BitTorrent Lawsuit Trends – ME2, Venice PI, UN4, Headhunter (8/2017)

malibu-media-anonymous-settlement

While we are far from the end of August, we have seen a significant shift in the filing trends of the ME2 Productions movie lawsuits, a continuing trend in the UN4 Productions movie lawsuits, growth in the Headhunter LLC movie lawsuits, and an expansion of the Venice PI LLC movie lawsuits.  This shift in filing trends is the subject of this NEW BITTORRENT CASE FILINGS UPDATE (8/2017). We also have seen the birth of a new baby copyright troll with just 2 cases in Oregon, “POW Nevada, LLC.”

NOTE: “POW” Nevada, LLC stands for “Prisoner of War,” and the movie they are suing for is called “Revolt (2017), a.k.a. Prisoner of War.” I saw the trailer for this movie, and while I am less than enthusiastic about the prisoner of war alternative title, all I could say is, “Killer Robot steel tentacles — I’m in!”

pow-nevada-revolt-trailer-screenshot
Yes, those are killer robot tentacles being launched at the soldier’s face.

Are the bittorrent cases coming to an end?

Obviously, it would be wishful thinking to think that we have won the war, and what is that war? Piracy is illegal and it hurts the content producers. However, the solution to piracy is not filing federal copyright infringement lawsuits alleging statutory damages of $150,000 against each and every accused downloader, regardless of whether they did the download or not. And, the solution to piracy is not to force hundreds of families (987 families were sued by the copyright troll lawyers last year) to choose between two bad choices — either empty their savings to pay a multi-thousand dollar settlement or hire an attorney (which also costs money) to stop the plaintiff attorney from coming after the accused defendants.

Bad Defense Litigation Attorneys

Defense attorneys who understand federal practice happily take clients who are accused of copyright infringement. They have read articles I or others have written, and they have read Prof. Matthew Sag’s “Defense Against the Dark Arts of Copyright Trolling” paper, which explains that even if the accused John Doe Defendant actually did the download (or, viewed the movie illegally using Popcorn Time software), they actually cannot prove that copyright infringement happened.

They will then tell their potential clients that “copyright law” gives the winner of the lawsuit all of their attorney fees (which is true in theory, but not in practice). In other words, “pay me $300/hour for the next 100 hours of work, and WHEN YOU WIN, you’ll get all that money back from the criminal copyright trolls who deserve everything that comes to them.” However, what they do not tell you is that attorney fees only get awarded to the party who “wins” the case when it is dismissed by a judge or a jury because they find that based on the evidence, no copyright infringement occurred. In other words, the legal speak for this is that attorney fee awards for copyright infringement lawsuits are only awarded “to the prevailing party who prevails ON THE MERITS.”

These defense attorneys are WELL AWARE that the copyright troll plaintiff attorneys are under instructions to dismiss an innocent defendant after discovery, but before the defense attorney files a summary judgement motion (the first place a judgement “on the merits” can happen).

Essentially, a summary judgement motion tells the court,

“Dear Judge, the plaintiff attorney has searched my client’s computer. He has asked my client questions under oath. He has conducted a video recording of my client answering his questions. With all this, he cannot prove the elements of copyright infringement, so please dismiss the case.”

Again, a plaintiff attorney will dismiss a defendant BEFORE the summary judgement is filed, which means that the defendant will LOSE all the tens of thousands of dollars he paid in attorney fees TO HIS OWN LAWYER!

Bad Settlement Factory Attorneys

I have already covered the topic of “bad settlement factory attorneys” here, and here (and here).

[Essentially, settlement factories pretend that they do not only settle clients, but every client interview leads to the answer of “you should settle,” or, “wait to see if they come after you and send you a settlement demand letter, then settle,” or some variation thereof.

If you retain a settlement factory attorney, you will be paying less for your attorney, but you do not get the value for the amount you are paying. Why? Because 1) the physical amount of time they actually spend on your settlement versus the amount of money you pay gives them a $500+/hour hidden rate because they actually do not negotiate your settlement price. As a result, the amount you end up paying ends up being significantly higher than if you just hired an attorney (me or anyone else) to negotiate a settlement to right way, without cutting any corners. Oh, and the settlement factories will provide you merely a boilerplate settlement agreement (which has you admit guilt, and which potentially opens you up to future lawsuits).

As a result of my articles exposing their methods, these settlement factories have altered their scripts claiming that they do actually negotiate each settlement price, and that they actually do negotiate the settlement agreements, but this is a marketing trick. They don’t, I’ve seen the agreements.]

So why is it relevant that there have only been six (6) cases filed so far this month?

I am writing this article on 8/8/2017, so we are only eight days into the month. However, one of the strengths of our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC is that we pay attention to:

  • which plaintiff attorneys are suing for copyright infringement on behalf of which movie production studios,
  • what the proclivities of each plaintiff attorney are (do they name and serve defendants, do they drag them through discovery before dismissing, or can we quickly negotiate a dismissal for an innocent client without paying a settlement),
  • what the mood of the federal court is where the lawsuits are filed (copyright trolls choose where to sue based on where they believe they will find “copyright troll friendly” judges) [this is called forum selection for those of you who are interested], and
  • whether the underlying movie company is willing to pay their attorney to name and serve clients and “drag them through the mud” before dismissing, or whether it is cost efficient, meaning, they pay attention to the bottom line.

Why I just spent an entire paragraph listing our law firm’s strengths is to share that when there is a change in a trend, we notice, and there has been a change in the trend.

So are copyright troll lawsuits dead?

Unfortunately, no, they are simply pacing themselves. Since we discovered in March 2017 the underlying “common copyright troll” link between each and every movie lawsuit filed in federal courts across the US, we have been watching which movie company sues, where, and how often. That way, when a “bittorrent lawsuit campaign” is coming to an end, we see this trend and cut off all funding, even for defendants who may have otherwise settled the claims against them. This might anger and provoke the plaintiff attorneys who diligently read my blog (“hello y’all”), but the simple matter is that I do not take every client who calls my office unlike other firms, and if I sense a campaign is over, I’ll tell them to avoid even my fees and just watch the case and wait for a dismissal. I’ll even teach them how to do it themselves, and I don’t charge them for this.

What trends have we spotted for August, 2017?

Now to the meat of the article. 🙂 Data described here includes ALL FILINGS across the US for July 1, 2017 – August 8, 2017.

ME2 PRODUCTIONS (MECHANIC:RESURRECTION) MOVIE LAWSUITS

ME2 Productions, Inc. cases are coming to an end, or at least that is how it appears. There have been four (4) cases filed in four courts (Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, and New York). *That is ONE lawsuit per state,* a mere “drip” compared to the volume of cases they have filed in recent months.

ME2 Productions Inc v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 2:17-cv-01077) (Washington Western District Court)
ME2 Productions, Inc v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-01810) (Colorado District Court)
ME2 Productions, Inc. v. Doe 1; et al. (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-00320) (Hawaii District Court)
ME2 Productions, Inc. v. Doe-67.85.69.69 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-05701) (New York Southern District Court)

UN4 PRODUCTIONS (BOYKA: UNDISPUTED 4) MOVIE LAWSUITS

The UN4 Productions ISP subpoena cases appear to be in the middle of their campaign. Cases are still being filed (predominantly in the Illinois Northern District Court), but there has also been a splattering of cases filed in Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, New York, and Texas [Texas is actually a new story, as having these cases expand into Texas with Gary Fischman as the plaintiff attorney is a new trend]). Aside from the Texas filings, you’ll notice the list of federal courts matches exactly with the list of courts where the ME2 Productions, Inc. cases are filed.

Expect to see more UN4 Productions, Inc. cases filed, as this lawsuit appears to be targeting “ethnic” defendants with “deeper pockets.” These include Arabic speaking defendants, French speaking defendants, and Spanish speaking defendants.

UN4 Productions, Inc. v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-01689) (Colorado District Court)
UN4 Productions, Inc. v. DOE Defendants 1-20 (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-00331) (Hawaii District Court)
UN4 Productions, Inc. v. Doe-72.89.251.15 (Case No. 1:17-cv-04400) (New York Eastern District Court)
UN4 Productions, Inc. v. Does 1-16 (Case No. Case No. 4:17-cv-02115) (Texas Southern District Court)
UN4 PRODUCTIONS, INC. v. DOES 1-17 (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-05563) (Illinois Northern District Court)
UN4 PRODUCTIONS, INC. v. DOES 1-19 (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-05561) (Illinois Northern District Court)
UN4 PRODUCTIONS, INC. v. DOES 1-26 (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-05565) (Illinois Northern District Court)
UN4 PRODUCTIONS, INC. v. DOES 1-31 (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-05567) (Illinois Northern District Court)
UN4 PRODUCTIONS, INC. v. DOES 1-35 (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-05569) (Illinois Northern District Court)

HEADHUNTER LLC (“A FAMILY MAN”) MOVIE LAWSUITS

The Headhunter movie lawsuit campaign is still in its infancy. Only appearing on the scene recently, most of their cases are also young and in their infancy. This means that even though cases have already been filed across the US, federal judges have not yet approved the plaintiffs’ requests to send subpoenas to the ISPs of accused defendants to unmask their identities. Thus, many of those who have been accused of being John Doe defendants do not even know they have been implicated in their lawsuits.

Headhunter LLC lawsuits in sum have already “dropped their seeds,” and now while they wait for those filings to sprout and ensnare hundreds of families across the US for the “A Family Man” movie (irony), Headhunder, LLC is expanding the scope and bredth of their filings, and they are filing in liberal states (Texas is very conservative as a rule, but the city of Houston, and the various nerve centers are all liberal — that way they can vote Republican in every federal election, but they vote Democrat in-state to provide services to Texas citizens). I have not figured out the relevance of their choosing this demographic to sue for the “A Family Man” movie, but as these cases mature, I’ll begin to see the trends as they unfold.

Headhunter LLC v. Doe-173.56.227.169 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-05314) (New York Southern District Court)
Headhunter LLC v. Doe-69.124.0.132 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-04155) (New York Eastern District Court)
Headhunter LLC v. Doe-72.80.132.46 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-05895) (New York Southern District Court)
Headhunter, LLC v. Doe-73.191.98.246 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00793) (Virginia Eastern District Court)
Headhunter, LLC v. Does 1-17 (Case No. Case No. 4:17-cv-02352) (Texas Southern District Court)
Headhunter, LLC v. Does 1-9 (Case No. Case No. 5:17-cv-00069) (Virginia Western District Court)
HEADHUNTER, LLC v. JOHN DOES 1-10 (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-02985) (Pennsylvania Eastern District Court)
HEADHUNTER, LLC v. JOHN DOES 1-11 (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-02986) (Pennsylvania Eastern District Court)

Stay tuned; there will be many more of these lawsuits.

VENICE PI (“ONCE UPON A TIME IN VENICE”) MOVIE LAWSUITS

I wonder if Bruce Willis knew when he took this role that in addition to the “Once Upon a Time in Venice” movie destroying his reputation, it would also spawn a slew of copyright infringement lawsuits which destroy the lives of hundreds of families across the US. Venice PI movie lawsuits are in FULL SWING and are being accelerated and expanded across the US. This simply means that the Venice PI copyright holder is happy with the initial results of early lawsuits, and they are investing significantly more money into the enforcement of their copyright rights.

What this means for you if you are a defendant in this lawsuit is that the plaintiff attorneys across the US are likely funded and able to spend large amounts of time and hours going after the many defendants for Venice PI, LLC cases. This means that they will likely name and serve defendants who do not settle, and they will drag innocent defendants into and through discovery before dismissing them. Contrast this to a cost conscious copyright holder who wants to spend as little as possible on their copyright trolling campaign — defendants from the cost conscious copyright holders will be dismissed outright and any naming and serving of defendants will be for “face saving” purposes only (e.g., to fool the federal judges into thinking that these copyright holder plaintiffs are “serious” about proceeding against those downloaders who actually downloaded the film).

This copyright holder will likely be a problem for accused defendants.

Because there are so many new defendants implicated by Venice PI, LLC, I am sorting the lawsuits by state so that it is easier to see how many families will be affected by these lawsuits.

Venice PI ISP Subpoena cases recently filed in the Colorado District Court (5)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-01664)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-01787)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-01861)
VENICE PI, LLC v. John Does 1 – 15 (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-01870)
Venice PI, LLC. v. John Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-01850)

Venice PI ISP Subpoena cases recently filed in the Indiana Northern District Court (4)
(NOTE: I was just there a few weeks ago.)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-00284)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-00285)
VENICE PI, LLC v. DOE 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-02274)
VENICE PI, LLC v. DOE 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-02328)

Venice PI ISP Subpoena cases recently filed in the New York Southern and Eastern District Courts (3)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe-24.44.143.124 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-04249)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe-68.173.101.58 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-04076)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe-66.108.113.178 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-05594)

Venice PI ISP Subpoena cases recently filed in the North Carolina District Courts (11)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 5:17-cv-00337)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 5:17-cv-00339)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 5:17-cv-00340)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-11 (Case No. Case No. 5:17-cv-00334)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-12 (Case No. Case No. 5:17-cv-00333)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-14 (Case No. Case No. 5:17-cv-00367)
VENICE PI, LLC v. DOES 1-10 (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-00671)
VENICE PI, LLC v. DOES 1-10 (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-00676)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-10 (Case No. Case No. 3:17-cv-00409)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-10 (Case No. Case No. 3:17-cv-00445)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-11 (Case No. Case No. 5:17-cv-00128)

Venice PI ISP Subpoena cases recently filed in the Pennsylvania Eastern District Court (5)
VENICE PI, LLC v. JOHN DOES 1-10 (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-03322)
VENICE PI, LLC v. JOHN DOES 1-11 (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-03324)
VENICE PI, LLC v. JOHN DOES 1-14 (Case No. 2:17-cv-03325)
VENICE PI, LLC v. JOHN DOES 1-7 (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-03323)
VENICE PI, LLC v. JOHN DOES 1-8 (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-03326)

Venice PI ISP Subpoena cases recently filed in the Texas Southern District Court (4)
(NOTE: I wrote about these cases here.)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-10 (Case No. Case No. 4:17-cv-02285)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-13 (Case No. Case No. 4:17-cv-02395)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-16 (Case No. Case No. 4:17-cv-02203)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-16 (Case No. Case No. 4:17-cv-02244)

Venice PI ISP Subpoena cases recently filed in the Washington Western District Court (6)
Venice PI LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-01074)
Venice PI LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-01075)
Venice PI LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-01076)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-01160)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-01163)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. Case No. 2:17-cv-01164)

Venice PI ISP Subpoena case recently filed in the Hawaii District Court (1)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1; et al. (Case No. Case No. 1:17-cv-00335), and

Venice PI ISP Subpoena case recently filed in the Virginia Western District Court (1)
Venice PI, LLC v. DOES 1-15 (Case No. Case No. 5:17-cv-00070)

THE ANOMALY: POW NEVADA, LLC (REVOLT)

If I called Headhunter, LLC movie lawsuits an “infant,” then POW Nevada, LLC would be a newborn. POW Nevada is suing downloaders for the sci-fi movie “Revolt.” The movie trailer for this film looks intense. While this movie has not yet appeared on Carl Crowell’s RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT (RIGHTSENFORCEMENT.COM) list of clients, he is indeed the plaintiff attorney for these lawsuits. Thus, once again, this appears to be a “common copyright troll” lawsuit scenario. There are only two test cases currently filed against two defendants, so let’s see what happens with this copyright holder. If the copyright holder’s lawsuits start metastasizing into federal courts across the US, I’ll pay more attention to this one. For now, it’s a newborn and there are only two defendants.

POW Nevada ISP Subpoena test cases filed in the Oregon District Court (2)
POW Nevada v. Doe-73.157.238.5 (3:17-cv-01134)
POW Nevada, LLC v. Doe-76.27.245.245 (3:17-cv-01133)

POW Nevada LLC | Prisoner-of_War-Revolt-Image Croped

In Summary

I would hate to end with a whimper rather than a bang, but really, the answer is that there are movie lawsuit campaigns — each one has its beginning, its peak, and its end.

As you can see, the ME2 Productions, Inc. cases have had their run. Now in full swing are the UN4 Productions cases, the Venice PI cases, and the Headhunter LLC cases. I.T. Productions (the “I.T”. Movie Lawsuits) didn’t go anywhere, and Cook Productions (the “Mr. Church” movie lawsuits) might still be around, although I never sensed much unity of purpose across the various federal courts from these cases.

As far as number of cases filed, this month in August, it appears as if the movie lawsuits are taking a breather. There is definitely a slowdown, perhaps because the college kids are on summer break, and the real lawsuits will start being filed after they return to college. On average, these movie copyright trolls file around 40 cases each month, with occasional spikes of 100+ cases in a “high season,” and 200+ cases filed in the spring.

VENICE PI, LLC (“ONCE UPON A TIME IN VENICE”) LAWSUITS

venice-pi-subpoena-once-upon-a-time-in-venice-movie-lawsuit Venice PI

I have added this page for internet users who have become entangled in the Venice PI, LLC (a.k.a. the “Once Upon a Time in Venice”) movie lawsuit cases.  The goal here is to keep up to date on this plaintiff, and to discuss their various cases.  Should you learn of any updates regarding one of their cases, or you hear that a Venice PI subpoena has been issued to an ISP, please post it here using the following format — (e.g., “Venice PI, LLC v. John Does 1-20 (Case No. 2:17-cv-00029) filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina”).  Please also feel free to post new cases you find where Venice PI, LLC is listed as the plaintiff.

Venice PI subpoena ISP, Once Upon a Time in Venice movie lawsuit

Venice PI, LLC v. Does Lawsuits

Venice PI, LLC is suing for copyright infringement based on the the illegal download of the “Once Upon a Time in Venice (2017)” movie, starring Bruce Willis.  The lawsuits are all copyright infringement lawsuits filed in the Federal Courts, and each lawsuit sues for statutory damages of $150,000.

Accused internet users [in receipt of VENICE PI subpoenas] are made aware of these cases when they are sent a letter from their ISP (e.g., CenturyLink, Comcast, Hawaii Telecom, Verizon Fios, Time Warner Cable, etc.), which informs them 1) they are implicated as a “John Doe” Defendant in this case, and 2) the ISP is bound by a subpoena to share the account holder’s contact information (and relevant information about their IP address’ involvement in the case) on a certain due date unless the subscriber files an objection to the Venice PI subpoena with the court (referring to a “motion to quash“).

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

Remember to please exercise discretion when posting (e.g., do not post your real name or e-mail address), and as usual, avoid using vulgar or offensive language (both towards the plaintiff and towards other users).

[CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: If you have a question for an attorney about the Venice PI, LLC cases and options on how to proceed (even specifically for your case), you can e-mail us at info[at]cashmanlawfirm.com, you can set up a free and confidential phone consultation to speak to us about your Venice PI, LLC case, or you can call us at 713-364-3476 (this is our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC’s number].

RECENT CASE HISTORY OF THE VENICE PI SUBPOENA CASES:

VENICE PI ISP subpoenas ordered in the Texas Southern District Court
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-16 (Case No. 4:17-cv-02203)

VENICE PI ISP subpoenas ordered in the various North Carolina District Courts

Venice PI subpoena cases in the North Carolina Eastern District Court:
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-12 (Case No. 5:17-cv-00337)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-11 (Case No. 5:17-cv-00334)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-12 (Case No. 5:17-cv-00333)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 5:17-cv-00340)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 5:17-cv-00339)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 4:17-cv-00089)

Venice PI subpoena cases in the North Carolina Middle District Court:
VENICE PI, LLC v. DOES 1-11 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00611)
VENICE PI, LLC v. DOES 1-18 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00610)

Venice PI subpoena cases in the North Carolina Western District Court:
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-10 (Case No. 3:17-cv-00409)
Venice PI, LLC v. Does 1-10 (Case No. 1:17-cv-00170)

VENICE PI ISP subpoena ordered in the New York District Courts
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe-68.173.101.58 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-04076)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe-24.44.143.124 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-04249)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe-24.187.92.79 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-04904)

VENICE PI ISP subpoenas ordered in the Oregon District Court
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe-73.96.114.240 (Case No. 3:17-cv-01002)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe-71.59.242.118 (Case No. 3:17-cv-01001)

VENICE PI ISP subpoenas ordered in the Indiana Northern & Southern District Courts
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 2:17-cv-00284)
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 2:17-cv-00285)
VENICE PI, LLC v. DOE 1 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-02274)
VENICE PI, LLC v. DOE 1 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-02328)

VENICE PI ISP subpoenas ordered in the Colorado District Court
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 1:17-cv-01664)

VENICE PI ISP subpoenas ordered in the Hawaii District Court
Venice PI, LLC v. Doe 1; et al. (Case No. 1:17-cv-00335)

VENICE PI ISP subpoenas ordered in the Washington Western District Court
Venice PI LLC v. Doe 1 et al (Case No. 2:17-cv-01076, Case No. 2:17-cv-01075, Case No. 2:17-cv-01074, Case No. 2:17-cv-00988, Case No. 2:17-cv-00990, Case No. 2:17-cv-00991)

[CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: If you have a question for an attorney about the Venice PI subpoena-based cases and options on how to proceed (even specifically for your case), you can e-mail us at info[at]cashmanlawfirm.com, you can set up a free and confidential phone consultation to speak to us about your Venice PI subpoena, or you can call us at 713-364-3476 (this is our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC’s number].

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

BLOG POSTS:

Article(s) Written on the Once Upon a Time in Venice / Venice PI subpoenas:

Venice PI LLC (not so “new” copyright troll) filing in select Carl Crowell local counsel courts,” written on 7/20/2017

Everything you need to know in one page about your Venice PI, LLC (“Once Upon a Time in Venice”) Movie Lawsuit and ISP subpoena,” written on 7/17/2017

HOW AN ATTORNEY SHOULD REPRESENT A VENICE PI SUBPOENA CLIENT:

Because bittorrent-based copyright infringement cases appear to be similar, I thought it would be beneficial to take a few moments and simplify the process. That way, when you pay an attorney, you will know exactly what the attorney will be doing.  (Look here for an article on when to hire an attorney, and at what point does it become too late to hire an attorney.)

Here are the steps your attorney (us, or anyone else) should be taking on your behalf.

STEP 1) STOP PLAINTIFF FROM CONTACTING YOU OR ANYONE ELSE ON YOUR BEHALF (WORKPLACE) ABOUT THE CLAIMS AGAINST YOU.

Once your plaintiff attorney learns that you are represented by an attorney, all communication must be with that attorney alone. Phone calls or letters to client directly once a notice of representation is provided can jeopardize that attorney’s law license.

STEP 2) RESEARCH AND DISCUSS CLAIMS COMPARING PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY’S DATA OF USE VERSUS ACTUAL USE OR NON-USE.

Carl Crowell and his local counsel across the US (here in Texas, Gary Fischman) appear to be researching the claims and linking the accused IP addresses to determine whether that accused defendant has been involved in the download of other copyrighted films.  They appear to be watching the activity of the IP address (specifically, before and after the date the ISP sends the subpoena notice to the account holders) to see if there is a change in the downloading activity of the accused subscriber.

It is important to share truthful information with your defense attorney so that claims against you can be disputed with facts and dates.  The plaintiff attorneys have data that they rely on, but their reliance on that data is based on a STORY which may or may not have an alternative explanation.  Obviously, your attorney should have the common sense to discuss the claims in order to refute their story without admitting guilt on your behalf.

STEP 3) DISCUSS AND NEGOTIATE SETTLEMENT OPTIONS WITH PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY, WHETHER BY PAYING A SETTLEMENT FEE, OR NO SETTLEMENT (PROCEED WITH LAWSUIT).

Normally the plaintiff attorneys in a copyright infringement lawsuit (or more frequently, a bittorrent-based “copyright troll” lawsuit) will immediately approach a settlement regardless of guilt or wrongdoing. This is not always the case with the Venice PI, LLC attorneys, as they do not always offer settlements to accused defendants.

The “no settlement” letter option is obviously the scenario where the client did not do the download, or the plaintiff attorney was unwilling to come to an amicable arrangement.

Obviously if neither side can agree on an early solution to the problem, then yes, it makes sense to proceed to allow the plaintiff attorney to name and serve your client, file an answer with the court, and proceed with defending your client’s interests in the courtroom.

STEP 4) NEGOTIATE PRICE (IF BENEFICIAL, CONSIDERING CLIENT’S ABILITY TO PAY). PROVIDE DOCUMENTATION OR STATEMENT IF NECESSARY TO SUBSTANTIATE CLAIMS.

Many accused defendants downloaded the copyrighted movie not realizing that the download was illegal.  This is because there is software (e.g., Popcorn Time) which, on its face, appears to be legitimate.  However, unbeknownst to the end user, Popcorn Time uses a bittorrent backbone in order to acquire the file for the end user.  It is here that the account holder gets ‘caught’ downloading the video, because his/her real IP address is exposed as the Popcorn Time software joins one or more bittorrent swarms in order to acquire the video.

popcorn_time-venice-pi-subpoena-once-upon-a-time-in-venice-movie-lawsuit

Unfortunately, it is not always known whether a software source is legitimate or not.  For example, as far as I understand, the videos presented on the Popcorn Time software are usually pirated, and downloading the videos or viewing the videos can get the end user sued for copyright infringement.  Contrast this with other movie sources, e.g., Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc., these are legitimate.  However, there are many “in between” software platforms and websites which appear to be legitimate, but may not be.  Most notoriously – Crackle.  So far, to me it looks as if Crackle movies are legitimate and can be viewed without being sued for copyright infringement, but I could easily be wrong and we will not know this until the lawsuits start flying.

Regardless of the intention of how the video was acquired, downloaded, or viewed, this is our goal — to have the circumstances of the accused defendant be relevant and useful in a negotiation with Venice PI, LLC to arrive at a settlement price the client can afford.

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STEP 4A) IF ATTORNEY IS UNCOOPERATIVE, CONSIDER ARGUING FOR MINIMUM STATUTORY DAMAGES

Obviously this is not a preferred outcome, but it still must be considered.  If an attorney is unwilling to settle (or if he or she is being unreasonable in settlement negotiations, e.g., asking for too much money, or requiring the client to take some action outside negotiating a settlement agreement), there is another alternative strategy.  Have your attorney file an answer on your behalf, admit guilt to the claims of copyright infringement, and argue for what is called “minimum statutory damages” of $750 plus the other side’s attorney fees (which at this point would be minimal).  While not a preferred alternative, it is a method of forcing a reasonable settlement amount upon the plaintiff attorney if the download actually occurred.

STEP 5) NEGOTIATE TERMS OF SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT.

The settlement agreement should be specific to the claims of copyright infringement, and they should include the nuances of contract law in order to ensure the agreement is enforceable.  The terms should not ‘admit guilt’ on behalf of the client, and the scope of the contract should include not only the accused defendant (the account holder), but also the household and/or family members.

There are other crucial elements to have in a settlement agreement (e.g., attorney fee shifting specific to copyright infringement lawsuits), but the above should be sufficient.

STEP 6) HAVE PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY SIGN AGREEMENT(S), THEN HAVE CLIENT SIGN AGREEMENT(S) AND PROCESS SETTLEMENT PAYMENT.

This is self explanatory. Venice PI, LLC is not bound to an agreement until they sign it (or until their attorney with authority to sign signs it on their behalf as their agent). Attorneys generally try to get the John Doe Defendant to sign first and pay their settlement fee, and then ‘maybe’ the plaintiff attorney will sign it, and ‘maybe’ the attorney will accept the payment, and ‘maybe’ the attorney will release that defendant from liability once the settlement is received. These are games a plaintiff attorney may play, and for this reason, it is advisable to have the defense attorney insist that the plaintiff attorney sign the agreement first in order to bind their client to the terms of the agreement… before their client signs the agreement or pays a penny in settlement of the claims against them.

STEP 7) FOLLOW-UP WITH PLAINTIFF TO HAVE CLIENT’S “JOHN DOE” ENTITY DISMISSED FROM CASE.

Once again, this is self explanatory, but unfortunately, it must be a step. Too often, plaintiff attorneys have the clients sign first and pay first, and then when they get around to it, they’ll sign the agreement and release that defendant from liability. However, this could take weeks or months.

The reason for this is because once their client has their money, without being contract-bound to release the defendant from the lawsuit (assuming the John Doe Defendant signed first), the John Doe Defendant who paid their settlement fee becomes a lower priority to the busy plaintiff attorney (who is juggling sometimes hundreds of defendants in multiple cases) who is more worried about the due dates for their other cases, or who is more worried about extracting settlements from other defendants. This is why it is important in STEP 6) for the plaintiff attorney to sign the agreement first.

Nevertheless, even with a signed agreement, sometimes the plaintiff attorneys need ‘reminders’ to do what they are duty-bound to do. Thus, your attorney should not close the client’s file when payment is sent, but rather, the attorney should stay on top of the plaintiff attorney until the dismissal is actually filed in the court dismissing that John Doe Defendant from liability.

[CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: If you have a question for an attorney about the Venice PI, LLC cases and options on how to proceed (even specifically for your case), you can e-mail us at info[at]cashmanlawfirm.com, you can set up a free and confidential phone consultation to speak to us about your Venice PI, LLC case, or you can call us at 713-364-3476 (this is our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC’s number].

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TIMELINE: VENICE PI SUBPOENAS AND HOW TO HANDLE THEM

Any Venice PI, LLC “copyright troll” bittorrent-based copyright infringement lawsuit really revolves around the VENICE PI subpoena which moves from the court to the accused John Doe Defendants.  Tracking a Venice PI subpoena can help an accused defendant understand the timelines of when they can fight, when they can settle, when they can ignore, and whether they are anonymous or not at each step.

NOTE: I have moved the contents of this section to its own article, because the topic of “Subpoena Stages and Anonymity” is not limited to the Venice PI / “Once Upon a Time in Venice” movie cases.

VENICE PI Subpoena is first introduced to the court for approval.

A VENICE PI subpoena is first introduced to the court when the plaintiff attorney files the lawsuit and asks the court for permission to obtain the identities of the various internet users accused of downloading Venice PI LLC’s “Once Upon a Time in Venice (2017)” movie.

VENICE PI Subpoena, once approved by the court, is sent to the ISP.

The federal judge approves the VENICE PI subpoena (usually by rubber stamp), and the VENICE PI subpoenas are then sent to the “abuse” department of the various ISPs (e.g., AT&T U-verse, COX Communications, Comcast, etc.).  These ISPs in receipt of the VENICE PI subpoena are ordered to hand over the accused subscriber’s information to the plaintiff attorney.  They send a notice to the account holder that a VENICE PI subpoena has been received, and that they are under a duty to comply with the subpoena by a certain date unless the account holder files a Motion to Quash the VENICE PI subpoena before the arbitrary deadline they set (usually the deadline is 30 days from the notice sent to the subscriber).

The ISP forwards the VENICE PI Subpoena to the accused account holder giving him a chance to file an objection with the court.

You (the account holder) receive the notice containing the VENICE PI subpoena, and you learn that you are implicated as a “John Doe” (an unnamed defendant) in the Venice PI, LLC v. Does lawsuit.  At this point, you are still anonymous.

The ISP complies with the VENICE PI Subpoena and hands over your contact information to the plaintiff attorney.

Assuming you do not file the Motion to Quash (there are many articles on this website explaining why you might not do so), the 30-day deadline set by your ISP will lapse, and your ISP will comply with the VENICE PI subpoena.  They turn over your information to the PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY (but not to the court or anyone else).  You are still anonymous.

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The exact moment your anonymity expires.

At this point, the life of the VENICE PI subpoena is over, as it has served its purpose and the plaintiff attorney is in receipt of your contact information (and whatever other information your ISP was forced to hand over to it).  At this point, you are a “John Doe” defendant in the lawsuit, and only your plaintiff attorney knows your real identity.  YOU ARE STILL ANONYMOUS at this point (as to the court and the world, as the plaintiff attorney is not going to share your information unless he decides to name and serve you as a defendant in the lawsuit).

Your anonymity expires once the VENICE PI plaintiff attorney realizes that he or she cannot get a settlement from you, and based on their evidence that you are the downloader of their “Once Upon a Time in Venice (2017)” movie, they file an amended complaint with the court with your name as a defendant, and they serve you with a copy of the complaint.  At this point, you have been “named and served,” and you are no longer anonymous.  At this point, you need to decide whether it makes more sense to stand and defend against the claims against you (again, consider the attorney fees issue), or to negotiate a settlement and amicably step away from the lawsuit.

NOTE: If you choose to fight, be aware of Prof. Matthew Sag’s paper entitled “Defense Against the Dark Arts of Copyright Trolling,” and the considerations surrounding using what are otherwise “valid” defenses to copyright infringement which likely DO apply to your case.

[CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: If you have a question for an attorney about the Venice PI, LLC cases and options on how to proceed (even specifically for your case), you can e-mail us at info[at]cashmanlawfirm.com, you can set up a free and confidential phone consultation to speak to us about your Venice PI, LLC case, or you can call us at 713-364-3476 (this is our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC’s number].

In sum, about this article.

In sum, copyright infringement cases are all similar, but each one has its nuances. The steps described in this article apply to any John Doe Defendant in any copyright infringement lawsuit, and for this reason, I wrote this article 1) to not only give the client an understanding of the steps which are required in representing a client prior to being named and served in a John Doe lawsuit, but more importantly, 2) to allow that client to hold their lawyer’s toes to the fire and make sure they are being represented carefully and individually.


[CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: If you have a question for an attorney about the Venice PI, LLC cases and options on how to proceed (even specifically for your case), you can e-mail us at info[at]cashmanlawfirm.com, you can set up a free and confidential phone consultation to speak to us about your Venice PI, LLC case, or you can call us at 713-364-3476 (this is our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC’s number].

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

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

    RIGHTSENFORCEMENT – New Movies Which Will Become Lawsuits

    CEG-TEK-DMCA-Scare-Letters

    RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT still obtaining new movie company copyrights to “enforce.”

    Yesterday, while researching the new Headhunter, LLC North Carolina bittorrent-based copyright infringement cases, I checked back on Carl Crowell’s  RIGHTSENFORCEMENT.com website looking for movies which will be lawsuits to look to see whether “A Family Man (2016)” belonged to Crowell’s “common troll” entity, and I was surprised to see that  a whole slew of new movies are now listed on their “client” list. I suspect that these are movies which will be lawsuits in the near future.

    To learn more about RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT and everything I know about them to date, click here.

    New RIGHTSENFORCEMENT.com Movies

    NOTE: The last time I wrote about RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT and Carl Crowell’s new production company clients was in the “RIGHTSENFORCEMENT, New Movie Lawsuits” Article, written on 4/28/2017.

    Here is a list of the new movies I’ve “spied” on their website:

    july-rightsenforcement-new-movie-copyright-trolls-1
    • This Beautiful Fantastic
    • Black Butterfly
    • Rupture
    • In Dubious Battle
    • HopeLost
    • Beyond the Sun
    • Arctic Justice (Thunder Squad)
    • All Road Lead to Rome
    july-rightsenforcement-new-movie-copyright-trolls-2
    july-rightsenforcement-new-movie-copyright-trolls-3
    july-rightsenforcement-new-movie-copyright-trolls-4
    • Playing it Cool
    • The Company You Keep
    • The Destination
    • Secret Scripture
    • Once Upon a Time in Venice,

    …AND OTHER MOVIE TITLES I HAVE ALREADY WRITTEN ABOUT.

    What does this mean to an internet user who has downloaded or streamed this movie using bittorrent, Popcorntime, and/or some other “free” streaming service?

    What this means is that they are hard at work contacting production companies / copyright holders for newer movies (a.k.a., “floppers) which have not done so well in the theaters.  They convince these companies to license the rights to “enforce” that movie company’s copyrights (think, sue in a “copyright troll” lawsuit looking for settlements).  Then they have their local counsel file “John Doe” lawsuits in select federal courts (where the judges are friendly to them, or where the lawsuits are otherwise profitable).

    What will happen to me if I have been caught downloading one of these films?

    Honestly, at the moment, likely nothing, at least not yet.  There are two ways that Carl Crowell and his team of local attorneys across the US have been enforcing their client’s copyrights.

    1. By sending a DMCA notice directly to the accused downloader through the ISP.  Here, the DMCA notice directs the accused downloader to visit the Rightsenforcement.com website, and pay a settlement for each title allegedly downloaded or streamed using bittorrent, Popcorntime, and (yes, I have heard about this too, but I do not yet understand the mechanics of it), KODI on an Amazon Fire TV Stick.
    2. By filing a copyright infringement lawsuit for $150,000 statutory damages against a set of “John Doe” defendants who were each accused of uploading and/or downloading a particular movie using bittorrent (or an app like Popcorntime which still uses bittorrent to stream movies to its users).

    What is the relevance that this list of movies is changing?

    The fact that the list of movies is changing means that there are now new copyright holder production companies who have “signed on” to the business model of copyright trolling.  Politics and policy aside, this means that the copyrights on these movies (and the infringement, or the illegal downloading, uploading, duplication, and/or streaming of these movies without a license) will be the subject of future lawsuits.

    If you look lower down on the RIGHTSENFORCEMENT.COM client list, you will see titles such as “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Mr. Church,” “The Cobbler,” “Cell,” “Fathers and Daughters,” “I.T.,” “Mechanic: Resurrection,” “Septembers of Shiraz,” “Survivor,” “Automata,” “London Has Fallen,” “Criminal,” “Eliminators,” and more recently, “Undisputed 4,” and “A Family Man.”  Each of these movies have been (and continue to be) the subjects of copyright infringement lawsuits across the federal courts in the U.S.

    Expect these new movies to be subjects of coming lawsuits as well.

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