4,437 FAR CRY LAWSUIT DEFENDANTS DISMISSED.

I had a number of clients who were sued by the DGW attorneys for the Far Cry lawsuit. As of today, they are no longer defendants.

Today is a victory that belongs to you, the internet community. You fought against those who used the legal system as a tool to solicit and elicit settlement payments from you without providing evidence to support their claims against you. Today you won.

I anticipate that other cases will have similar results, and that the plaintiff attorneys will regroup and will strategize a new and cost-effective means of moving forward against you. Perhaps they will go after each one of you individually in your own courts. This would be costly for them, and would require that they reach into jurisdictions in which they are not admitted to practice law. Perhaps they will find ways to group future lawsuits into smaller numbers or classes and proceed that way.

However they move forward, we will be there for you.

Warm regards,
Rob Cashman
Cashman Law Firm, PLLC

20th Century Fox v. small screenwriter. Suing for copyright infringement appears to be cheaper than advertising.

Being an attorney who grew up in NY and who has roots in The Big Apple, the Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation v. Patricia McIlvaine case filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Case 2:10-cv-05358-LDW-AKT) is one which I can share a modest opinion.

The facts of the case are pretty simple, and details can be found on a number of sites, including the Moviefone blog, TorrentFreak, or a number of other news sites all parroting the same “talking points.”  In short, the defendant posted a number of movie scripts onto a web site that she created (for the benefit of other screenwriters), likely not realizing that her actions would constitute and enforceable act violating federal copyright laws.

Without 20th Century Fox telling McIlvaine to take down her infringing materials or serving her with some sort of cease and desist letter (they actually have no requirement to do this, although it is a polite thing to do which likely would have inspired compliance), they instead decided to gain some publicity by suing McIlvaine for $12 Million in copyright violations.

Now since hearing about this case from Brian Baker, a commercial real estate attorney in Dallas, TX [who consequently also blogs via wordpress — his blog is http://leaselaw.wordpress.com] and providing me a copy of the initial complaint, I read it carefully and went onto the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York’s PACER site to download a copy of other documents filed in the case.  However, contrary to what you hear in the fire of the news stories, things in this case appear to be going slowly, and filings appear to still be only in the initial stages — the NY attorneys for 20th Century Fox are still submitting documents proving that they own the copyrights for the 100+ movies they are accusing McIlvaine of infringing — and to me it appears as if the case is more for show rather than to punish McIlvaine violating their copyrights.

You might ask, “isn’t $15 million punishment enough?” to which I opine that I don’t think she’ll ever get the full $15 million judgment.  If anything, I think she’ll find some attorney to fight the case on her behalf, and the attorney will establish that she didn’t know what she was doing was copyright infringement, and that even if she did, 20th Century Fox (“Fox”) was not damaged by her actions.  I wouldn’t be surprised if she got off for even a few hundred dollars and a slap on the wrist, however you would NEVER hear about it on the news.  That is why it is important to read the case dockets and the pleadings yourselves because they are the most telling of what actually happened in the case without the bias that too frequently skews the actual results of cases such as these.

It’s interesting to note that this was not the first time the script for Deadpool was leaked onto the internet, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Fox’s “shoot, then ask” approach was because they worked so hard to have the first leak contained and removed from the web, and here she goes re-posting it again.  I am sure that made Fox’s legal team quite annoyed, enough so that they [poorly and quickly, in my opinion] draft a complaint and send a few goons to her house to scare her and make her cry.  It’s also interesting to note that McIlvaine is not the source of the leak; Fox does not yet know who these people are, but they have identified them as Defendant Does 1-10 who will be named as discovery reveals who they are.

[As a side note, to all you readers who get all huffy when a plaintiff sues Defendant Does 1 – 10 (or 100, or 5000), this is a perfect example of showing how the practice of naming Does is a perfectly legal and valid practice.  They simply don’t know who they are yet.  Similarly, I have seen many postings about how people recoil at the fact that an attorney (our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC) has uploaded and shared public and legal information through the use of a torrent on a pirate web site.  The use of peer-to-peer was meant for such a purpose, and just as Linux software providers legally share their operating system installation files via torrent (e.g., Ubuntu, etc.), so too can we.]

In short, after reading the complaint, I shrugged my shoulders and thought to myself that there is nothing really so exciting here.  20th Century Fox is trying to make an example of defendant McIlvaine, a woman who “sells flowers to make ends meet” and spends her free time “caring for an elderly relative suffering from dementia, and caring for an infant.”  This is someone who cannot even afford an attorney.

My opinion is that even if they win the full $15 million they are claiming she should pay, do they really think they will ever see a penny from her?  As far as I’m concerned — and I do not know her true financial situation, but I can only posit based on what has been written — she appears to be JUDGMENT PROOF.  She has nothing to lose.  [Even if she was not judgment proof, the bankruptcy laws of New York are such that it would merely require a filing to make such a judgement go away in heartbeat via a Chapter 7 bankruptcy (or less likely, via a Chapter 13), where 20th Century Fox as the supposed judgement holder would get $ZERO.]

All this being said, nobody wants such a lawsuit on their shoulders.  This must be a scary and unnerving proposition for her to figure out how to deal with.  She will likely need to hire an attorney, perhaps one to take the case pro bono, and she will need to defend her case.

If she is smart, she will use this lawsuit to gain notoriety within the Writers Guild of America and other networks of screenwriters so that she can further her career goals and dreams and make them a reality.  However, I doubt she will be writing for 20th Century Fox anytime soon.

The irony of sharing pleadings of current copyright infringement cases… by torrent.

[7/22/2011 UPDATE: As services such as PACER, RECAP The Law, and RFC Express have become widely available, tracking cases and viewing filings online have become available for everyone to do.  Thus, I am no longer uploading case documents to the bittorrent networks.]

It has been disturbing to me that a number of websites have been misreporting the success rates of motions to quash in copyright violation cases. I’ve seen more than a few make references to “David versus Goliath” when it comes to the massive copyright enforcement law firms trying to make examples of one or more attorneys who assist their clients in filing motions to quash subpoenas served on their internet service providers. These web sites talk about the successes achieved in “clogging” the court system with filings, with the intent that the court will be unable to function — and they put all the blame on the plaintiff lawfirms who have been filing complaints naming hundreds and often thousands of defendants at a time.

I decided to correct the record and share my understanding how MOTIONS TO QUASH have not been working. After receiving around fifty pieces of hate mail being called all sorts of names, one level-headed reader asked if I would be willing to “prove it” by showing that people have not been achieving success with their motion filings.

When I suggested sharing with them the very case dockets for the Hurt Locker lawsuit and the Far Cry lawsuit, one very brilliant 2600 user suggested that I upload a torrent with the case dockets and the individual filings. Since there is nothing illegal about making proper use of a torrent, and since the filings I’d be putting together are public documents and are already available online on various web sites, I thought, “why not?”

So, I put together and seeded a torrent containing most of the 143 pleadings of the Far Cry lawsuit and almost all of the pleadings in the Hurt Locker lawsuit (surprisingly there were far fewer of them), and I published them on bittorrent sites such as KickAssTorrents.com, BTJunkie.com, Monova.com, and MiniNova.com (now one of the “legitimate” sources of bittorrent downloads). I even made mention of which pleadings included the motions for sanctions against attorney Graham Syfert, a Jacksonville attorney who sold self-help forms and I included the new class action lawsuit in Massachusetts where the copyright enforcement plaintiff and the originator of so many thousands of internet users evening woes is named as a defendant in a very awe inspiring lawsuit that caused a jaw-dropping effect when I read their complaint.

All this can be found in the following torrent links:
http://btjunkie.org/torrent/Cashman-Law-Firm-Hurt-Locker-Far-Cry-Copyright-Infringement-Lawsuit-Dockets-as-of-11-29-2010/4432fb4442c1b62918eec591b31594220f8766ce84f1

and

http://www.kickasstorrents.com/cashman-law-firm-hurt-locker-far-cry-copyright-infringement-lawsuit-dockets-as-of-11-29-2010-t4758231.html

There is something ironic about a “legal” torrent which is indeed legal both in its contents and in its legality. I cannot help but to smile thinking about how a torrent listing pleadings from well-known copyright infringement lawsuits is being seeded over the internet by torrent, and it is listed on sites known for containing illegal copyright-infringing torrents. There is justice in the world.

In the end, personal jurisdiction will rule the day with the torrent crowd.

Mark your calendars, December 6th is the date when the fate of many accused internet downloaders can change for the better or for the worse.

So far, over sixteen thousand internet users have received letters from their internet service providers accusing them of illegally using the torrent peer-to-peer (p2p) / bittorrent protocol to download copyrighted movies such as the Hurt Locker, Far Cry, and a number of others. None of them have been named in the lawsuit so far. That will all change on December 6th, 2010, which is the deadline the United States District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer set in the Far Cry case for the DGW plaintiff attorneys to either name the defendants over whom they believe the court has jurisdiction, or dismiss. This is good for a number of my clients who are unnamed defendants in this case.

With all the defenses against copyright infringement, e.g., “it wasn’t me,” “my roommate used my internet connection,” “my wireless connection was unsecured,” “I don’t know how to download via torrent,” etc., it is funny that in the end, the issue of who wins is PERSONAL JURISDICTION; law school civil procedure 101. This should be a lesson to all you 1L law students out there snoring away in your “CivPro” class — the topics you are learning can be applied to something cool as lawsuits against those who illegally download movies over the internet.

“Torrent Law” – Why Motions to Quash have not been successful.

I have been closely monitoring the procedural side of a number of these copyright violation cases where thousands of internet users have been accused of illegally downloading various movies using the bittorrent protocol.

A number of these internet users have hired the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC to represent them through the “negotiation and settlement phase” of the lawsuit. I put this phase in quotes because in truth what has been happening is that the plaintiff attorneys and the underlying media companies have performed what I consider a “slight of hand” with the legal system by naming each of these defendants in the lawsuit by their IP address or by being one of 1-5000 John Does. For the most part, as of today the plaintiffs have not named any defendants in these cases. Instead, they have issued subpoenas to the internet service providers (the ISPs) forcing them to hand over their subscribers’ information. The plaintiffs claim this is so they can do “discovery.”

What is actually happening is that outside of the legal system, regardless of whether it is the Hurt Locker lawsuit, the Far Cry lawsuit, or any of the other smaller lawsuits, the attorneys have been harassing the subscribers and taunting them using scare tactics to persuade them to pay thousands of dollars each to make them go away. In my opinion, this is an abuse of the legal process, and I would like to see an attorney general order this activity stopped. Nevertheless, this is what is happening.

On the motion to quash front, a number of people have asked me why I have not been advising a “march into court” approach. So far, attorneys and individuals filing motions to quash have not been successful. Just two days ago, the attorneys in the Voltage Pictures, LLC v. Does 1-5,000 filed a motion asking the court to sanction an attorney who created forms which internet users purchased and filed with the court.

While I just spent close to an hour e-mailing the attorney against whom sanctions were requested and suggesting ways as to how to properly defend himself against their accusations, the fact that the law firm went after the defense attorney trying to help people out of this situation is notable, but it is not useful to you, the reader.

What is telling is that in their motion (Case 1:10-cv-00873-RMU, Document 19, filed 11/22/2010, pages 4-6), the plaintiffs state that motions to quash, motions to dismiss, and motions for protective orders ARE COMPLETELY INAPPLICABLE BECAUSE DEFENDANTS ARE NOT YET NAMED OR SUED AS DEFENDANTS IN THE LAWSUIT. The plaintiffs continue (on page 5) and say, “The subpoenas are issued to the ISPs, and the Doe Defendants do not have to do anything in responding to the subpoenas [because they have not yet been named in the lawsuit].” (Emphasis added.)

I must point out that I disagree with the plaintiffs here because in my understanding, being named in a lawsuit (regardless of whether the defendant is named as an IP address or as a Doe Defendant) causes undue harm to the defendant even prior to being named as a defendant. The reason I say this is that each Doe Defendant is sent a threatening letter from their ISPs accusing them of illegal activity. Each Doe is put on notice that he or she has been named in a lawsuit and thus anticipates being sued. Each Doe Defendant is advised to retain an attorney and is told that he or she can be criminally and/or civilly liable for violation of the federal copyright laws. Each Doe Defendant is then ACTIVELY solicited and threatened by the attorney plaintiffs to “pay up or face a real lawsuit” where a judgment can cost a family their home, all their savings, their freedom, and possibly force them into bankruptcy. In my opinion, to say that a plaintiff at this point has no right to file such a motion, and that such a motion is not yet applicable until the defendant is actually named in the lawsuit is simply irresponsible lawyering.

But so far, I have not seen the motions to quash be an effective tool against the media companies looking to enforce their copyrights. I have not seen the judges letting defendants off the hook for simply sending in letters and/or form responses asserting what in my opinion are proper jurisdictional arguments.

Being accused of file sharing is NO LAUGHING MATTER.

To my readers:

A few days ago, Wall Street Journal reported that a Minneapolis federal court found Jammie Thomas-Rasset guilty of violating copyright law.  Jammie is a single mother.  The court ordered that she pay $1.5 million for sharing 24 songs over the internet.  The plaintiff was the Recording Industry Association of America (“RIAA”).

I’m posting this piece of information to impress upon those contacting our law firm — the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC — that contrary to what you’ll read on the forums, the threat of being sued is real.  This is just one example of a case where the accused internet user likely read about low settlement amounts, and when the RIAA offered her a $25,000 settlement [where the proceeds of that settlement would go to a music-related charity fund], she rejected that offer because she didn’t believe such a lawsuit could happen to her.

I want to point out that judgement is for sharing a number of SONGS.  Our potential clients are looking to defend against downloading MOVIES.  Think for a moment about the seriousness of this.  Lucas Entertainment, Far Cry, and the Hurt Locker subpoena requests are all claiming the same violation of the same copyright law that was enforced against Jammie Thomas-Rasset just last week.

When someone calls me and balks at the prospect of paying a few thousand dollars to settle a MOVIE copyright violation, I scratch my head and wonder if they realize what they are up against.

With the representation the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC provides our clients, before we suggest that our client consider paying anything, we insist that the media company demonstrate that they have evidence linking our clients to the accused infringing download.

It also goes without saying that simply informing the media companies that their accused potential defendant is represented by an attorney, the media company is put on notice to only contact the attorney and not the client.  By doing this, they are forced to adhere to the state and federal debt collection statutes, and the consumer statutes protecting the accused from any deceptive statements that might be given to an unrepresented accused internet user.  Lastly, when writing the settlement, we make sure the release that accompanies the settlement contains language that prevents the media company from using the settlement as an admission of guilt and turning around and suing the internet downloader for the SAME DOWNLOAD they just paid to settle.  It sounds unthinkable, but remember, it is the internet service provider (the ISP) who is served with a subpoena request demanding that they turn over their subscribers’ records.  Once the media companies have this information, they immediately contact the to-be defendants and solicit a settlement.  Remember, they do this without naming the defendant in the lawsuit.  The settlement does not stop the company from coming after the defendant again in a formal lawsuit (using the settlement agreement as an admission of illegal activity).

In short, as twisted as this might sound, this is the reality of what is going on.  Be careful out there.  Hire an attorney and properly defend yourself.  Play their negotiation game, and hope that they either drop the charges or offer an amicable settlement.  When they do, be reasonable.  Many would-be clients are kicking themselves for not spending $12 at the theater, or paying a Netflix membership when they had the chance.  Now they must deal with this, and it is unfortunate.

However, ALWAYS REMEMBER that the goal is to avoid the lawsuit being filed against you.  Because if a lawsuit is filed in your jurisdiction accusing a copyright violation, it is no laughing matter.

Warm regards,
Rob Cashman

Hurt Locker Prosecution Team Suing Internet Downloaders… Again.

…I’ve been hearing through the grapevine that the Hurt Locker copyright prosecution team has begun their next wave of lawsuits.  Internet users will be shortly receiving a subpoena from their attorneys accusing them of downloading this movie.

Nothing to do yet, at this point, the prosecution only wants your information so that they can contact you to elicit a settlement to deprive you of your hard-earned cash without a trial.  Again remember — they haven’t named you in their lawsuit, nor is the settlement they are proposing a settlement to a lawsuit they have filed against you.  They are trying to circumvent that step in the legal process and skip to where you pay them to go away.  Has anyone heard another term for this sort of activity?  It starts with an e.

Through the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC, we are telling these thugs to back off and to follow the law.  We are also sending letters to various political operatives attempting to get them to change the law with regard to the way it is being applied (or misused) to charge users of committing crimes without filing suit in a court of law.  There is no such thing as an extrajudicial hearing, and the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” has not changed.

Regardless of whether you obtain an attorney to defend your copyright infringement case (and there are MANY reasons for doing so), remember that the burden of proof is on them to prove their case before you bring one iota of evidence.  At this point, some unrepresented parties are answering their questions and giving them forensic data to their computer and their hard drives to prove they are not guilty of that particular crime.  Forensic computer experts have caught the scent of this game as well and have started up’ing their prices.

Again, at this point, they have only contacted your ISP asking for your  information.  While it is to your benefit to hire an attorney so that you are not “low hanging fruit,” so to speak, remember that there is nothing to defend against and provide evidence for because YOU HAVE NOT BEEN NAMED AS A DEFENDANT AND THUS YOU HAVE NOT YET BEEN SUED.

Lucas Entertainment has begun to elicit settlements for the illegal download of their movie.

Just as soon as I hit the “submit” button on the last post, I received an e-mail from a potential client that Lucas Entertainment, Inc. has begun contacting people about settlement negotiations for their accusation that the internet subscriber has violated copyright laws by downloading copyright protected media.  To avoid cutting-and-pasting this e-mail reply to each of my clients and/or potential clients, I am posting it here for your review.

Dear XXX,

It is good to hear back from you, although I wish it were under better circumstances.  If you read my blog entry entitled, “Torrent Downloaders Accused of Downloading Illegal Movie Files Now Wonder, ‘What Happens Now That the Subpoena Date Has Passed?'”, you’ll get an idea of what has been going on these past few weeks, and why you have been contacted so quickly with an offer to settle.

My goal in our initial correspondences was to protect you against it ever coming to where you are now.  Feel secure, however, in that you are a student with no income, and even if they persisted, for the time being you are what people in the industry call “judgment proof.”  You have nothing they can take from you (except perhaps your freedom and tarnishing your criminal record if they can prove that you violated a criminal statute, but at this stage, I understand that they are likely only looking for money).

Without meaning to scare you, the prospect of them going after you legally is an expensive proposition for them.  They will need to pay the court fee to file suit; they will have to have your served in a court in which they have jurisdiction over you; and they will need to prove their case.  I can certainly defend you in such a case, but it will be for far more than the $1,500 steep discount I have been offering people to defend them up through the negotiation phase.

You have a few choices here.  First, you can continue representing yourself without an attorney as you have been doing so far.  You can negotiate a lower settlement rate (by the way, ask yourself what exactly you are settling if they have not yet named you in their lawsuit nor have they filed suit against you in your jurisdiction), or you can pay their demand.  If you do, make sure you receive a release that they will not pursue you any further in any capacity (civil, criminal) for this movie or for any other movie you download.

Second, you can play the “Take a hike, I’m judgment proof” card and hope they don’t decide to come after your civilly or criminally.

Last, but not least, you can hire me to represent you in this negotiation.  You can decide whether you would want me to negotiate on your behalf for an amicable settlement or to come at them with guns blazing, so to speak.  I would immediately send them a letter indicating that you are now represented by an attorney and that they should cease all attempts to contact you regarding this matter.  Instead, all communications would come through me.  Depending on how you would like me to proceed (amicable settlement or guns blazing), if you decide to settle, I would participate in the negotiations to get the best terms for you and I would review the settlement terms to make sure you are shielded against future actions for this same download activity.  The last thing you want is a criminal lawsuit after you have just spent a few thousand dollars settling with them.  If you wanted me to go the guns blazing defense route, I would make them prove their case and would find every defense applicable to you to make it as difficult as possible to validate their claim against you.

Either way, if you and I spoke, I would tell you that my fee is $1,500 as it is for everyone else who comes my way.  I am able to offer this steep discount off of my regular rate and offer flat rate billing because there have been so many of you who have contacted me about the same issue and thus the work I do for one client is the same for everyone else.

If you decide to take me on as your attorney, I would need you to e-mail me your full name, address, and phone number.  I will write up a fee agreement and will e-mail it to you.  I’d like to have you sign the fee agreement and get it back to me ASAP with a cashier’s check, bank check, or money order (perhaps you can send it by FedEx if you’d like), as you do not have much time left given your 9/18 deadline.  Normally a regular check is fine, but I cannot take you on as a client only to have your check bounce a week or so later given the time restraints; nothing personal, of course.

Keep in mind that until you have done this, I am not your attorney and as such, nothing I have said above is to be taken as legal advice.  If you decide not to go with me, I advise you to seek independent counsel on anything I have said above; moving forward on your own should be done with caution and at your own risk.  I cannot protect you if I am not your attorney.

I’m sure this e-mail is exactly what you wanted to hear at 11:50pm at the beginning of your school semester.  I would suggest getting your parents involved if you are unable to afford my fee or the settlement agreement.

Warm regards,
Robert Z. Cashman

“What Happens Now That the ISP Subpoena Date Has Passed?” – an update for those accused of downloading illegal movies, music, or software.

One of the interesting niche areas of law that the Cashman Law Firm practices is Cyberlaw, where we protect internet users against companies who accuse them of copyright infringement based on illegally downloaded movies, music, and software.

A few weeks ago, a number of lawsuits have been filed where the plaintiffs (e.g., Lucas Entertainment, Inc.) have filed subpoena requests against a few hundred or in some cases a few thousand potential defendants, amicably called “John Doe #XXX.” Their intent was to have the internet service provider (ISP) turn over their subscribers’ information so that they can contact them directly to elicit a multi-thousand-dollar settlement for the illegal file(s) that were downloaded based on the internet user’s account or IP address.

Many of these subpoena deadlines have since passed, and now internet users who have been caught downloading are asking me what happens now.

Being that a majority of ISPs have clauses since the September, 11th 2001 World Trade Center attacks and the Patriot Act that followed which allow the ISPs to turn over subscriber information to third parties, regardless of the subscriber’s attempts to suppress the subpoena with what is called a motion to quash, it is likely that many ISPs have nevertheless turned over user information to these companies.

The next step is for the movie and music companies to do an analysis of which downloaders are easy targets, e.g., “low hanging fruits,” and which will be more difficult to approach. Because of the high cost in attorney fees in order to track down and contact the accused downloaders, they will likely classify users into groups — those that are unrepresented by an attorney, those that may have a defense (e.g., the download was from a cybercafe or some IP address where they will have difficulty proving that it was that user at that keyboard at that IP address linked to the download of that movie (or music file or piece of software), and last, those that will be difficult to approach [likely because they are represented by an attorney].

Once they are finished with the analysis, the phone calls, letters, and threats will start. They will first call those they believe will not defend themselves and they will collect the maximum settlement amount. Those that pose some threat to them (e.g., they have a defense), they will likely be offered a lower settlement amount (which the attorneys will claim will be significantly cheaper to accept and pay rather than defend themselves in a lawsuit, even if they are found not guilty). Last, but not least, those that are represented by an attorney will likely be contacted last, as the competent cyberlaw attorney will be aware of the law and defenses which would hinder them from collecting a settlement from their clients. Additionally, the attorney will force them to adhere to the law and he will know what acts and statements would be considered deceptive, threatening, or in violation of consumer protection laws. Because the other side knows that they can be quickly and effectively sued by the attorney if they err in attempting to collect a settlement from a potential defendant (and not an actual defendant, because in most cases they will try to extract a settlement without even filing a lawsuit).

This appears to be the state of affairs as they are right now with a number of the copyright infringement cases that are currently in progress. Obviously they could start contacting potential defendants to elicit a settlement as soon as tomorrow, or they could gather evidence and wait until the potential defendant has lost any records of a defense they would have asserted up to the statute of limitations period (this would likely be defendable based on a laches or similar defense). Similarly, they may go after each defendant WITHOUT doing an analysis separating out those that would be difficult to collect from from those who would be easy to collect from. We cannot know what goes on behind closed doors, but this would be bad business for them, so an accused internet user must assume that they will measure his ability to defend himself, and he must assume they will take into consideration whether there is a lawyer defending him or whether he is unprotected.


Introduction to the Torrent Lawyer Blawg

Welcome to the Torrent Lawyer – Federal Criminal Defense Blawg.

The contents of this blog will be posted on behalf of Cashman Federal Criminal Defense, which is a computer crimes defense branch of the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC.

FEDERAL CYBERCRIMES is fourth area of practice which the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC does not actively advertise.  This area of law is broadly defined as federal criminal law and federal civil practice, and we specifically deal with internet and computer crimes on both the state and federal levels. At the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC we take part in protecting your privacy rights through political discussions regarding net neutrality, and we protect the internet user against internet service providers (ISPs) and companies who assert that the user was involved in illegal movie-sharing, seeding, or illegal downloading of songs, programs, or movies.

The reason we do this is two-fold. Firstly, we are staunch believers in privacy, and we will take whatever steps are necessary to protect the rights of internet users. Secondly, we believe that there is a technology gap between the laws and how they relate to today’s internet user. It troubles us that the application of the laws as they are effected today often leads to multiple individuals being charged with one or more federal and state computer crimes they often did not commit. These companies approach individuals threatening prosecution, civil fines and penalties in a law suit, and even threaten jail time with the hope of eliciting thousands of dollars in settlement fees from each individual regardless of whether they are guilty of the crimes they are accused of committing. Without attorney assistance, these accused individuals often pay thousands in settlement fees in fear that they would have to spend just as much money if a lawsuit were filed. This is simply unacceptable. People should not have to pay someone a ransom for protection from a lawsuit.

Technology has advanced to the point where the correct application of justice is possible; we would like to push the law in the direction of properly charging users with crimes they are sure to have committed rather than accusing whole scores of users in a pool (or for alleged participation in one or more bittorrent swarms) without knowing who is guilty and who is not.

In the coming weeks and months, we will be tracking the law as it relates to protecting internet users against computer crime accusations and civil lawsuits.  We will also post interesting articles clarifying the law so that the average user will understand how and why their defense is properly based upon hiring an attorney who is conversant with the technology and who understands federal court procedures.

Motions to Quash ISP Subpoena Letters, Malibu Media Lawsuits, Rightscorp DMCA Settlement Notices, and Helping John Does.