), but they forgot to look up the actual law, and so they grossly misinform accused defendants when they try to get them to sign on as clients. One such attorney [who to my horror is actually at the top of search engines now] knew nothing about copyright law or the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and on many occasions referred to copyright infringement lawsuits as “criminal lawsuits” (you know, where if you are found guilty you go to jail…?!?)

Calling a copyright case a “criminal” case is criminal.

I am obviously nobody’s police man, but on a few occasions, I had to physically yell at this attorney to learn the law he is practicing and stop telling John Doe Defendants that copyright infringement cases ARE NOT CRIMINAL CASES. THEY ARE CIVIL CASES FOR MONEY DAMAGES.

…This guy too has a website and a blog, and he pays Google AdWords for you to visit his website. This (he, and attorneys like him) is why there is so much conflicting information on the internet about these cases.

BIG difference between copying and theft.

I always thought that some of these newer attorneys were simply “standing on the shoulders of others.” But the fighting between these attorneys is simply terrible.

When my research shows up on another attorney’s blog…

Some defense attorneys copy each other’s websites (try to copy-and-paste content from this blog; I have actually needed to disable the ability to copy content from my website).

Why? Because my research and experience shows up on their pages, as do case number lists of who was sued in which court, along with other content that I spend time researching.

I have tested this by making “errors” in the case numbers or title of who the “John Doe subscriber accused IP Address …” was, and I have seen them “lifted” and pasted into other attorneys’ lists and blogs.

I encourage healthy competition (and even encourage it), but when what I write ends up on another attorneys website, it is rant-worthy (FYI, it is copyright infringement too, as funny as that is considering what we do).

When what I tell potential clients in phone consultations is copied word-for-word…

In addition to copying each other’s written content, and some attorneys lack the originality to simply talk to a potential client about his/her circumstances. This is because the defense attorney hires inexperienced attorneys (or, non-attorneys they make you think are attorneys) to take their phone consultations for them. These extra bodies read the same “scripts” to potential clients, often pushing the client to settle or file a motion to quash, etc.

I too say the same thing (or cover similar topics) each time I speak to a client, e.g., I walk them through the options once they are sued, the probable outcomes of each option, etc. But my conversations are based on MY experience based on MY knowledge from the hundreds (maybe thousands) of cases I have represented accused defendants. Too often, newer attorneys just read scripts, and these “scripts” were copied from other attorneys in their phone consultations.

I sometimes chuckle when I ask potential clients (e.g., when there is a red flag) show me that they are an actual defendant in a lawsuit in order to take their phone consultation. This is silly, but too often, I have had my law firm’s methodologies and things I literally tell clients — statistics and facts only I would know based on my years of experience — copied by other attorneys (or their newly hired attorneys), word-for-word. I know this because I am often not the first attorney someone speaks to when they speak to me, and I often ask what they were told prior to speaking to me.

I still believe having defense attorneys in each state benefits defendants.

I always thought that it was a good idea that defense attorneys too should be located in every state in which the copyright trolls were suing defendants. The whole idea of “one attorney in one state representing every defendant from every state” smelled.

When one attorney represents all clients from every state (as we saw with hindsight in the settlement factory attorneys, below), too much power concentrated in too few attorneys.

This scenario invited collusion between the plaintiff attorney and the defense attorney. It suggested to me that if one attorney is handling each and every case in every settlement (or every lawsuit), the defense attorney will not fight hard for their client and will come to malpractice by not properly representing them.

Settlement Factory Attorneys born in a cottage industry.

I was right, and for years, I have called out settlement factories and their tactics because their attempts to “cut corners” deprives the accused defendant of proper attorney representation.

From these mass-bittorrent-based copyright infringement lawsuits was born the “settlement factory” attorney. This is a quantity-based law firm represents clients in a boilerplate fashion. Call it a “discount” law firm because they represent everyone the same way (although I many times objected to them charging a flat rate fee of $2,500 for what amounted to less than $2,500 worth of work).

Feel secure in the hard-earned money you are paying your attorney.

The logic was that if a “settlement factory” discount attorney is billing $300/hour, and his “streamlined” settlement negotiation takes him only five hours of time, then he should only bill you $1,500 (= 5 hours x $300/hour), not $2,500. So like so many other “scams” affiliated with settlement factories, even the amount they bill does not match the amount of work they do for a client.

Refocusing this article back to settlement factory websites not written by the attorneys who host them.

I have written many articles in the past about settlement factories, but to my surprise, now their settlement factory websites are yet one more scam. These same attorneys plaster the search engines and YouTube sites with ads and pay-per-click links to bring traffic (you) to their websites.

You click, they pay Google AdWords for you to visit their devoid-of-content site.

If you only knew how much these same attorneys pay per click (you can look them up on https://www.semrush.com), you would be absolutely floored! Type in “Strike 3 Holdings subpoena” [or the attorney websites who show up in the Google Paid Results to these searches] into SEMrush and you will be horrified if you learned that ONE PARTICULAR ATTORNEY regularly pays $60.00 PER CLICK in their Google AdWords campaigns.

If I told you that more than one attorney is also paying these crazy fees (rather than writing authentic, real content), you would be horrified and betrayed by these attorneys who fight for your click-juice. [For context, if they were paying $3/click, I wouldn’t balk. And, I have run Google AdWord campaigns in the past and would again in the future, but holy smokes!]

I would never pay $60 to have someone click on my site. They do, and this should concern you.

So, I am out of time once again, and I need to get back to work. With a chuckle, I wrote this quick article calling these guys out on their websites and their ghost-blogged content.

In sum: I always thought that a certain handful of bittorrent defense attorneys post repeating content that was so devoid of content (after all, how much can you write about the same thing?).

What I did not notice was that the articles these attorneys churn out might not have been written by those attorneys at all.

-Rob

P.S. – I wouldn’t be surprised if these same attorneys started panicking and writing “I’m authentic, I write my own content” articles over the coming days and weeks. It is usually the ones that jump who are actually guilty of the thing I have just pointed them out for.

TorrentLawyer Update – July 17, 2020

Bryan N DeMatteo New York Bittorrent Cases NY

With COVID-19 on the minds of the citizenry, along with social distancing, masks, and a dizzying set of events relating to social unrest, the court cases relating to copyright infringement have (for the most part) been on pause.

TWO MORE TROLLS IN THE DUSTBIN OF HISTORY

To my biggest surprise, two huge copyright trolls [for the moment] appear to be out of business — Malibu Media, LLC, and Rightscorp. Malibu Media, LLC had their hands full with an appellate case for some time, and the owners keep suing their own attorneys (and vice versa). There is so much more to say here, but it has literally been MONTHS since I have even thought about them. Relevant to you, ABSOLUTELY NO NEW MALIBU MEDIA, LLC LAWSUITS HAVE BEEN FILED IN MONTHS.

Same deal with Rightscorp. Rightscorp seemed to be in such a powerful position, especially after the BMG v. COX Communications lawsuit. However, I hear that the owner of Rightscorp has moved on to other matters, and all of the people I used to speak to there appear to no longer be working there.

On top of that, their website is broken and people who actually want to pay the DMCA notification $20 fee requests sent to them are unable to. Plus, there is nobody answering their phones (“the voice mailbox is full”), other phone numbers are disconnected, and nobody responding to e-mails. In other words, “the lights are on [meaning, they are still sending DMCA notifications… or maybe its a robot running on automatic], but nobody is home.”

STRIKE 3 HOLDINGS IN THE MIAMI-DADE STATE COURT

Strike 3 Holdings, LLC was the copyright holder making the most noise over the past few months. First, in late 2019, Strike 3 Holdings filed a slew of “so-called lawsuits” (really, no lawsuit, just a request for a state court to unmask the identities of thousands of accused infringers) in the Miami-Dade, Florida court.

The immediate confusion was what to do with these ISP subpoena notification letters which went out to hundreds of account holders across the United States [read: not a Florida resident] threatening to disclose their identities to Strike 3 Holdings based on the Florida Bill of Discovery law. But by definition of Strike 3 Holdings’ claims being copyright claims, the Miami-Dade, state-based Florida state court cannot try copyright infringement cases. Plus again, Strike 3 Holdings sued non-Florida residents in a Florida state court (where the court does not have personal jurisdiction over them. Rather, you sue a defendant where the defendant lives, not in some obscure county which enforces state rules which do not apply to that out-of-state defendant.)

The third confusion was the contradiction between what Strike 3 Holdings told the judges when asking the state court to disclose the identities of the alleged downloaders versus what they actually did with that information. Strike 3 Holdings, LLC attorneys told judges they were seeking the contact information to determine who is the alleged infringer (who downloaded their adult films using bittorrent without permission) so that they could decide whether to sue them in their home state’s federal court or not. But then when they received the contact information of the ISP account holders, they turned around and solicited multi-thousand dollar settlements from each account holder.

SETTLEMENT OUT-OF-STATE ATTORNEYS IN THE MIAMI-DADE STATE COURT

To make things worse, filings such as a motion to quash in a STATE COURT should be filed by an attorney LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW IN THAT STATE. The typical settlement-based out-of-state attorneys have been sticking their sticky fingers into the state court rather than referring the matter to a Florida licensed attorney.

We at the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC noticed that these out-of-state attorneys are trying (even today) to profiteer off of the Florida state-based cases by offering to file motions to quash in the Florida courts, even though they are not licensed to practice law in Florida. Some of these same attorneys enlist local attorneys who file motions to quash (likely splitting the ill-gotten fees with the local Florida attorneys) with full knowledge that the result of filing an objection with the court (or a motion to quash) is that Strike 3 Holdings LLC immediately threatens to sue that defendant [trying to hide his identity] in his home state’s federal court. Many of the current Strike 3 Holdings, LLC lawsuits filed in the past few months are the result of a failed motion to quash filed by an out-of-state attorney (or their local counsel) in the Miami-Dade, Florida court. [I just wrote that article today, so go ahead and read it to see if you live in a state where they are suing defendants.]

The problem [with these attorneys practicing law in a state where they are not licensed] is that law degrees are not a national US-based certifications, but rather, each state licenses its own attorneys who are knowledgeable about their state’s laws and procedures. In federal courts (e.g., the US District Court of the District of the Northern District of California, and other federal courts), there is no issue with an out-of-state attorney representing a client [and our law firm does this all the time] because all federal courts run according to the same Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (and the court’s local rules). But state courts are different.

In my opinion, it is possible for an out-of-state attorney to represent a client in a foreign STATE-based lawsuit (e.g., the Florida county court), but really, to file a motion to quash in the Miami-Dade court [which is what we are speaking about here], you really need a Florida licensed attorney to do so. Anything else is less than adequate.

I have spoken to many potential clients who have been implicated as “defendants” in the Miami-Dade Strike 3 Holdings, LLC cases, and every time one of them wants to file a motion to quash anyway (even though I have written so many articles explaining why this is a bad idea), I have forward them to certain Florida-licensed attorneys who I know to be knowledgeable and competent about this area (especially since they dealt with this same issue when Malibu Media, LLC sued defendants in the same Miami-Dade Florida state court [and Maricopa County state court] years ago).

The funny thing is that these same Florida attorneys who dealt with the same Florida “Bill of Discovery” cases when Malibu Media LLC are telling those I send to them that a motion to quash is not an effective strategy. This is the advice which is coming from a Florida-licensed attorney, yet, the settlement factory and settlement-based law firms from other states are pushing for accused defendants to hire *them* to file motions to quash in the Florida courts [even though they are not licensed to practice law in that state]. Amazing.

MY OPINION ABOUT MOTIONS TO QUASH

All I have to say about that topic is to read the article about “Why filing a motion to quash in a Strike 3 Holdings LLC Miami-Dade Florida case might not be the correct approach.” In this article, I discuss what the out-of-state attorneys are doing, and I discuss what a number of Florida-based attorneys are doing as well (there are “settlement factories” in Florida as well masking their settlement-based practices by selling “motion to quash” services for their clients).

Otherwise, things at our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC law firm are going smoothly. I am watching the MG Premium Ltd. copyright holder (who has recently filed the MG Premium Ltd v. Does 1-20 (Case No. 3:20-cv-05134) case), and I am watching the activities of other copyright holders who have been actively monitoring all of the millions of US residents who have been sitting in quarantine and using bittorrent to view their copyrighted videos. So far, everything seems quiet, and quiet is good.


[CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: If you have a question for an attorney about anything I have written here, 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 matter, or you can SMS/Whatsapp 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.

    Why a motion to quash might NOT be the correct approach in a Strike 3 Holdings Miami-Dade Florida Case.

    strike-3-holdings-anonymous-settlement

    Out-of-state defendants have received subpoena letters from their ISPs informing them that they have been sued by Strike 3 Holdings LLC in Miami-Dade County, Florida. It is my observation that these defendants are being misinformed by certain defense attorneys as to whether they should file a motion to quash to try to stop the ISP from sharing their information or they should immediately pay Strike 3 Holdings a settlement to prevent them from being sued for copyright infringement.

    Settlement Factory Attorneys are not Disclosing their Past Outcomes.

    The problem is that these defense attorneys are recommending that out-of-state defendants file a motion to quash. However, they ALREADY KNOW THE OUTCOME that once a motion to quash is filed, the Strike 3 Holdings LLC plaintiff attorney will send that defense attorney a letter threatening a $150,000 copyright infringement lawsuit in a FEDERAL COURT unless that accused defendant settles the claims against them for thousands of dollars.

    Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > >

    This would not be a problem if the accused defendant WAS INFORMED UP FRONT that a settlement would be solicited (threatened) if the defense attorney filed the motion to quash in the Miami-Dade Florida County court.

    What is actually happening, however, is that defendants are not being informed of the letters being sent by Strike 3 Holdings, and the defense attorneys are FEIGNING IGNORANCE and PRETENDING NOT TO KNOW that this (a settlement and a threat to sue in the defendant’s home state) has been the result that has come from filing a motion to quash.

    In other words, someone is lying to someone, and I suspect it is [again, the settlement factory] defense attorney who is lying to their potential clients to lure them into settling the claims against them by first “selling” them on the idea of filing a motion to quash with the Florida court.

    [I could stop the article here, but let’s delve a bit deeper into this topic.]

    Why Would a Miami-Dade Strike 3 Holdings LLC Defendant Settle Now?

    WHY would someone accused as a potential defendant in [what is really a state-based Miami-Dade Florida court] Bill of Discovery case (again, NOT a copyright infringement case filed in a federal court) file a motion to quash as their [settlement factory] attorneys are luring them to do?

    Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > >

    If they did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING (and this is obviously not legal advice), the likelihood of them being named and served as a defendant in the Florida court would be logically ZERO.

    WHY: The Strike 3 Holdings LLC Miami-Dade cases are *NOT* copyright infringement cases for $150,000, but rather, they are merely requests to disclose the identities of the accused infringers. If defendants did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, in this Florida court they would not be facing a $150,000 copyright infringement lawsuit because copyright infringement lawsuits MUST be filed in a federal court, NOT a state court.

    Two reasons why Miami-Dade Strike 3 defendants are settling now (before a lawsuit against them is filed).

    So why would an accused Miami-Dade Strike 3 defendant settle? I’ll give this TWO answers:

    #1: Defense attorneys are luring defendants in with false promises from a “motion to quash” defense.

    ANSWER #1: The motion to quash vehicle is not providing defendants the outcome they are looking for (filing a motion to quash lures the defendant into communication with the plaintiff attorney and forces him/her to decide whether to settle the claims against him or defend against a copyright infringement lawsuit in federal court).

    Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > >

    I have written extensively about motions to quash (a motion telling the court that they do not have personal jurisdiction over an accused defendant [and thus the court cannot proceed against that particular defendant] because that defendant does not live in the state in which he/she is sued).

    A motion to quash is “technically” the correct motion to file when the defendant is outside of Florida.

    In the Miami-Dade Florida Strike 3 Holdings LLC cases, 99% of the defendants DO NOT LIVE IN FLORIDA (I actually do not know the actual percentage, but pretty much every defendant that has called me lives outside of Florida). Thus, the Miami-Dade Florida court has NO JURISDICTION over most of these accused defendants, and thus a motion to quash would “technically” be the proper vehicle to hide the defendant’s identity from Strike 3 Holdings LLC.

    But JUST BECAUSE something (here, a “motion to quash” a subpoena) is the “right vehicle” to achieve a particular outcome (here, preventing the ISP from handing over the identity of the accused downloader) DOES NOT MEAN that by using that vehicle you will get the outcome you desire.

    Strike 3 Holdings knows the ACTUAL STATE where the defendant LIVES (and threatens to sue them there, even with a motion to quash).

    The problem is that in the process of filing the motion to quash, Strike 3 Holdings LLC “learns” the location of that defendant (they actually already know the location of the defendant through the geolocation of his/her IP address anyway), and the Strike 3 Holdings LLC attorney threatens the Florida attorney to either settle or withdraw the motion to quash OR ELSE they will file a copyright infringement lawsuit against their defendant in the US District Court (the federal court) in the state in which their client lives.

    Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > >

    Strike 3 Holdings LLC threatens the defense attorneys to withdraw their motions to quash or face a lawsuit against their clients in their home state.

    Thus, the outcome of filing a motion to quash is that the Strike 3 Holdings LLC attorney threatens the defense attorney to settle now or else their defendant client will be sued in their home state’s federal court. *I have seen these letters* so I know first hand that this is happening.

    The Miami-Dade Florida “Pure Bill of Discovery” cases are not copyright infringement lawsuits.

    So if the end result of filing a motion to quash is that you will receive a threat from the opposing counsel, why file a motion to quash in the first place? [Again, it is not as if the plaintiff attorney will name and serve that defendant in their “Florida Bill of Discovery” case. There are practically no damages there and the Miami-Dade Florida court has no jurisdiction over most of the defendants. So what is accomplished by filing a motion to quash? In my opinion, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.]

    Settlement Factory Attorneys are marketing their settlement outcomes by feigning that a motion to quash should be their strategy instead of the settlement they know will result by filing the motion to quash.

    Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > >

    Unfortunately, there are Florida attorneys who have actively marketed motions to quash as the “silver-bullet” solution to these Miami-Dade Florida-based Strike 3 Holdings LLC cases. However, I do not think that this kind of marketing was the honest approach which is “in the best interest of the client,” a legal ethical attorneys need to hold by in every state… maybe not in Florida.

    Eventually a defendant who files a motion to quash at the advice of their attorney will also pay that same attorney a second fee to negotiate a settlement to settle the claims against them.

    What the defense attorneys neglect to tell their clients is that eventually the client will be forced to settle the claims against them and thus the client not only paid the Florida attorney hundreds or thousands for the motion to quash and the procedural hurdles involved in achieving the motion to quash, but they would also have to pay the attorney again to negotiate a settlement of the claims against their client to the tune of sometimes tens of thousands of dollars.

    “Playing stupid” is not an honest approach when representing a Strike 3 Holdings LLC defendant.

    Thus, I am kind of annoyed when I hear stories about the misinformation I have been hearing from Florida defense attorneys who have been deceiving their clients and then “playing stupid” when a settlement is eventually suggested [and it will be suggested].

    Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > >

    In sum, a Strike 3 Defendant who filed a motion to quash has probably been tricked into settling the claims against them.

    So in sum, to answer the question “why would someone accused in a Miami-Dade Strike 3 Holdings LLC case settle?”

    My first answer is that they were deceived by an attorney to file a motion to quash and now they are being forced to settle the claims against them… or risk a $150,000 copyright infringement lawsuit filed against them* in a federal court in their home state. Thus, to avoid being sued, they settle.

    Why else would an accused defendant in a Miami-Dade Strike 3 Holdings LLC case settle?

    #2: Unfortunately, Strike 3 often [but not always] accurately accuses the correct internet user who downloaded their copyrighted videos.

    Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > >

    ANSWER #2: Strike 3 Holdings LLC accurately identified the accused defendant as the one who downloaded their copyrighted titles, and to avoid a lawsuit filed in a federal court in their state, the defendant settles the claims against him out of court.

    One of the unfortunate things in the Strike 3 Holdings LLC copyright infringement cases is that Strike 3 Holdings has gotten quite good at identifying the correct defendant.

    Further, they are targeting defendants based on their demographic information where before the defendant is even targeted, they are identified [sometimes mistakenly] as someone who has deep pockets. Add together the “we got the right guy” and “he can pay us a lot of money,” they have the perfect defendant who will settle the claims against him.

    Strike 3 Holdings LLC copyright infringement lawsuits generally require the plaintiff to obtain testimony “under oath” from the defendant whether he downloaded the videos or not.

    I wish I had more to say here. There are a thousand ways to handle a copyright infringement lawsuit from the defense side of things, however, in pretty much most cases, the defendant must assume that the plaintiff attorney will put the him or her under oath (meaning, they will take his testimony) and ask whether he has downloaded, streamed, or viewed adult films using bittorrent.

    Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > >

    As soon as the defendant answers “yes,” they have just compromised their chances of winning the copyright infringement lawsuit.

    Remember: The burden of proof in a civil copyright infringement lawsuit is “PREPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDENCE,” meaning “more likely than not,” or “51%.”

    This is a much lower burden of proof than “CLEAR AND CONVINCING” or “BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT” as you would see in criminal cases.

    Thus, knowing that the plaintiff attorney will take the testimony from the defendant if he fights back, most defendants would rather opt to settle the claims against them than expose themselves to a deposition where they might end up giving testimony which kills their defense.

    So, because of these uncomfortable truths, the Miami-Dade Florida based Strike 3 Holdings LLC lawsuits continue in full force.

    OBSERVATION: Strike 3 Holdings LLC is still filing more Miami-Dade Florida based “Pure Bill of Discovery” Lawsuits.

    Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > >

    Since I wrote the last article three weeks ago (and the one before than in October, 2019), I have observed that there were four more cases filed in the Miami-Dade Florida court (and within each of the four lawsuits is potentially a hundred or more defendants — I know this because the complaints implicate hundreds of defendants, each one accused of being “ONE UNKNOWN INFRINGER” having ONE IP ADDRESS).

    Thus, for the cost of filing ONE federal court lawsuit, they are exposing the names of potentially a hundred or more defendants who will pay to settle the claims against them.

    Current List of Strike 3 Holdings LLC Miami Dade Florida-based lawsuits.

    Here is the current (updated) list of Strike 3 Holdings LLC Miami-Dade Florida lawsuits:

    STRIKE 3 HOLDINGS, LLC v. UNKNOWN INFRINGERS LISTED ON EXHIBIT 1

    Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > >

    Local Case Numbers: 2019-027829-CC-05, 2019-027599-CC-05, 2019-026368-CC-05, 2019-026371-CC-05, 2019-025653-CC-05, 2019-025655-CC-05, 2019-025662-CC-05, 2019-024463-CC-05, 2019-024467-CC-05, 2019-024647-CC-05, 2020-001616-CC-05, 2020-001652-CC-05, 2019-032919-CC-05, 2019-032825-CC-05, 2019-032439-CC-05, 2019-032122-CC-05, 2019-031035-CC-05, 2019-030496-CC-05, 2019-030040-CC-05, 2019-028802-CC-05, 2019-028412-CC-05, and 2019-028410-CC-05.

    State Case Numbers: 132019CC027829000005, 132019CC027599000005, 132019CC026368000005, 132019CC026371000005, 132019CC025653000005, 132019CC025655000005, 132019CC025662000005, 132019CC024463000005, 132019CC024467000005, 132019CC024647000005, 132020CC001616000005, 132020CC001652000005, 132019CC032919000005, 132019CC032825000005, 132019CC032439000005, 132019CC032122000005, 132019CC031035000005, 132019CC030496000005, 132019CC030040000005, 132019CC028802000005, 132019CC028412000005, and 132019CC028410000005.

    *2/10/2020 UPDATE: Still, no Florida Miami-Dade judge has stopped these cases, and Strike 3 Holdings, LLC keeps filing. Here are additional cases that have been filed in the last three weeks:

    Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > >

    NEW Local Case Numbers: 2020-002968-CC-05, 2020-002021-CC-05, 2020-002024-CC-05, 2020-002019-CC-05.

    NEW State Case Numbers: 132020CC002968000005, 132020CC002021000005, 132020CC002024000005, 132020CC002019000005.


    [CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: If you have a question for an attorney about the Miami-Dade Florida-based Strike 3 Holdings, LLC cases and my experiences with them or what the defense attorneys are doing, 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 Strike 3 Holdings, LLC case, 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.

      How Paul Beik names and serves Malibu Media LLC defendants.

      malibu-media-case-consolidations

      Paul Beik (Paul S. Beik of the Beik Law Firm PLLC) is a Texas-based plaintiff attorney who has “served” many defendants in Texas lawsuits for his Malibu Media LLC client (“served” as in someone knocking on a defendant’s door in a bittorrent copyright litigation lawsuit and handing the former John Doe Defendant a copy of the complaint; not “served” as in “thousands served” in a McDonald’s hamburger way). [Sorry for the play on words — that came out when editing this article.]

      Paul Beik has been naming and serving Malibu Media LLC v. John Doe defendants since 3/28/2018 (or at least 3/28/18 was the first time I contacted him before having a client served; prior to this, his predecessors Andrew Kumar and Michael Lowenberg of the Lowenberg Law Firm PLLC filed Malibu lawsuits in TX since 10/27/2016), but unlike Beik’s cases, their John Doe defendants were not regularly named and served.

      More generally, Malibu Media LLC has likely filed over ten thousand copyright infringement lawsuits against anonymous John Doe defendants since 2012 (I stopped counting in 2016, when Malibu temporarily stopped filing lawsuits, and even then, there were already 6,000+ cases filed across the US).

      Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > > >

      Prior to Paul Beik taking over as Texas local counsel for Malibu Media LLC, while some Texas John Doe defendants were named and served here and there, most of them historically were never served. The reason for this is that Malibu Media LLC’s general counsel (currently represented by the Lomnitzer Law Firm in Florida) always let the local copyright attorneys (here, Paul Beik) decide how far into litigation they are willing to go — specifically whether they are willing to have the John Doe Defendants named and served.

      How Malibu Media LLC lets their attorneys “grow” on the job.

      [Again, the header is not to be taken out of context given the subject matter of the Malibu Media LLC adult film cases.]

      Malibu Media LLC’s general counsel often hires lawyers in each state who know federal procedure [but who do not necessarily know any copyright law]. They often let that attorney “learn on the job” by following instructions, templates, and scripts I believe are provided to every new Malibu Media LLC local counsel. I have referred to these new plaintiff attorneys in the past as “fresh meat,” because the filings in every Malibu Media LLC case look exactly the same as the filings I have seen in thousands of Malibu cases over the years filed in federal courts in California, New York, Michigan, and across the US.

      I have always called Malibu Media LLC cases “a settlement extortion scheme.” For years (prior to Paul Beik taking over the Texas Malibu Media cases, Malibu Media LLC cases were filed against anonymous John Doe Defendants, and they were dismissed as John Does (in my opinion, because of the squeamishness of previous Texas-based Malibu Media LLC attorneys to name and serve defendants and move forward against them in litigation). Not so with Paul Beik of Beik Law Firm PLLC.

      Paul Beik has served Malibu Media LLC Texas defendants in the US District ,Court for the Southern District of Texas with regularity. In filing the lawsuit, he uses the same (identical) wording that other Malibu Media LLC cases use in other federal courts making an attorney who is not paying attention think he is inexperienced [that link (above) merely goes to a reference to “settlement factories,” described below]. Even if you look at Paul Beik’s case dockets, his Texas-based Malibu Media LLC cases appear to be nearly identical to every other Malibu Media LLC case filed across the US.

      However, unlike many other “copyright troll” plaintiff attorneys, Paul Beik is not afraid to name and serve a defendant.

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      Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on naming and serving a defendant (the 90-day rule).

      The reason this is relevant is because 90 days after a complaint is filed in a federal court, FRCP Rule 4(m) gives a plaintiff attorney (here, Paul Beik) 90 days to amend the complaint and “name and serve” a John Doe defendant.

      Beik could also dismiss the case before the 90 days have elapsed [which almost never happens], or he can ask the court for an extension of time to have that Texas defendant named and served [that happens].

      The point here is that Paul Beik is under a procedural deadline to name and serve a defendant. Thus, whatever so-called “anonymous” settlement he can pull from the Malibu Media LLC John Doe defendant before the 90 days have elapsed, his client wants him to take.

      Unfortunately for some John Doe Defendants, when they do not respond to his requests for settlement or they do not hire an attorney to represent them in this case, as a matter of procedure, instead of dismissing the case without prejudice and saying to the accused defendant “just kidding,” Paul Beik moves forward with litigation and has that Texas defendant named and served .

      This is relevant because in litigation, there will become a time where the question of “whether the named and served Texas defendant actually downloaded Malibu Media’s copyrighted titles” becomes relevant. This happens in a deposition, where the defendant is placed under oath in front of a court reporter and the plaintiff attorney takes his testimony. *THIS* is where Paul Beik succeeds in forcing a settlement from a named and served Texas defendant who did not previously settle the claims against him.

      NOTE: *THIS* (deposition) is also the moment where the named and served Texas John Doe Defendant is dismissed from liability [to avoid having his client pay the defendant’s attorney fees].

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      Paul Beik Malibu Media Texas settlement scheme
      Perlinator / Pixabay

      HOW PAUL BEIK HAS MALIBU MEDIA LLC DEFENDANTS SERVED.

      The complaint and request to disclose identity of subscriber.

      First, Beik files the complaint alleging copyright infringement of Malibu Media’s copyright adult film titles. He files the lawsuit against ONE anonymous “John Doe” defendant (who lives in the Texas state, so there is no motion to quash to file [the court has personal jurisdiction over the defendant]). Beik mentions to the court that he does not yet know the identity of the defendant, and he asks the court to provide him an order to command the Comcast ISP (or AT&T ISP) to disclose the identity of the alleged downloader of Malibu Media LLC’s copyrighted titles.

      Because courts are friendly to copyright holders, the Texas judges grant Paul Beik his request and order the ISPs to provide him the information that he needs.

      Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > > >

      The subpoena sent to the ISP ordering it to reveal the subscriber’s identity.

      Paul Beik then forwards a subpoena to the Comcast (or whichever) ISP, ordering the ISP to turn over the identity (and whatever else is approved by the court) of the account holder who was assigned the IP address at the time that the downloading of Malibu Media LLC’s adult titles took place.

      The ISP’s duty to protect their customer and steps they take.

      The ISPs are under a duty [an order, signed by the federal judge] to hand over this information to the plaintiff attorney (here, Paul Beik). To protect their customer, the ISP sends over [what I call] an ISP Subpoena Letter informing the Texas account holder that he has been implicated as a defendant in the Malibu Media LLC lawsuit.

      The ISP Subpoena Letter also informs the account subscriber that if they wish to stop them from handing over their information, they may file a motion to quash (they call it “an objection with the court”). A motion to quash, if successful, would prevent the ISP from handing over the account holder’s information to Beik Law Firm PLLC (the plaintiff attorney — Paul Beik’s office — NOT to the court).

      You can read more into motions to quash here (this isn’t the place to discuss this topic), but the jist of a motion to quash is that it tells the US District Court that it does not have “personal jurisdiction” over the defendant. This primarily occurs if the defendant lives outside of the state in which they were sued.

      Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > > >

      Paul Beik is dangerous to John Doe defendants because he has them named and served.

      Unlike many other Malibu Media LLC attorneys who are running a settlement extortion scheme (“settle whether you did it or not”), Paul Beik actually takes the additional step of having the defendant who did not settle the claims again him named and served.

      In other words, if that Texas-based John Doe Defendant does not settle the claims against him or her, Paul Beik will amend the complaint and will add the actual ISP account subscriber’s name and address to the complaint. This forces the now “named and served” defendant into litigation, where they have 21 days to file an answer with the court or face a default judgement against them.

      This is where Paul Beik takes the Malibu Media LLC cases (which for years, I considered nothing more than a “bluff”) one step further than many others — he actually has his Texas John Doe Defendants named and served, forcing them into litigation whether they like it or not.

      Now obviously the purpose of this article was to identify Paul Beik as a Malibu Media LLC attorney, and to note that he DOES name and serve defendants. “Check.” This is not to say that he will not settle a case after a defendant is named and served — he will still settle a case, as this is the ultimate reason he has named and served the defendant [a settlement is more valuable to Malibu Media LLC than a judgement of $150,000 which they will never collect]. However, I simply want to point out that Paul Beik does name and serve defendants.

      Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > > >

      A quick note about out-of-state settlement factory attorneys.

      Lastly, there are many out-of-state attorneys who are not licensed in Texas who are actively advertising and are trying to take as many Malibu Media LLC clients from across the US as they can. Among them are a few [what I call] “settlement factories” (settlement factories are attorneys who run a volume-based business; they try to scare every defendant into settling the claims against them, and in my opinion they cause far more problems for the defendant than they solve).

      There used to be only a small handful of attorneys who I considered settlement factories, but unfortunately, with the younger crowd graduating law school and joining the ranks, I am seeing more and more inexperienced lawyers throw up a shingle and a blog and act as if they are a legitimate law practice, when really they are just another “settlement factory.” I have even had confrontational experiences with these attorneys — many of whom did not understand copyright law at all, and one who even thought these cases were criminal. “Umm, no.”

      In short, if you are sued by Paul Beik, I strongly recommend that you hire a Texas-licensed attorney to handle your case. I don’t care if you hire my Cashman Law Firm PLLC (often I don’t even take clients, and here is why) or if you hire another Texas attorney who is competent to work in these cases (if I cannot represent you, I will happily refer you to an attorney in Texas who can assist you).

      While it is impossible to know which Texas-based Malibu Media LLC John Doe Defendants will be named and served, based on my knowledge of Paul Beik and his timing, I will do my best to list cases which at the moment are at risk of being named and served. TBA.

      Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > > >


      [CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: If you have a question for an attorney about the Texas Malibu Media LLC cases and options on how to proceed (even specifically for your case), 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 Malibu Media LLC case, 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.

        Exposing Fear Based Copyright Settlement Factories.

        Attorneys should not be using fear to solicit clients.

        FEAR should never be a consideration when considering a copyright attorney to defend you against a Strike 3 Holdings, LLC (or, Malibu Media, LLC or any other copyright troll) lawsuit.

        I have written many articles describing the activities of copyright trolls AND so-called defense attorneys who claim that they represent defendants. I and others have called those attorneys that file hundreds of mass copyright infringement lawsuits “copyright trolls,” and I call attorneys who pretend to represent defendants (but who really run volume-based settlement businesses) “settlement factories.”

        CREDIBILITY

        For credibility, I and my staff at the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC manage our docket of clients very carefully. As you may have experienced yourself, in the eight years we have been representing copyright infringement John Does accused of copyright infringement, there have been many times where we simply do not take new clients. Each client takes a limited number of resources, and we do not run a volume-based business. [See here for more details.]

        Thus, I have nothing wrong with answering your questions and directing you to an attorney who is competent to take your case. We have never taken a referral fee from an attorney, nor do we ever plan to. I hope you can appreciate this, even if after speaking to me I was not going to be your attorney.

        Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > > >

        EFF.org’s Subpoena Defense List:

        Only Kudos for EFF:

        I have only good things to say about EFF, and I support them 100% on so many of their efforts. I am about to criticize their Subpoena Defense List, but this does not reflect the respect, admiration and support I have always had for them.

        The Good:

        One resource that copyright infringement defendants often find is the EFF Subpoena Defense list. On this EFF.org list, there are possibly now hundreds of attorneys who can represent you in your John Doe-based copyright infringement lawsuit — many of them good attorneys who I have known for many years.

        NOTE #1: It is interesting exercise to see who-is-who (which attorneys have been around for a while, and which are the newer attorneys who act as “copycats,” often merely settling cases), and you can do so by clicking on Archive.org’s “Way Back Machine” here:

        NOTE #2: Just because an attorney is new does not mean that he or she is unable to take your case. I am merely demonstrating how much this list has grown since 2010.

        The Bad:

        EFF does not appear to filter this list, or at least they do not filter out attorneys who harm potential clients with misinformation. 

        If an attorney states that they will represent clients in a certain state, they will list them without vetting or verification. 

        Case in point — some attorneys list themselves as taking clients in multiple states.  Any attorney can represent a defendant in any federal court in any state, as long as that federal court allows an out-of-state attorney to “pro hac” into that federal court (most do).  It is deceptive for an attorney to indicate they are licensed in a particular state in which they are not licensed to practice law.

        The EFF Subpoena Defense list size has also grown exponentially.  In 2010, this list contained a list attorneys who agreed to proactively defend clients in these cases (of those listed, 20 of us were active in this space); back then, the purpose of the EFF list was to hash out the law of copyright infringement as it applied to bittorrent-based copyright infringement lawsuits.

        Now, the list contains HUNDREDS of attorneys who are trying to capitalize on the hundreds of defendants who are sued in the federal courts each month, without regard as to who is a credible attorney and who is a settlement factory.

        The Ugly:

        The EFF Subpoena Defense List has become populated with attorneys 1) who are not familiar with the case law we have developed over the years, 2) who do not care whether a defendant SHOULD pay a settlement or not, and 3) who often MISREPRESENT the law to potential clients who call them desperate for help.

        These settlement factory attorneys threaten accused defendants… even with JAIL time for a CIVIL lawsuit, when any attorney should know that copyright infringement lawsuits are CIVIL lawsuits — at their worst, they ask a defendant to pay money damages or they stop a defendant from committing a certain act — they do not accuse a defendant of committing a crime.

        Unfortunately, over the years, I have found that there are a number of “settlement factories” on this list, one more was exposed to me this morning.

        I do not plan on making this article yet one more article identifying copyright settlement factories and their tactics, nor do I expose the names of other attorneys who have some brilliant and smart sales tactics to lure you in.  As you see — I do not post on this website often, nor do I maintain a hype-based, fear-based website on who is suing who in what state.

        Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > > >

        Here is my point.

        When you speak to a defense attorney about your copyright infringement lawsuit, 1) that attorney should inform you of the nature of the lawsuit, 2) they should inform you of the claims against you, and 3) they should provide you all of your options on how to defend yourself (even those options which do not profit that attorney).

        If that attorney cannot assist you, he or she should not take you as a client (only to surprise you later telling you that you must settle, or else).  Rather, he should refer you to an attorney who can assist you.

        And never — NEVER — should that attorney misstate the law or threaten a client with fear-based tactics or veiled threats that a certain plaintiff attorney will do something that they would not ordinarily do.

        I’ll stop here. In short, look up the attorney you are considering to retain as your attorney to represent you in your lawsuit.

        Helpful Hints:

        Do not be fooled with crafty sales tactics or web site blog articles written as soon as a lawsuit is filed.

        Ask yourself when viewing an attorney’s website — is he trying to ensnare me to become his client? Did he have to pay per click for me to click on his website (we too have done AdWords campaigns over the years, but only rarely). 

        Usually, a settlement factory will always have an extensive Google AdWords campaign going, or they will position their website [either by explicit payment, by posting keyword-based useless content, or by posting alternative media, e.g., animations and videos to separate their multimedia ads from the other attorneys who are writing helpful content on the website] so that they show up at the top of every search engine ranking for every keyword).

        A note on law firms without blogs:

        Lastly, just because an attorney does not have an extensive blog [like we do] does not mean that they are incompetent about your case. There are a number of credible attorneys who I trust, and they do not have blogs.

        If I cannot assist you or represent you myself, I will happily refer you to an attorney, even if he or she only has a one-page website.  This attorney might be better than all of those copyright settlement factories who post with tags and keywords every time a lawsuit is filed in a particular state.

        Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > > >

        Your consultation with an attorney should be a pleasant experience.

        I guess it is important to mention that the conversation with your defense attorney should be a pleasant conversation.

        You should feel better about yourself and your case when you hang up the phone, and when you do, you should feel as if you were educated about your case and your options.

        If an attorney has scared you, or has threatened you by what the plaintiff attorney will do or could do, or if the attorney has told you that your only option is to settle the claims against you (especially if you did not do the download), he is likely not the attorney for you.

        Even the worst case scenario in these cases is a civil judgement against you, which are money damages. Nobody will ever take away your freedom, and nobody will ever put you in jail for downloading materials which are the subject of these copyright infringement “John Doe” subpoena-based lawsuits.


        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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