Noticeably, I’ve been busy over the last couple of weeks and did not cover many significant events in the p2p litigation world. Fortunately, other people were on top of that. DieTrollDie’s blog has covered new victories of common sense diligently, and big thanks to the author for that. In addition, he was active on my and his blog’s discussion boards answering questions and comforting victims, which is invaluable. We need more people to help bring copyright trolling plague down. I’m convinced that we together are already making a difference by bringing light of truth under the bridge, where trolls dwell and make their cowardly assaults on passers-by.
It’s worth noting that all the recent events were positive: subpoenas to quash granted, cases dismissed, etc. Half a year ago the news were mixed, but the times have changed, and the critical mass of judges now clearly see the predatory and fraudulent nature of mass p2p lawsuits.
Yesterday federal judge John A. Gibney severed all defendants but one (a typical response to improper joinder) in 3 cases filed in the Eastern District of Virginia by a copyright troll Wayne O’Bryan.
- 3:11-cv-00469-JAG K-Beech, Inc. v. John Does 1-85
- 3:11-cv-00531-JAG Patrick Collins, Inc. v. John Does 1-58
- 3:11-cv-00532-JAG Raw Films, Ltd. v. John Does 1-32
This kind of dismissal is not unusual nowadays, but the judge moved way further, beyond my humble hopes: he suggested that this type of lawsuit is frivolous in nature and directed the troll to show cause why his actions don’t violate Rule 11(b):
This course of conduct indicates that the plaintiffs have used the offices of the Court as an inexpensive means to gain the Doe defendants’ personal information and coerce payment from them. The plaintiffs seemingly have no interest in actually litigating the cases, but rather simply have used the Court and its subpoena powers to obtain sufficient information to shake down the John Does. Whenever the suggestion of a ruling on the merits of the claims appears on the horizon, the plaintiffs drop the John Doe threatening to litigate the matter in order to avoid the actual cost of litigation and an actual decision on the merits.
The plaintiffs’ conduct in these cases indicates an improper purpose for the suits. In addition, the joinder of unrelated defendants does not seem to be warranted by existing law or a non-frivolous extension of existing law.
Pursuant to Rule 11(c)(3), the Court, therefore, will direct the plaintiff and its counsel to show cause why the conduct specifically described in this Memorandum Order has not violated Rule 11(b). See Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(c)(3); Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b).
When I first became aware of these lawsuits, one of the first thoughts I had was about the frivolous nature of the lawsuit that I was involved in, but at that time I thought that it was too daring to bring up this point in my filings. I’m glad to see that my instincts were correct.
The battle is raging on. A total of 3 attorneys appeared on the case begging the judge not to sanction O’Bryan. That’s funny: one of their main arguments is that everything Does wrote in their motions is “hearsay”. If Internet contains thousands of stories about Steele’s and other trolls’ extortion practices, this “hearsay” is more reliable than a sworn affidavit by any member of a troll’s gang.