Tag Archives: ME2

Did ME2 Attorney Fischman disclose real Interested Parties?

In the Texas Federal District Court (as of 2017), I am working on defense research for five (5) copyright infringement / bittorrent “John Doe” lawsuits affiliated with the Guardaley / Carl Crowell.  In a ME2 case, ME2’s local counsel Gary Fischman was ordered by Judge Keith P. Ellison to disclose “all interested parties” to the lawsuit, and this is the subject of this article.

Texas cases I am actively working on (filed after 1/1/2017):
ME2 Productions, Inc. v DOES (Case No. 4:17-cv-00695)
ME2 Productions, Inc. v. DOES (Case No. 4:17-cv-00275)
ME2 Productions, Inc. v. DOES (Case No. 4:17-cv-00501)
ME2 Productions, Inc. v. Does 1-12 (Case No. 4:17-cv-00404)
I.T. Productions, LLC v. DOES (Case No. 4:17-cv-00597)
and, the Siemens PLM v. Does 1-100 software piracy case and multiple Malibu Media, LLC cases (both outside the scope of this article).

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHO HAS A FINANCIAL INTEREST IN A COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT LAWSUIT?

The reason it is important to know who has a financial interest in these lawsuits is because I need to know 1) whether the corporate entity that is suing has the authority to sue, and 2) whether the corporate entity filing the lawsuit is the same entity that holds the copyright to the movie allegedly infringed in the lawsuit.

If the corporate entity (here, ME2 Productions, Inc.) does not have the authority to sue, or if it is not the true copyright holder (but some entity that licensed the rights to make money for the copyright holder based on the copyright rights granted to the true copyright holder to the “Mechanic:Ressurection” movie), the plaintiff might lose the lawsuit or even get sanctioned for not disclosing the true parties who are interested in the outcome of the lawsuit by alleging in a document like this one (link) that they had the right to sue when in fact they did not.

WHY AM I SUSPECT THAT MAYBE THE PARTY SUING MIGHT NOT HAVE COPYRIGHT RIGHTS TO SUE?

The only way a plaintiff can sue for STATUTORY DAMAGES OF $150,000 FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT is if they have a valid copyright to the movie title allegedly being infringed (or, downloaded using bittorrent or Popcorn Time).  If they do not own the copyright but only the right to monetize, the plaintiff may only be entitled to ACTUAL DAMAGES, NOT STATUTORY DAMAGES.

In a bittorrent “John Doe” lawsuit, the actual damages are really the cost to purchase a copy of the infringed movie (~$30 for the DVD), or perhaps $8 for the movie ticket if the movie is still in theaters.  The law only gives STATUTORY DAMAGES OF $150,000 to plaintiffs who have a valid copyright at the time of the lawsuit.

So here is why I am suspect that maybe ME2 Productions, Inc. might not be the holder of a valid copyright:  We know from the Dallas Buyers Club, LLC lawsuits (when the real Dallas Buyers Club copyright holder sued Voltage Pictures, Inc. for not paying settlement moneys owed to them) that there was an entity (Voltage Pictures) that purchased the rights to monetize Dallas Buyer’s Club’s intellectual property (the right to use the Dallas Buyer’s Club name, the right to sue, etc.)  Voltage then turned around and set up an entity called “Dallas Buyers Club, LLC” and sued hundreds of John Doe Defendants using that name.

Little did we know at the time that the Dallas Buyer’s Club plaintiff was not the Dallas Buyer’s Club copyright holder, and the copyright troll plaintiff entity was merely masquerading as the Dallas Buyers Club copyright holder.

WHY ARE THE DALLAS BUYERS CLUB LAWSUITS RELEVANT TO ME2 PRODUCTIONS CASES?

The common thread behind the Dallas Buyer’s Club lawsuits and most copyright infringement lawsuits filed today is a german company called Guardaley (a.k.a. IPP).  It is not relevant that Guardaley’s bittorrent tracking methods have been ruled not credible by the German courts; they have been wreaking havoc on US courts since 2012.  Guardaley (as far as I understand) has been behind the scenes of each and every ‘copyright troll’ lawsuit filed in the federal courts.  And, after April 2016, they have reportedly signed an agreement with Carl Crowell (a known copyright troll attorney, but more importantly, likely the mastermind behind each of the ‘copyright troll’ lawsuits filed by local attorneys across the US).

Carl Crowell’s connection to ME2 Productions, Inc. is that they are his client.  I can demonstrate this connection by looking at his new DMCA scare letter scheme entity, “Rights Enforcement”.  If you look at the Crowell’s client list (as described by Torrentfreak), you will see that Mechanic:Resurrection (the movie behind the ME2 lawsuits) is one of Carl Crowell’s clients.  (Carl Crowell himself is also a known ‘copyright troll’ where he has filed ME2 lawsuits against John Doe Defendants in Oregon.)

RIGHTSENFORCEMENT.com screenshot with ME2 outlined.
Screenshot from Carl Crowell’s RIGHTSENFORCEMENT.com website, with Mechanic:Resurrection outlined.

Thus, naturally, I am suspect to each of ME2 Productions, Inc.’s other lawsuits in other states, here, Texas, because as the apparent puppetmaster behind the various ME2 Productions, Inc. lawsuits filed across the US, I must assume he has a financial interest in the outcome of this Texas lawsuit filed by Gary Fischman.

WHO DID ATTORNEY FISCHMAN SAY HAS A FINANCIAL INTEREST IN THE ME2 BITTORRENT LAWSUITS?

In the filing, Gary Fischman noted that the following three entities has a financial interest in the ME2 Productions, Inc. cases:

  • ME2 Productions, Inc.
  • A&T IP, Inc., and
  • Fischman Law, PLLC

ME2 Productions, Inc. might be the actual copyright owner, or it is possible that they are an entity that was set up for the purpose of monetizing the copyright rights granted to the actual copyright holder, the owner of the Mechanic:Resurrection movie.

A&T IP, Inc. is an enigma to me.  I do not know who they are, where they are incorporated, and who the beneficiaries are of this entity.

UPDATE: DieTrollDie suggests that perhaps A&T IP, Inc. is actually the Anti-Piracy Management Co (APMC).

DTD Twitter Screenshot Suggesting A&T IP, Inc. is APMC.
DieTrollDie suspects that A&T IP, Inc. is really the Anti-Piracy Management Co. (APMC).

Fischman Law, PLLC is curious in and of itself for reasons outside the scope of this article.  Naturally, it could be explained that Gary Fischman as the attorney suing on behalf of ME2 will benefit (e.g., commissions from settlements received, possibly fees from the copyright holder or the Crowell / Guardaley entity itself for time spent prosecuting these cases).  However, I suspect the link goes slightly deeper, as his partner for a number of the Guardaley lawsuits, Joshua Wyde, listed himself as a witness in the lawsuit (something that is generally not done).  So there may be more to the eye here, but not relevant to this article.

Here is a link to the actual document filed with the court:

021017 ME2 417-cv-00404 – Doc6 – Certificate of Interested Parties by ME2

MY FINAL QUESTIONS

Looking at all of this information together, I am left with the following questions.

  1. WHERE IS GUARDALEY (IPP) AS AN INTERESTED PARTY IN THIS CASE?
  2. WHY IS CARL CROWELL NOT LISTED AS AN INTERESTED PARTY IN THIS CASE, OR IS HE [AND GUARDALEY] SOMEHOW WRAPPED UP IN THAT “A&T IP, INC” ENTITY?
  3. IS ME2 PRODUCTIONS, INC. THE SAME LEGAL ENTITY THAT OWNS THE COPYRIGHT TO THE MECHANIC:RESURRECTION MOVIE, OR ARE THEY SOME OTHER ENTITY THAT IS MERELY MASQUERADING AS THE ME2 PRODUCTIONS / COPYRIGHT HOLDER UNDER SOME LICENSE TO MONETIZE THEIR COPYRIGHT RIGHTS?

Your thoughts and feedback are obviously welcome.


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.

ME2 Productions Bittorrent Lawsuits Have Come To Houston, TX

Introducing the ME2 Productions (“Mr. Church”) Move Lawsuits

Because the “ME2 Productions, Inc.” copyright infringement lawsuits appear to be the ‘third leg’ to the “September Productions, Inc.” (leg 1) and the “Cell Film Holdings, LLC” (leg 2) lawsuits, I felt compelled to write something about it.

This third leg of cases, each of which have been filed by Gary Fischman and Josh Wyde consist of four cases (and counting), each filed here in the TX Southern District Court. ME2 Productions, Inc. itself [through their local counsel across the US] has filed 112 cases so far, and each case appears to be following the same template. There are 10-20 John Doe Defendants per case, and the cases are spaced apart when filed, hoping that no proactive judge receives and consolidates all of the cases in one federal district (this has not yet happened in Texas).

ME2 CASES ARE STILL IN THEIR INFANCY IN TEXAS.

In Texas, the ME2 cases are still in their infancy, and all that has happened is that judges have rubber stamped what are called “expedited discovery” requests to allow the plaintiff attorneys to force the ISP(s) to send subpoenas to the account holders of those IP addresses where unlawful downloading is claimed to have happened.

As of writing this message, the Comcast / XFinity ISP has received three subpoenas, and has sent letters to the accused account holders (the “John Doe Defendants”) indicating that they should file an objection to the subpoena with the court before the ISP is forced to hand out the subscriber information to the plaintiff attorney.

As of now, there are three known ‘deadlines’ to file an objection (e.g., motion to quash) with the court — 3/2, 3/16 and 3/20 — corresponding to three of the four cases so far filed in Texas. I’ll update this article with the fourth date as soon as I get it.

WHAT MOVIE IS BEHIND THE ME2 CASES?

More generally, ME2 Productions, Inc. is suing for copyright infringement based on the the illegal download of the Mechanic: Resurrection movie, starring Jason Statham and Jessica Alba. (NOTE: If you are considering downloading any of the Transporter movies also with Jason Statham, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see lawsuits from the production companies for those movies as well in the near future based on a trend I’ve noticed in the past. Also be on the lookout for lawsuits for the ‘Transporter’ movies as well for this same reason).

NOTICING A CONNECTION BETWEEN THE ME2 AND EARLIER LAWSUITS.

Based on my conversations with the plaintiff attorneys who are attempting to sue downloaders of the Mechanic: Resurrection title, I understand that a number of those implicated in these lawsuits may have also been implicated in the September Productions, Inc. v. Does lawsuits for the download of the Septembers of Shiraz video and possibly also the Cell Film Holdings, LLC v. Does lawsuit for the download of the “The Cell” video.

For some reason, these three videos appear to be a trio, perhaps because they were shared on the piracy websites or Popcorn Time software platforms at the same time, or that there is some ‘contractual’ connection between the three movies (e.g., perhaps Voltage Pictures has signed an agreement with each of the three copyright holders giving Voltage a right to take on the movie production’s company name as they did with Dallas Buyers Club, LLC, to act and to sue on their behalf in order to ‘monetize’ and enforce the copyright rights those productions companies have from the creation of the copyrighted films).

I wrote this last paragraph very quickly, without much explanation. Do you even care if the company suing you is really Voltage Pictures, Inc. who has contacted the movie companies and said, “sign a contract with me — I’ll sue in your name and get lots of settlement money for you”? Bottom line, you are implicated as a John Doe Defendant in what looks to be a copyright troll lawsuit, Comcast is about to hand over your information to plaintiff attorneys Joshua Wyde and Gary Fischman, and you are staring down the barrel of a $150,000 copyright infringement for clicking and possibly watching a movie that may not have been any good.

WHY THESE CASES ARE BOTH SIMILAR AND SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT FROM CONVENTIONAL COPYRIGHT TROLL CASES.

In sum, whether this lawsuit indeed falls under “copyright troll” status or not, the plaintiff attorneys have taken great strides to mask the true nature of this lawsuit, namely, that this lawsuit will likely not go to trial for any of the defendants, because it is not economically profitable for the copyright holder (or Voltage Pictures, if this is the case) to spend the money to chase some student in Houston, TX and force a $150,000 judgment on them that the student will never and could never pay. Yet based on the documents I have seen these attorneys file in the court (sometimes even quoting this blog), they seem to want to litigate.

Whether they are paid hourly by their copyright holder clients (the production companies) or whether the simply take a commission based on a percentage of the settlement amount they elicit from the defendants (my gut feeling is that they are actually being paid hourly by their clients which gives them an incentive to spend more time filing documents in the court) they do spend significant amounts of time drafting motions, and they do spend the money to name and serve defendants, and they DO fight the case *as if* they were taking each John Doe Defendant to trial. Whether this is because they are trying to overcome the bias the federal judges in Texas have against the pornography bittorrent cases which wasted the past seven years of the court’s time or because they are trying to prove the legitimacy of bittorrent based copyright infringement lawsuits, bottom line, they are fighting these cases differently from the way other plaintiff attorneys have fought them in recent years.

What to do if you are sued for a movie you did not download?

So here is the solution. If you did not download the Mechanic: Resurrection movie, then fight back. Hire an attorney (me, or any other attorney) to fight your case. If you did the download, well, there are also solutions found with an attorney, but you knew this already, and it will require both sides to be reasonable to come to an amicable solution.

I did not mention this before, so I am mentioning this here since it is relevant — it is not profitable for a movie company to bring a copyright infringement lawsuit to trial. This gives us on the defense side leverage to either come to an amicable solution, or to fight back and force them to dismiss. The plaintiff attorneys Josh Wyde and Gary Fischman will fight back, but facts are facts, and justice is for the most part blind. If they cannot prove that it is more likely than not that you were the downloader of the copyrighted movie, then they cannot find you guilty for copyright infringement.

An unintended consequence of fighting back.

NOTE: An unintended consequence of fighting back from a purely academic perspective is that doing so forces the copyright holders to focus their set of John Doe Defendants to those downloaders to whom they can prove did the download, because each ‘misfire’ (meaning, each John Doe Defendant who did not do the download and who fights back) costs the copyright holder severely, and we have said for years that this would be the demise of the ‘copyright troll’ model if they sue without vetting their data as to which John Doe Defendants apparently did what and when. Make it too expensive to blindly name and serve (without vetting the John Doe Defendants first), and their model falls. However, fight back, and they will focus and limit their list of John Doe Defendants to those who subscribers (or their family members) who actually did the downloading, and this will only feed back into their cash stream by encouraging settlements to avoid being named and served, sued, and found liable for copyright infringement. It’s a messy problem.

Known Mechanic:Engineering Movie Lawsuits Filed in TX

KNOWN Texas Southern District Court ME2 Cases [Filed in 2017]:
Attorney: Gary Fischman (Fischman Law PLLC)

ME2 Productions, Inc. v DOES (Case No. 4:17-cv-00695)
Filed: March 4, 2017, Judge: Vanessa D Gilmore

ME2 Productions, Inc. v. DOES (Case No. 4:17-cv-00501)
Filed: Feb 15, 2017, Judge: TBA

ME2 Productions, Inc. v. Does 1-12 (Case No. 4:17-cv-00404)
Filed: Feb 09, 2017, Judge: TBA

ME2 Productions, Inc. v. DOES (Case No. 4:17-cv-00275)
Filed: Jan 27, 2017, Judge: TBA

ME2 Productions, Inc. v. Does (Case No. 4:17-cv-00143)
Filed: Jan 17, 2017, Judge: TBA

For an analysis of the other ME2 Productions, Inc. bittorrent-based cases filed across the US, click here.


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.