These kind of c-rated
b-rated film lawsuits annoy me. Take our new copyright troll production company, Tomcat Films, LLC and their attorney Martin Sipple of Ausley & McMullen (you can read about his medical malpractice and generic intellectual property cases here). I would consider calling Martin Sipple a copyright troll, but no — he has only filed one case, and he seems to be a copycat lawyer who used a copyright lawsuit template to file his lawsuit. Way to go for someone who graduated top of his class.
In the Tomcat Films, LLC v. Does 1-XXX (Case No. 4:12-cv-00261) case in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Tomcat has sued hundreds of John Doe Defendants (they forgot to list who) in the typical copyright troll fashion in order to recoup the wasted funds in their “Aliens vs. Avatars” 2011 failed film. I don’t even recall seeing this in theaters, but according to Aliens vs. Avatars, a new copyright troll film.” target=”_blank”>IMDb, it achieved a “we wasted everyone’s time and money making this” 1.5 out of 10 stars from 904 users. And, if anyone wants to pay $2.99, they can rent it from Amazon.com for 7 days. After reading the description of the film, “Six college friends find themselves caught up in a cat and mouse hunt with a race of creatures…” I decided to pass.
Another reason I might hesitate to call them copyright trolls is because in the complaint, while Tomcat Films alleges copyright infringement among the usual other elements in their complaint, they seem to want to stop the ongoing infringement of their film (something we don’t see in other lawsuits). I can respect that. What I cannot respect is the “let’s sue hundreds of Does and extort thousands of dollars from each one” approach. This is a reputable firm with reputable clients — in my opinion they have no business filing these kinds of low-life copyright troll cases.
Now as far as Tomcat Films’ other movies (see them here), I would consider thinking twice before downloading them because this company has obviously found the business model of “releasing low budget films and suing for loads of cash” quite appealing. Quite frankly, with movie titles such as “Robin Hood: Ghosts of Sherwood,” “Captain Battle” (think Captain America), “Rise of the Black Bat” (think Batman), “Thunderstorm of Thor,” and “Jurassic Shark,” and “Street Fighter,” I am surprised that a company like this is not entangled in a whole SLEW of copyright infringement lawsuits themselves. I would guess “FAIR USE” and “PARODY” are words that are posted on every wall of their office.
UPDATE: The film is now called “Alien vs. Alien” on their website, and all mention of “Avatar” has been removed from their trailer (although it is still up on Amazon.com). Apparently 20th Century Fox’s lawyers didn’t like the use of their Avatar character in Tomcat’s movies.