It’s all started with a comment on one of this blog’s articles (the original spelling has been preserved):

It really really stinks but people are getting sued all over the country in federal AND state courts. The federal ones are the only ones that you can search, but I got sued in state court and ended up settling for $7500 with US Copyright Group. I could have gotten out for $3500 with the letter I got but I went ahead and agred to the $7500 settlement since my attorney wanted $10,000 on retainer just to file an answer. Take my advice: settle early, and try to do it yourself. Call the law firm and tell them you have an unsecured router, and offer them $1000 less than what they ask for and see if they will take it. You might be pleasantly surprised, and if they won’t agree, you arent out ANY MONEY. The copyright defense lawyers are just as bad as the ones doing the suing. This site definitely has it right: www.legalcopyrightreform.com I wish i’d seen it 6 months ago before i rolled the dice and blew the whole thing off. I keep reading “don’t feed the trolls, don’t settle”, but the people shooting that off arent going to be there to pay my attorney when I get sued. it is easy to just say “don’t pay” but they don’t have to deal with the conseuqences. I am all for this coalition group’s stance–they need to revise the whole copyright act!!!

Because my bullshit detector is very sensitive, it overheated immediately. And when I followed the link in this comment I found a cynical and predatory assault on common sense.

Half-truths have been always worse than pure lies. An unsuspecting visitor may be deceived by the lashing of trolls in the first paragraphs: it plays nicely along the feelings of copyright trolls’ victims. But little by little one can discover really strange ideas.

The worst and most dangerous part of this site is its main message: settle early. Anyone in his/her clear mind wouldn’t come up with such an insane conclusion after just an hour of research.

Some lies on this site do not even pass a laugh test:

If you get named and personally sued . . . well you didn’t take this advice. Call a lawyer and deal with it. There are at least 100 cases where downloaders got sued individually and didn’t respond to the lawsuit and had $30,000 judgments AND attorneys fees charged to them. Now those trolls are taking houses, cars, bank accounts etc. . . .

or

We are a group of retired and practicing lawyers, law school professors, legal analysts, and concerned citizens who all share a common bond and goal: To promote and help facilitate the widespread and much-needed reform of the U.S. Copyright Act.

Really? Lawyers lashing lawyers for being paid for their job? Lawyers giving an advice to deal with trolls without retaining an attorney? Law school professors who can’t spell and have a terrible writing style? Unbelievable impudence.

The site cynically links to the Public Knowledge donation page to create an impression of legitimacy. I asked the guys from PK about www.legalcopyrightreform.com and as expected, they never heard about it.

As I suspected, this “group” is actually a single guy named Malloch O’Brennan (the name may be fake), who has resorted to Google sites with the worst possible theme in stock.

Here is the legalcopyrightreform.com WHOIS info

   domain: legalcopyrightreform.com
   created: 22-Aug-2011
   last-changed: 22-Aug-2011
   registration-expiration: 22-Aug-2012
  
   registrant-firstname: Malloch
   registrant-lastname: Obrennan
   registrant-street1: 1200 24th St NW
   registrant-pcode: 20037
   registrant-state: DC
   registrant-city: Washington
   registrant-ccode: US
   registrant-phone: +1.2025299934
   registrant-email: mallochb@gmail.com

By the way the address in the registry is the address of an underground parking garage under the Fairmont hotel.

This guy is spreading his lies all over the blogosphere: I saw posts similar to the one I mentioned above on TechDirt, ArsTechnica and TorrentFreak discussion boards. Different names — same sick agenda. This comment is from the ArsTechnica discussion board:

truedaddy wrote:

Wow these English blokes sure started a trend here in the States. Unfortunately for us, the attorneys doing this crap here are actually suing people, and there is a whole network of plaintiffs attorneys representing the studios and targeting individual downloaders in their home states. On June 9th, a Massachusetts judge awarded a judgment in that Far Cry case of $30,000 plus attorneys fees for downloading the movie. On July 5th another $30,000 award against a downloader of the Steam Experiment movie in Virginia (Eastern District), which is the max under the Copyright Act. I read there have been several hundred filed across the country and not just in Federal Court.

With these results, the troll attorneys are going to be all over these cases to go after all the people who didn’t settle. It is just pathetic that these thousands of people who refuse to settle in the “pay up or else” scheme are actually going to spend the rest of their lives paying off these judgments or have to declare bankruptcy.

Update: I was happy to find out that TorrentFreak community flagged a similar fear-mongering comment from this guy (this time as “JohnDoe2033″) recently, so I can’t quote it.

So now when you have had a chance to browse his site, what do you think?

Update

9/26/11: legalcopyrightreform.com now points nowhere. The Google site is still there though: https://sites.google.com/site/legalcopyrightreform/

9/28/11: There is another site, slightly different: https://sites.google.com/site/lglcr1 There is a suspicion that Kenneth Ford is behind this scam. Good news: google search on “legalcopyrightreform.com” or “Legal Coalition for Copyright Reform” yields this article as #1 result :)

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Comments
  1. TAC says:

    Snipped from this pile of crap…

    “a. Check the name on the notice. If it is not you – then you may not be responsible. By contract all ISPs and the Federal statute place the liability on the account holder and as such only that person can be held accountable.”

    There is no liability for the account holder for actions done without the account holders permission or knowledge.
    Randazza recently settled a case and demanded a large chunk of change where that person said they were at fault as the account holder, but no court has ruled in this manner.

    If someone steals your car out of the driveway, and robs a bank… do you think they can arrest you as a bank robber? They might question you, but having no involvement beyond the misfortune of someone using something you owned for bad deeds your not responsible.

    ProTip – The name on the notice will ALWAYS be the name of the person who pays the bill, its the only information the ISP can provide.

    Did you know an anagram of his name is – Cannonball Homer…. hurm…. not the first time we’ve seen a troll using anagrams. There were over 6000 hits from this name.
    These were fun outcomes too…
    70. Conman Hall Borne
    71. Conman Hall Boner
    72. Conman Llano Herb

    “Note that most ISPs report the MAC address of your computer to the law firms and can tell if you produce a fake computer.”

    ProTip – They get the MAC address of the modem or router not of the machine.

    Report this moron to Google for offering legal advice without a law degree.

    His registrar charges 99 cents for a domain for a year.

    I remain…
    TAC

  2. Jack says:

    I’m sure there is disinformation written in forums designed to frighten people into thinking that they’d better pay up, guilty or not, proven or not, just because of the potential legal costs of defending themselves.

    In the UK speculative invoicing scam involving ACS:Law, letter recipients were joining and viewing forums such as Slyck to seek help. Some rather brashley said ignore them and others said you must send a letter of denial in order to avoid a default judgement.
    ACS:Law didn’t intend taking anyone to court, they were relying on the proportion of letter recipients who would be frightened into paying up.

    My problem with sending a letter of denial is that it opened the door for the crooked solicitor to reply with a template letter which they judged best countered your argument, designed to further entrap you and lead into correspondence which manoeuvres you into a situation which you won’t be able to get out of, even though you might be completely innocent. The paralegals discuss pre-approved paragraphs and templates in the email leak and sort LODs into folders to receive the template responses.

    These lawyers are completely abusing the legal system, doing the “right thing” by sending a LOD isn’t necessarily going to be helpful to you. It is undeniable that those in the UK who chose to ignore the letters from ACS:Law didn’t get into any trouble, but those who chose to settle won’t be getting their money back. Crossley actually told the SRA that nobody was obliged to pay up following a letter from him, but many had interpreted the letter as a threat and chose to pay to make it go away.

    Speculative invoicing is a designed fraud, constructed to entrap people who do the right thing by sending a letter of denial. The lawyers involved should be struck off and prosecuted as criminals.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Read this a couple of minutes ago:

    https://anonsofliberty.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/old-case-lookup-imperial-enterprises-inc-v-does-1-3545-111-cv-00529-rbw/#comments

    A named defendant claims and makes a case to settle, even offers a “helpful’ website.

    Doe this looks like the works of a troll dressed in sheep’s clothing?

    • Yep, trapped refers to the site of that m-ucker, but it does not look to me that all today’s discussion is staged, I’m sure trapped just stumbled upon that poisonous site. Thanks for heads up – I’ll keep an eye on that thread..

  4. Anonymous says:

    worth watching the development of this DC case! Non other than Ken Ford and DGW!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Wow, my bullshit detector went off too when I found an ad for this site (google ad from this forum page: http://forum.freeadvice.com/copyrights-trademarks-39/copyright-infringement-notice-563234.html ). I immediately searched for anything I could find on it and found myself back here. I’m a week past getting a small settlment offer forwarded from my ISP and still freaking out about it and trying to figure out what to do, and this site starts out sounding so helpful, then turns around and immediately starts telling me to take the settlement offer. I can’t believe these shenanigans.

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