Cook Productions now ‘dipping toes’ into federal courts.

Rights Enforcement | RIGHTSENFORCEMENT.com screenshot with Mr. Church (Cook Productions) outlined.

Cook Productions (“Mr. Church”) Movie Lawsuits are filed across the US.

How many cases have been filed in each federal court?

At the time of writing this article (Feb. 2017), Cook Productions, LLC has sued John Doe Defendants in following US District Courts*:

Arizona District Court (2)
Colorado District Court (1)
Hawaii District Court (4)
Illinois Northern District Court (14)
Indiana Northern & Southern District Courts (1, 1)
Kentucky Western District Court (1)
Maryland District Court (1)
Nevada District Court (1)
North Carolina Eastern & Middle District Courts (1, 5)
Ohio Northen & Southern District Courts (1, 1)
Oregon District Courts (3)
Pennsylvania Eastern District Court (1)
Washington Western District Court (3)

*I have included the number of filings so that you can see in which states these plaintiffs are focusing their efforts.

All About the Mr. Church Movie Lawsuit

Cook Productions, LLC is the legal entity suing Comcast ISP subscribers for the download of the “Mr. Church” movie with Eddie Murphy and Britt Robertson.  The movie itself looked like a feel good drama, although the movie itself got dismal ratings (which is probably why someone agreed to start suing downloaders of this movie to make up for their shortfall.)

  • COS (Consequence of Sound) rated the movie as a D-, referring to it as “unusually bad melodrama…. about as enjoyable as a plague of locusts.”
  • Indiewire rated it as a C-, claiming that the movie “flails for the heartstrings, but instead of reaching them, it only tugs at that muscle that makes you roll your eyes at its old-fashioned, melodramatic attempts at emotion.”

In sum, this is yet one more movie that failed at the box office, which made it a target for some company to snatch it up in some licensing deal, and then turn on its fans by suing each one in the federal courts.  Even the number of downloaders interested in pirating this film is laughably small.

What do I do if I receive a subpoena from my Internet Provider?

For someone who received a subpoena claiming that they should file a motion to quash to stop their ISP from disclosing their contact information, speak to an attorney because most likely, you live in the state in which you were sued, and the court has jurisdiction over you.  

I’d be happy to explain this further if you would like, because the last time I taught anyone about motions to quash may have been back in 2012 (by the way; although those articles are many years old now, the law explained in them is still good, so please feel free to revisit older articles as I did a lot of ‘teaching of concepts’ back when bittorrent case law was not yet “hashed out,” pardon the geeky pun).

Is there anything you can share to help me understand this case?

I have four items that I can contribute to these lawsuits which might be of assistance to someone who is looking for some free legal help or tips on how to understand these lawsuits.

1. The lawsuits are smaller than they should be.

The Cook Productions copyright holders do not have many lawsuits.  While it is scary to see multiple lawsuits in your court, in many cases, there are a small handful of defendants in each case (sometimes only including 5-7 John Doe Defendants in one lawsuit).  

This suggests to me a fear that they might lose a significant pool of their defendants to a dismissal.  

On the flip side, you could also say that the attorneys expect to maximize the money they make by extorting as much as possible from one or more defendants, but I have reasons why [for the most part] this is not the case.

2. The lawsuits appear to be filed in ‘untested’ states.

The Cook Productions lawsuits are sprinkled a few here, a few there, as if they are ‘dipping their toes’ into the various federal courts to see which jurisdictions end up being favorable to them.

In my experience, this is simply an indication that Cook Productions is either inexperienced or lazy, because if they did their research into what has already happened over the years with other bittorrent lawsuits, they would have learned which jurisdictions are favorable to so-called copyright trolls, and which are not so favorable.

Why file lawsuits in federal courts where judges are known to be unfriendly to copyright trolls?

Placing 14 cases in the Illinois Northern District Court (Prenda Law Inc. / John Steele’s former home court) is simply a mistake because there are too many judges there which will laugh when they see this lawsuit hit their case list.  At least they knew to stay out of Texas.

3. New “no-name” copyright troll attorneys are being tested in these cases.

There are many well known ‘copyright troll attorneys’ in each of the states Cook is filing in.  These attorneys have filed countless lawsuits against many John Doe Defendants over the years.  

However, in a handful of states that I have reviewed for the Cook Productions LLC lawsuits, I am seeing “no-name” attorneys represent the copyright holder.

Let me be clear — if I were to hire an attorney to pursue downloaders, I would hire experienced attorneys who have filed lawsuits in these courts, who know the judges, and who know copyright law.  

Rather, I am seeing random attorneys take on these clients who have websites that reference the plaintiff attorney’s areas of expertise to be “insurance law,” “employment law,” “construction law,” …but where is the intellectual property law specialty? Where is the “copyright law” specialty?

Answer: There is none.  These fields of expertise are STATE-BASED areas of law, and in my humble opinion, a number of these local attorneys have never stepped foot in a federal court.

4. If the local plaintiff attorneys have no experience in copyright law, then they must be following instructions of someone higher.

How have they filed these cases then?? Funny, I thought the same thing.  The case filings look IDENTICAL to me, suggesting to me that there is SOME COMMON ENTITY WHO IS FEEDING TEMPLATES TO THESE ATTORNEYS, and these attorneys file them in the federal courts.

My final thoughts about the Cook Productions, LLC lawsuits.

In sum, Cook Productions, LLC appears to me to be yet another copyright troll.  If I was a betting man, I would suggest that some entity licensed the rights to the failed “Mr. Church” movie, and is now suing John Doe Defendants across the US using each state’s local attorneys as straw men to act as if they are the ones who are representing the client to enforce that client’s copyright rights.

For an analysis of the other Cook Productions, LLC bittorrent-based cases [as they start to develop past the subpoena phase of the lawsuit], click here.

What are the actual names of the Mr. Cook lawsuits filed in each court?

Cases filed in the Arizona District Court:
Cook Productions LLC v. Unknown Parties (Case No. 2:16-cv-04478)
Also, Case No. 2:16-cv-04481

Case filed in the Colorado District Court:
Cook Productions, LLC v. Doe 1-23 (Case No. 1:16-cv-03198)

Cases filed in the Hawaii District Court:
Cook Productions, LLC v. Does 1 through 15 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00034)
Cases also filed against small-number Doe Defendants:
Does 1-8 (Case No. 1:16-cv-00637)
Does 1-4 (Case No. 1:16-cv-00639)
Does 1-5 (Case No. 1:16-cv-00638)

Cases filed in the Illinois Northern District Court:
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC v. DOES 1-24 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11338)
Cases also filed against small-number Doe Defendants:
v. DOES 1-15 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00522)
v. DOES 1-12 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00536, 1:17-cv-00526)
v. Does 1-29 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11337)
v. DOES 1-12 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00535)
v. Does 1-13 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00523)
v. DOES 1-14 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11347)
v. DOES 1-15 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11345)
v. DOES 1-18 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11341)
v. DOES 1-25 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11340)
v. DOES 1-13 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11350)
v. Does 1-21 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11344)
v. DOES 1-23 (Case No. 1:16-cv-11339)

Cases filed in the Indiana Northern & Southern District Courts (respectively):
Cook Productions, LLC v. Does 1-11 (Case No. 3:16-cv-00773)
COOK PRODUCTIONS LLC v. DOE 1 et al (Case No. 1:16-cv-03158)

Case filed in the Kentucky Western District Court:
NOTE: The “Inc.” is probably a silly typo from a sloppy attorney.

Cook Productions, Inc. v. Does 1-9 (Case No. 3:16-cv-00838)

Case filed in the Maryland District Court:
Cook Productions, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 8:16-cv-03873)

Case filed in the Nevada District Court:
Cook Productions, LLC v. Does (Case No. 2:17-cv-00069)

Cases filed in the North Carolina Eastern & Middle District Courts:
Cook Productions, LLC v. Doe 1, et al. (Case No. 5:16-cv-00910)
Also Filed:
Case No. 5:16-cv-00909
Case No. 5:16-cv-00924
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC V. DOES 1-5 (Case No. 1:16-cv-01369)
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC V. DOES 1-11 (Case No. 1:16-cv-01375, 1:16-cv-01374)
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC V. DOES 1-7 (Case No. 1:16-cv-01372)
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC V. DOES 1-9 (Case No. 1:16-cv-01373)

Cases filed in the Ohio Northern & Southern District Courts (respectively):
Cook Productions, LLC v. Does (Case No. 3:16-cv-03045)
Cook Productions LLC v. Does 1-15 (Case No. 2:16-cv-01192)

Cases Filed in the Oregon District Court:
NOTE: OK, this one concerns me. Look at the attorney and the “single Doe” case lawsuit style. These might play out differently than the others [just my gut feeling].

Cook Productions, LLC v. Doe-50.53.40.201 (Case No. 3:16-cv-02086)
Cook Productions, LLC v. Doe-71.63.208.154 (Case No. 3:16-cv-02085)
Cook Productions v. Doe-73.37.111.126 (Case No. 3:17-cv-00162)

Case filed in the Pennsylvania Eastern District Court:
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC. v. JOHN DOES 1-13 (Case No. 2:17-cv-00705)

Cases filed in the Washington Western District Court:
Cook Productions, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 2:16-cv-01884)
Also filed:
Case No. 2:17-cv-00252
Case No. 2:17-cv-00101


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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    Did Malibu Media almost go out of business in April 2016?

    malibu-media-case-consolidations

    So we all thought the Malibu Media, LLC lawsuits were dead this summer after Malibu Media sued their attorney Keith Lipscomb (a.k.a., the “kingpin” and “mastermind” behind the 6,800+ lawsuits filed against single “John Doe” defendants)). If you want a quick summary, here seems to be the jist of what happened.

    • Malibu Media, LLC hired Lipscomb to run their copyright infringement / settlement extortion scheme utilizing his network of attorneys spanning the federal courts across the US.
    • Lipscomb appeared to have pulled in hundreds [maybe thousands] of settlements, each settlement likely amounting to $10,000-$30,000, or more.
      (NOTE: This dwarfs the settlement monies collected by Steele & Hansmeier, now arrested for mail fraud, wire fraud, and perjury allegedly committed in the furtherance of their copyright troll scheme.)
    • Lipscomb apparently paid Malibu Media, LLC only $100,000 in commissions (the equivalent of ten settlements [10 x $10,000 = $100K]), but then never paid Malibu Media again.

    [HINDSIGHT: MALIBU MEDIA LLC CONTINUED FILING AFTER THIS, BUT JUST WITH A NEW ‘INVESTOR’.  FOR IMMEDIATE CONTACT WITH AN ATTORNEY: Click here for more general information about Malibu Media, LLC lawsuits, their tactics, and their strategies.  To set up a free consultation to speak to an attorney about your Malibu Media, LLC lawsuit, click here.  Lastly, please feel free to e-mail me at info [at] cashmanlawfirm.com, or call 713-364-3476 to speak to me now about your case (I do prefer you read the articles first), or to get your questions answered.]

    What caused the lawsuit between Malibu Media, LLC and Lipscomb?

    The relationship between Lipscomb and Malibu became sour when Malibu Media, LLC became suspicious as to how they only earned $100K in commissions.  They demanded an accounting to determine whether they were being paid properly (this is still being litigated, but my guess is no; namely, that Malibu was being cheated by the lawyers they hired to extort others). Lipscomb claims that Malibu actually owes him money (to simplify the numbers, think — 6,800 lawsuits filed x est. $400/filing = $2.7 Million in filing fees alone). Malibu sued Lipscomb, they went to court, and in late April 2016, new Malibu Media, LLC filings stopped dead.

    On April 18th, 2016, Keith Lipscomb told all of his local counsel that he is no longer representing Malibu Media, LLC (citing a lack of profitability), meaning that each of his local counsel were no longer representing Malibu Media, LLC, or so we thought. Wrong. Various local counsel continued the lawsuits already filed, but very few new suits were filed.

    Here are the number of case filings since:
    April 2016 Filings: 97
    May 2016 Filings: ZERO!
    June 2016 Filings: ZERO!
    July 1- July 20 Filings: ZERO!
    July 21 -> [end of month] filings: 75
    August Filings: 59
    September Filings: ZERO!
    October Filings: 109 — FULL SPEED AHEAD? Nope.
    November Filings: ZERO.
    December Filings: ZERO…?

    So, we are now in December (six months later), and Malibu Media LLC lawsuits are far from dead, or are they?!?

    Here’s what I understand:
    1) Lipscomb is no longer in charge of the Malibu Media, LLC lawsuits.
    2) Individual attorneys (formerly, local counsel) appear to have taken Malibu Media, LLC as their own client, meaning that Malibu is creating relationships with each attorney, and each attorney appears to have a “territory” or a federal district court in which s/he practices.
    3) I still think there is someone at Malibu Media, LLC headquarters (maybe Elizabeth Jones) still directing all of the attorneys.

    In sum, Malibu Media, LLC and their lawsuits are not dead, at least not yet, but they continue to plague the federal courts and the accused downloaders with their high-ticket settlement prices, and thus they still need to be taken seriously, at least for now.

    NEXT: Let’s go into the recent cases themselves to get an idea of what is going on with the last set of cases filed…

    Sources:
    Arstechnica: “File-sharing lawsuit numbers drop by more than half; both Malibu Media and Prenda Law have run into different roadblocks.” on 7/19/2016.

    Techdirt: “Malibu Media Sues Its Former Lawyer Over Missing Funds, Breach Of Bar Rules,” on 6/29/2016.

    Arstechnica: “Porn studio that sued thousands for piracy now fighting its own lawyer,” on 6/28/2016

    Fight Copyright Trolls: “Malibu Media sues its former counsel Keith Lipscomb and his firm for professional negligence and breach of fiduciary duty,” on 6/28/2016


    FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MALIBU MEDIA, LLC:If you have been implicated as a John Doe defendant in a Malibu Media, LLC lawsuit, there are TWO (2) main articles you should read immediately:

    1) “Everything You Need To Know in One Page About Your Malibu Media, LLC (X-Art) Lawsuit [FAQ],” and then
    2) “In-Depth Malibu Media.  Their Lawsuits, Their Strategies, and Their Settlements.”

    FOR IMMEDIATE CONTACT WITH AN ATTORNEY: To set up a free consultation to speak to an attorney about your Malibu Media, LLC lawsuit, click here.  Lastly, please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected], or call 713-364-3476 to speak to me now about your case (I do prefer you read the articles first), or to get your questions answered.

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

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

      shalta boook now cta

      *2017 UPDATE* What ended up happening with the Malibu Media cases?

      With hindsight, we can now tell the Malibu Media, LLC “story,” as it happened.  The list of stories below (in the order I listed them) tell the Malibu Media story in a way that you will understand them.

      CEG-TEK and Lipscomb – Star Crossed Lovers

      As an attorney, unfortunately there is often information that I need to be tight-lipped about when discussing a case or a particular copyright holder. Malibu Media, LLC and their implosion with Keith Lipscomb (who ran each of their thousands of lawsuits filed across the US) was one such example, but not for the reasons you might consider.

      This summer, I sat back and watched what was once one of the biggest copyright trolls and their scheme implode as the relationship between the attorney hired to represent their cases across the US (Keith Lipscomb) and Malibu Media, LLC crumbled. Regardless of the screams of autonomy each local counsel hired by Lipscomb claimed in the courts, it was still plain and obvious to me that Lipscomb was running each of the thousands of lawsuits filed against single “John Doe” defendants (not only because the filings were identical, and the court documents allegedly filed by different attorneys had the same spelling errors in each filing, but because every settlement payment — regardless of which local counsel was allegedly in charge of the lawsuit — went to Lipscomb’s Florida office).

      Recognizing that there is ‘no honor among thieves‘, I laughed when I learned that Malibu Media sued Lipscomb for not paying them the settlement monies him and his attorneys extorted from hundreds if not thousands of John Doe Defendants across the US, and… he appears to have kept the settlement monies for himself.

      However, the reason I stayed quiet was because I knew of something going on internally at Copyright Enforcement Group (CEG-TEK), and I saw a possible reality where Keith Lipscomb got into negotiations with CEG-TEK, and he got them to agree to send DMCA letters to thousands of accused downloaders through their ISPs, but instead of asking for a $300 settlement for one copyrighted title allegedly downloaded, he would list each-and-every title from his X-Art.com siterips.

      Instead of CEG-TEK sending a notice for each title allegedly downloaded, Keith would have them send one notice for the siterip [when accessed by clicking a link on a bittorrent website, and that bittorrent file wold contain possibly 100+ titles to be downloaded]. However, when that unsuspecting user logged into CEG-TEK’s copyrightsettlements.com website using the username and password provided in the DMCA notice, each-and-every title in the X-Art Malibu Media siterip would have appeared. Thus, a $300 per accused downloader settlement could have easily turned into a $30,000+ per accused downloader settlement ($300/title x 100+ titles in the siterip). This could have even been exacerbated if Lipscomb asked for higher per-title settlement amounts, as his attorneys are accustomed to negotiate with other attorneys in the $750-$500/title range.

      In my opinion, a Lipscomb-Siegel/CEG-TEK marriage would have been a nightmare, and because at the time CEG-TEK was changing their business model and shifting how they send out letters and to whom (remember the Girls Gone Wild fiasco?), the timing was right for Lipscomb to reach out to them, and I was concerned that they would have accepted his plan.

      [In passing, I want to note that CEG-TEK had a shake-up as well over the summer. They were changing their business model from sending DMCA notices and soliciting small $300 settlements for copyright infringement claims for just a few titles to sending notices only to “more egregious downloaders” which in turn would increase the per-person settlement amount paid to CEG-TEK on behalf of their clients. They also appear to have been changing their client base by transitioning away from little porn companies to more well-known copyright trolls (e.g., Millennium Films, LHF Productions, etc.) — copyright holders who threatened to sue downloaders (and in at least one circumstance did sue at least one client of mine in federal court.) The point is that they were changing their image from being a company who’s clients didn’t sue to a company who’s clients do sue. Lipscomb fit their former profile of bringing pornography copyright holders to the table, and he matched their new profile because he brings a strong proclivity to sue defendants who ignored the notices. Thus in a possible reality, I saw Lipscomb meeting with CEG-TEK, and I did everything I could behind the scenes to avert this reality.]

      Now we are roughly six-months later, and I am happy to share that the marriage between Lipscomb and CEG-TEK never took place, and CEG-TEK is no longer in a place where they would accept Keith Lipscomb or the $10K/client+ settlement amounts he would have brought to the table.

      For this reason, I am sharing the story of this nightmare which — even though the ‘stars aligned’ — never happened (and thankfully, will never happen).

      …there is new news for Lipscomb’s former Malibu Media, LLC client. I will post about that next.

      [2017 UPDATE: This is bad news.  In my article, I wrote about how former Guardaley kingpin Lipscomb might have corrupted CEG-TEK.  Since the April 2016 breakup of the Lipscomb/Guardaley relationship, new Guardaley kingpin Carl Crowell has created a new entity called RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT which has reverse-engineered CEG-TEK’s proprietary DMCA copyright infringement notice system.  Many of you have visited this link thinking that RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT was somehow related to CEG-TEK (at first, I thought so too), but really it is an ‘evil twin’ competitor.  In sum, apparently my concerns about CEG-TEK’s DMCA notice system getting corrupted may actually have happened, but I got the entity wrong.  It wasn’t CEG-TEK’s system that was corrupted, it was Crowell’s reverse-engineered ‘evil twin’ copy of CEG-TEK which we now see in RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT.]


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

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

        shalta boook now cta

        Why Being Served in a Bittorrent Case Can Lead To Settlement

        Bittorrent ‘John Doe’ Defendants are being forced deeper into copyright infringement lawsuits. Being served can backfire on a troll forcing a cheap settlement.

        DISCLAIMER: In this article I speak a lot about plaintiff attorneys cheating their own copyright holder clients, billing them “by the hour” (rather than the conventional method of accepting the copyright holder clients “on contingency”), and in some cases, wasting time to generate additional billing to their own clients.  It is my observation and opinion that this is happening, but short of a lawsuit like we saw with the Dallas Buyers Club copyright holders against their Voltage Pictures licensee, it is difficult to prove that such things are taking place.  However, “honor or dishonor among thieves” is not the topic or the point of the article — the point of the article is that plaintiffs are dragging defendants further into the federal lawsuits by naming and serving them, and it is my opinion that it is still possible to obtain a settlement, even after a client has admitted guilt in an answer to a deposition question.

        It is a sad day when trolls force those they’ve accused to become legal experts and to stick their toes into the federal courts to defend themselves. In the attached article, DTD is correct that lawyers (myself included) can get expensive, and defending a case (e.g., answering a complaint, showing up and defending a deposition, answering the various requests for information that are required in a federal lawsuit, etc.) is often more expensive than simply paying a copyright troll plaintiff a few bucks to make them go away.

        Unfortunately (at least in my Texas Southern District federal court), the copyright-troll attorneys appear to be billing their copyright-holder clients BY THE HOUR (which differs from the old model of a plaintiff attorney agreeing to take a case on contingency and only sharing in the settlement profits believing [the lie] that “they’ll make millions going after John Doe Defendants”), so these ‘hardened’ plaintiff attorneys seem to be running-up the bill by dragging the defendants through the mud — naming them, serving them, filing documents, and wasting everyone’s time.

        In short, while I agree that IN NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES doing what DTD suggested (filing an answer with the court and fighting your case) would normally not be something one would ever dare do [at least without a lawyer holding his/her hand, or sitting in and defending a deposition], in today’s evolution of the bittorrent cases, filing an answer and at least being willing to endure the legal process until a settlement is offered (and a settlement is usually offered eventually) has become a necessity.

        WHY BEING FORCED TO ANSWER QUESTIONS IN A DEPOSITION MIGHT LEAD TO A SETTLEMENT:

        Let’s take a quick example.  In the typical scenario, the goal in representing a client who wants to settle is to contact the plaintiff attorney on the client’s behalf and negotiate a settlement.  For a plaintiff attorney who is billing his copyright troll client by the hour (as is what appears to be happening in the Texas bittorrent-based copyright infringement cases), agreeing to a settlement is too easy of an outcome because the plaintiff attorney does not make the kind of money he could make “dragging the defendant through the mud while charging his client hourly to do so.”  (Remember, as we saw with the Voltage / Dallas Buyers Club cases, a crooked attorney steals not only from his victim [the accused defendant], but also from his client (as we saw in the Voltage / Dallas Buyers Club cases where Voltage was sued for failing to pay Dallas Buyers Club monies earned and owed to it through its copyright enforcement activities)).

        More likely than not, the plaintiff attorney’s client (the actual copyright holder seeking to “monetize” or “enforce” the rights given to him via his copyright) is not aware that the attorney is over-billing (e.g., engaging in such “mud-dragging”, “revenue-producing” activities often cannot be proven, and thus it continues until the copyright holder gets tired of paying his attorney’s bill).  Thus, free of scrutiny from his client, the plaintiff attorney needlessly exacerbates the situation by demanding from the defendant something unreasonable (e.g., that unless the defendant is willing to agree to sign an explicit admission of guilt prior to being made aware of the kind or amount of settlement he will be offered, there will be no settlement).  [FYI, this is something no sane person would agree to.]  As a result, the defendant refuses to admit guilt, he gets named and served, and he is forced to spend thousands of dollars more to defend himself.  Why?  Because his plaintiff attorney figured out a way to milk not only him (the defendant), but his copyright-holder client as well.

        There are a number of steps that happen after being named and served, but the point is that eventually, the plaintiff attorney is going to schedule a deposition (where the defendant will need to answer questions “under oath,”) and the defendant is going to tell the truth about what happened.  If the download indeed happened, this will come out in the deposition.

        However, this “nightmare” fear that the defendant will “admit guilt” will only cause one result — the plaintiff will have proof that at trial, based on the information elicited from the defendant in the deposition, that defendant could be held liable for the $150,000 in statutory damages.  But then… how many of these defendants have $150K sitting around in their mattresses or in their bank accounts?  And if they do, don’t you think that instead of paying the judgment, they would rather hire a bankruptcy lawyer and file for a bankruptcy to discharge the copyright infringement judgment in bankruptcy?

        In short, the worst-case-scenario in a deposition is that the defendant admits guilt, which is often what will likely happen if the defendant is the downloader of the copyrighted film.  But then after all this excitement, the plaintiff attorney and the copyright holder still want to get paid (and they know they are likely not going to collect anything by obtaining a $150K judgment against the defendant).  This is why the plaintiff attorney will likely initiate settlement talks with the defendant, taking his financial circumstances into consideration.

        This is not to say that settling a case right away (and before being named and served) is no longer an option — there are multiple copyright holders filing in the Texas and New York courts, including Criminal Productions Inc., September Productions Inc., CELL Film Holdings LLC, the infamous Malibu Media LLC, Fathers & Daughters Nevada LLC, Dallas Buyers Club LLC, and the related non-bittorrent copyright holders which include DISH Network L.L.C. (not so much anymore) and Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software, Inc. (a software company), each of whom have their priorities and specific instructions on how they would like their plaintiff attorneys to handle the lawsuits on their behalf.

        But, what I do want you to glean from this commentary (really, it’s an article, but I did re-blog DTD’s article and I need to stick to that topic), is that plaintiff attorneys ARE naming and serving defendants, and it should be expected that this could happen — and if a defendant is named and served, they could still negotiate a settlement.  But be aware that in order to get to that point, the plaintiff attorney (who might be motivated by maximizing his billing to his own client [think, stealing from you AND stealing from his own client]) might drag you through a deposition and a number of steps before he accepts a settlement from you.

        LAST NOTE: BILLING IN “BLOCKS.”

        I agree that lawyers are expensive simply because we charge for the time it takes to complete each step of the legal process. However, many attorneys (myself included) already know how much time each step will take, so “flat fee” billing is an option (understanding that billing would happen based on timelines of where you are in the lawsuit).

        Thus, it might make sense to hire an attorney who charges you a flat fee for a certain “block” or piece of the lawsuit (e.g.,

        BLOCK 1: FROM GETTING NOTICE OF THE LAWSUIT THROUGH BEING NAMED AND SERVED [WITH THE INTENT OF NEGOTIATING A SETTLEMENT PRIOR TO BEING NAMED AND SERVED].

        BLOCK 2: FROM BEING NAMED AND SERVED (E.G., FILING AN ANSWER WITH THE COURT, PROVIDING ANY NEEDED DISCLOSURES, FILING ANY PROTECTIVE ORDERS, SETTING DISCOVERY TIMELINES).

        BLOCK 3: FILING INTERROGATORIES AND REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION, AND ANSWERING INTERROGATORIES AND/OR REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION.

        BLOCK 4: PREPARING FOR AND DEFENDING A DEPOSITION.

        BLOCK 5: SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATIONS AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY.  Or, BLOCK 5A: FILING A SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTION TO RELEASE DEFENDANT FROM LIABILITY,

        …AND SO ON, BLOCK 6: …TRIAL (my opinion, unlikely, unless the copyright holder figured out a way to prevent the deep-pocket defendant from filing for bankruptcy).

        I have laid these out as a template, as each case and each copyright holder often needs to be handled differently.  Typically, clients were able to negotiate a settlement and be released from liability with just BLOCK 1.  However, as we discussed above, we are seeing more-and-more that plaintiff attorneys are taking defendants deeper into the lawsuits (“deeper down the rabbit hole, so to speak”), specifically past the “naming and serving” stage, past the answer stage, and into the discovery stages before considering or accepting settlements.  I am not one to advocate doing this on your own, and if you could afford an attorney (me, or anyone else), that is the safest way to go.  But if hiring me or another attorney is not an option, fighting this on your own (called, “pro se”) is the best alternative, and DTD’s article gives you a good first and necessary step in getting the ball rolling.

        As I said before, good article, DTD!

        Caveat – I’m not an attorney and I’m not practicing law. This is simply my thoughts and views based on what I see concerning BitTorrent (BT) Copyright Infringement Trolls. If you decide you need legal advice, please hire a knowledgeable attorney. IF you truly cannot afford an attorney, here at least is one possible option. […]

        via Answering A BT Copyright Troll Summons/Complaint — DieTrollDie


        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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          Understanding the patterns of filings by Malibu Media, LLC.

          malibu-media-case-consolidations

          It is difficult to track the activities of a copyright troll such as Malibu Media, LLC, especially when they are filing hundreds of “single John Doe” lawsuits across the U.S.  However, when there is a momentous ruling by a federal U.S. District Court Judge such as the one we saw yesterday in New York, then the story begins to reveal itself.

          A few weeks ago, I noticed that there was a shift in the locations where Malibu Media, LLC was filing their cases. Cases began to shift into Ohio (OHND, OHSD), Virginia (VAED), and Pennsylvania (PAED) federal courts (courts which I refer to as “safe haven” courts because of past rulings by judges who allowed Malibu’s cases to proceed unhindered), however I did not understand why.

          It was only until a recent conversation with one of Malibu’s local counsel that I understood that they were already aware that this ruling was coming down, and so they shifted their filings into other federal courts in other parts of the country to counterbalance what could be a shift in the law of the New York federal courts.  Call this the dirty word “forum selection,” or call it whatever you would like, but there is a pattern which can be graphed like birds flocking across the U.S. based on rulings that happen in the federal courts.

          In sum, in my jaded view over the past five years of dealing with nothing but these bittorrent cases, there is no way to shut down the Malibu Media, LLC copyright infringement / “extortion” machine, as this requires participation from every judge in every federal district court. And, it is a difficult task to break the “my court, my world, my rules” mentality that so many appointed federal judges have (where their appointments often have political leanings or where there is a loyalty to a certain belief system or group).

          Specifically, even with an appointed federal judge with a political proclivity to a certain viewpoint, it becomes even more difficult to break the lobbyists’ (such as the MPAA / RIAA copyright anti-piracy lobby) grip, which whisper in the judges’ ears (rich with funding and which no doubt influence decisions across the U.S. [and I dare not bring the question of whether the judges are influenced by bias or “gifts” from these lobbyists (legal or otherwise), and I say this because there have been more than a few questionable rulings which suggest to me that at the very least, certain federal judges have a leaning towards one side or the other and where the law is clear, they still differ to allow the copyright holder to prevail]).

          In sum, we have a legal system where when a judge upholds the law, he is lauded and congratulated as if he did something wonderful, when upholding the law was the job in which he was appointed to do and which he took an oath to uphold.

          There are easy solutions to wipe out Malibu Media, LLC, and every other copyright troll out there who abuses the legal system in order to extort massive settlements from their defendants, however, the country appears not to be ready to address the issue. Senators, congressmen, federal judges, I don’t have anything to say except to do the right thing. And in the merit of judges such as District Judge Hellerstein, Judge Wright, and many other lone wolf judges who do uphold the law, you have my respect and my continued devotion.

          Below are the most recent 100 Malibu Media, LLC filings, filed literally only in the past few weeks. You’ll notice, not one of them was filed in the Southern District of New York (or ANY New York federal court. I wonder why.)

          OHIO NORTHERN DISTRICT COURT (Yousef M. Faroniya of Law Office of Yousef M. Faroniya)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 3:15-cv-01340)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 5:15-cv-01341)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 5:15-cv-01343)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01342)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 3:15-cv-01345)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 3:15-cv-01346)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01339)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01344)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01316)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 4:15-cv-01312)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 5:15-cv-01319)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 3:15-cv-01317)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 5:15-cv-01315)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01314)

          OHIO SOUTHERN DISTRICT COURT (Yousef M. Faroniya of Law Office of Yousef M. Faroniya)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 3:15-cv-00235)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-02516)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-02518)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-02515)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-02477)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 3:15-cv-00236)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-02517)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-02519)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-00435)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-02456)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 3:15-cv-00230)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-00423)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-02453)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-02454)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-00422)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-02455)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-02457)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 3:15-cv-00224)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 3:15-cv-00224)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 3:15-cv-00228)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-02452)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-00420)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-00421)

          VIRGINIA EASTERN DISTRICT COURT (William E. Tabot of William E. Tabot PC)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-00855)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-00851)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-00859)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-00860)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-00852)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-00862)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-00865)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-00856)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-00853)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-00861)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-00857)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-00863)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-00866)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-00850)

          PENNSYLVANIA EASTERN DISTRICT COURT (Christopher P. Fiore of Fiore & Barber LLC)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-03598)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-03600)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-03602)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-03604)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 5:15-cv-03599)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-03601)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-03603)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-03605)

          MARYLAND DISTRICT COURT (Jon A. Hoppe of Maddox Hoppe Hoofnagle & Hafey LLC)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01851)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01864)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01865)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01855)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01861)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01862)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01869)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01854)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01866)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01868)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01859)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 8:15-cv-01858)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01871)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 8:15-cv-01863)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01853)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01867)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01870)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 1:15-cv-01857)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 8:15-cv-01856)

          NEW JERSEY DISTRICT COURT (Patrick J. Cerillo – Attorney at Law)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-04307)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-04309)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-04276)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-04305)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 3:15-cv-04287)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 3:15-cv-04288)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-04308)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-04304)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-04275)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-04278)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-04310)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-04272)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-04273)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 3:15-cv-04269)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-04230)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-04232)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 3:15-cv-04243)

          MICHIGAN EASTERN DISTRICT COURT (Paul J. Nicoletti of Nicoletti Law PLC)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-12293)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-12294)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-12274)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-12283)
          Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:15-cv-12290)


          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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