Copyright troll of the week
There are well known big name villains in the speculative invoicing (a.k.a. copyright trolling) arena: Steele/Prenda, Ira Siegel, Thomas Dunlap/DGW, and so on. There are many online resources that discuss their disgusting “business model” (which is practically blackmailing and extortion; even some trolls admit that). Besides those “supertrolls” there are many smaller, mostly opportunistic greedy lawyers involved in the trolling business. I suspect that most of them don’t even think that their hard-earned reputations (as well as reputations of firms and partnerships that employ them) are at stake. This is a big mistake. In the Internet age strange things tend to happen. Just last month I wrote a post about Frederic Abramson, who has a pretty well-established Internet presence: almost 4 thousand Twitter followers, a popular blog, etc. Nonetheless, if one searches for his name, my post “Frederic Abramson: respected lawyer or just another copyright troll?” appears on the first page of Google search results, contributing to his image.

So I want to use these powers to expose those smaller trolls, noting that what’s fair is fair: they use legal knowledge — the weaponry they perfectly mastered — to abuse the judicial system, while their tactics remain technically legal; and I use one of few legal weapons available to me: Internet with its amazing ability to shed light on the dark corners where copyright trolls dwell. I’ll try to write small posts like this one as often as I can, so that any prospective client of a troll lawyer could find out his or her dark secrets easily. And yes, I will keep choosing embarrassing titles deliberately.


Joseph C. Peiffer

So, meet this week’s troll:

    Joseph C. Peiffer
    FISHMAN HAYGOOD PHELPS WALMSLEY WILLIS & SWANSON, LLP
    201 St. Charles Avenue, 46th Floor
    New Orleans, LA 70170-4600
    Tel. (504) 586-5259
    Fax. (504) 586-5250
    jpeiffer@fishmanhaygood.com
    Attorney for Plaintiff 4: Twenty Media Inc.

 

Mr. Peiffer has filed a mass bittorrent lawsuit on January 10, 2012 against 1,341 Does alleging illegal sharing of a porno movie with a classy name “Teen anal sluts.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is the first mass copyright infringement case filed in Louisiana.

 

And who is the plaintiff? A shady company registered in Seychelles, as I believe, for a sole purpose of procuring copyrights and using them to extort settlements, and no doubt with the ultimate goal “to promote useful arts,” as written in the Constitution. This “company” does not even have a registered URL: the only contact information listed is Seychelles address and 4twentymedia@googlemail.com email. I would love to see a proof that this company even exists — nothing can be found on the Internet, and even searching the Seychelles International Business Authority website yields nothing.

 

Also, unlike in cases with some smarter trolls (Gill Sperlein, for instance), who adapt and don’t use the arguments that were already defeated in many courts, this lawsuit is so last-year:

  • Joinder. The complaint lists 3 separate swarms, while even participating in a single one did not justify joinder in many judges’ eyes.
  • Jurisdiction. This is simply laughable: only 7 of 1,341 Does reside in Louisiana, and Mr. Peiffer admits that.

One particular statement regarding jurisdiction is arrogant and funny at the same time:

Defendants nationwide purposefully availed themselves to the jurisdiction of this Court and should anticipate being haled into court in this State.

Another interesting detail:

Copying (or “stealing” if we use trolls’ own misleading terminology) other trolls’ complaints (including misspellings – see Sperlein’s complaint, p. 4 for example) inevitably leads to embarrassing bloopers. So, reading the complaint attentively, we first learn that

16. Plaintiff is a Seychelles company located at Global Gateway 2970, Rue De LaPerle, Providence, Mahe, Seychelles, that markets and distributes motion pictures

and later…

43. Plaintiff’s Motion Picture is easily discernable [sic] as a professional work. Plaintiff created the Motion Picture using professional performers, directors, cinematographers, lighting technicians, set designers and editors. Plaintiff created the Motion Picture with professional-grade cameras, lighting, and editing equipment.

Yet another thought. Neither complaint, nor any other currently submitted document contains any hint on where and if this “work” can be bought legally. This blog’s readers searched and all they found were torrent links. In many porn troll cases I saw references to websites where allegedly shared porn could be purchased. Not here. If an illegally copied “work” cannot be purchased, all the damage claims are effectively moot. So in addition to many wrongs described herein, we probably deal with a brazen honeypot scam. So much for an attorney who “was named as one of the fifty Leaders in Law by New Orleans City Business Magazine”. Note that I will be happy to remove this paragraph if I’m pointed to an online store that carries the title in question.

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Comments
  1. Bad says:

    Haha, great job, Sophisticated Jane Doe. This attorney must be really struggling to make his living :)

    • Anonymous says:

      he actually does pretty well! But that is about to change once he tarnishes his hard earned reputation by his own actions.

  2. On2ndThought says:

    From the website of manix-media.com(German porn company):
    Wednesday 22 June 2011 at 00:00

    In June, no self Maniax Media productions have appeared.

    This month we have three films in the company “4: Twenty Media inc” delivered.

    Since it is not our own production here no title and cover are shown.
    If interested in these films are so please contact us.

    All 3 of the films that 4twenty copyrighted are listed as having a production date of May of last year. Also, ManiaX is listed as the creator of Teen Anal Sluts Orgasm Ecstasy(2011) on multiple torrent sites despite the fact that the video is not listed in its online store

    • On2ndThought says:

      Don’t know why, but no one is willing to show a cover for these films on their websites. There isn’t a cover on this distributor’s page or any of the torrent sites

      • Anonymous says:

        not needed! this is for trolling purposes only!

        • On2ndThought says:

          I really would like to see the cover since there has been some troll cases in which companies have copyrighted works they didn’t create in order to sue people. There was a K-beech case in which a Doe figured out that the company applied for a copyright on an already copyrighted film just so it could sue people. I’ve found DVDs with similar titles to those supposedly owned by 4twenty media so it would be interesting to see if they are merely re-labeled films

    • So basically there is no way to legally buy this “work”, right? This fact alone nullifies all the “damages” claims.

      • anonymous says:

        I tried searching earlier. Every single search in Google and Bing returned torrent files.

      • On2ndThought says:

        I accidently mistyped the address, it’s maniax-media.com. As far as I can tell though, their store page link is broken so you can’t order the films from them. You could call them in Germany though. My german is terrible so I can’t find out the details of whose in the film or where the copies were shipped from

  3. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what Dean Pabon at Loyola Law has to say about its staff? She will get an earful! From the horses mouth! I don’t think a Jesuit college will approve of this!

    Anyone can write directly to the school administration or his peers. Let them know of his current shenanigans:

    http://law.loyno.edu/bios/office-of-dean

    or the University ministry to see if they approve of this:

    http://mm.loyno.edu/university-ministry/law-ministries

    Welcome under the bridge!

  4. Raul says:

    I . for one, would love to be a fly on the wall during opening statements for such a goofy case like this.

  5. That’s interesting.

    Copying other trolls’ complaints (or “stealing” if using trolls’ own terminology) will inevitably lead to embarrassing bloopers, as noted by a commenter in another thread. So, reading the complaint attentively, we first learn that

    16. Plaintiff is a Seychelles company located at Global Gateway 2970, Rue De LaPerle, Providence, Mahe, Seychelles, that markets and distributes motion pictures

    and later…

    43. Plaintiff’s Motion Picture is easily discernable as a professional work. Plaintiff created the Motion Picture using professional performers, directors, cinematographers, lightingtechnicians, set designers and editors. Plaintiff created the Motion Picture with professional-grade cameras, lighting, and editing equipment.

    • anonymous obviouly says:

      Upon information and belief some of these guys are notorious for re branding old porno as new product and, maybe, committing fraud on the Copyright Office but who knows?

      • doe doa says:

        I think private detectives could make a lot of money exposing the trolls that are committing copyright fraud. Hell I am surprised organizations like anonymous haven’t started exposing these truths themselves.

  6. FWIT says:

    It always amuses me the one place where copyright infringement is truly rampant is in the legal profession.

  7. Whatever says:

    This is stupidity to the max. I mean they list their clients!!!

    http://www.fishmanhaygood.com/firm/clients.htm

    One free email account, an hour of research, and one email to all those clients showing what this firm is venturing into and you can bet they will lose a client or two.

    Why do I venture to see that it soon will be called FISHMAN HAYGOOD WALMSLEY WILLIS & SWANSON in the near future.

  8. [...] copyright lawyer – Google Blog Search « Tourists might ask DoT: Are we having fun yet? – Philippine Star Online [...]

  9. Seems that Google is shy – does not want to bump certain titles up in search results. Had to amend the title. Bummer.

    • Just Some Guy says:

      It’s up on the first page of results for Joseph C. Peiffer and Joseph Peiffer now, and with the original post title, not the new one.

  10. CTVic says:

    Awww … I was hoping for another porn company from the Bahamas, but this one’s offshore to Africa. Somewhere out there by Madagascar. I love the name of the company though: 4:twentymedia – Copyright trolls brought to you by Madagascan Stoners!
    We may be seeing more cases from them in the federal lineup soon. 4:Twentymedia registered “Cock Addicts” and “Slutty Young Harlots” on the same day as the masterpiece in question: “Teen Anal Sluts”.

    Gawd. I feel like I need to take a shower now for just typing that. >>shiver<<

    I wonder how Joseph C Pfeiffer can live with himself, knowing that his name is associated with such reputable companies, and such mainstream educational titles? I wonder if he has kids, and if so, how does he explain to them that he's defending the income of stoners near Madagascar who recorded "Cock Addicted Harlots who like Anal"?

    Joseph C. Pfeiffer, Joseph C. Pfeiffer, Joseph C. Pfeiffer, you have sold your soul!

  11. IHateTrolls says:

    Judge has just granted Motion to take early discovery for this case.

    http://www.archive.org/download/gov.uscourts.lawd.121355/gov.uscourts.lawd.121355.6.0.pdf

  12. pissed off says:

    I was surfing around Justia.com and randomly picking different states and picking
    Nature of Suit: Intellectual Property – Copyrights
    and only picking, maybe 10 states and 6 had trolls infestations, these trolls are everywhere. Their in smaller doe cases thou, doe’s 1-20, 1-45, 1-121.
    I see these guy’s making a killing off of EXTORTION scare tactics.

  13. DJ says:

    Why was there a summons issued in this case if the judge just granted discovery?

    • anonymous says:

      I also don’t know why a summons was listed, for only granting discovery.

      Can we shine light on some of these layered holding companies, that “run” the troll studios. An offshore company, 4:twentymedia, alleged runs a studio. What studio (with their “professional” staff, equipment, and stages) ?

      Searching hundreds of google pages, no distributor of this work can be found. What damages could be alleged from a work that did not circulate, except perhaps for a honeypot scheme? It could be that this is re-packaging of a 2004 work, by another “studio”. Even if the plaintiffs are new rights holders, the copyright registration period has long passed.

      Can amicus briefs from another mass case be presented for this one ?

      • I saw it in a couple of other cases. I believe Gibbs started this practice, but I may be wrong. In my opinion it is just a scary tactics: trolls file blank scary looking documents, so a putative victim would read them, wet his/her pants and immediately write a check (only if he/she is lazy not to research the matter for half an hour…).

      • CTVic says:

        I’m also curious about some of these “unknowable” porn studios. Can somebody with access to the complaints list the titles & case numbers that 4:twentymedia say they have a claim over?

        Once publicised, certain people with certain friends who have certain resources may be able to dig a bit deeper to find the real production studio behind some of these shell companies … or complete lack thereof.

        It’s fascinating how little research the Copyright Office actually does to establish ownership of a title … and also interesting how irritated they get when their good graces are fraudulently abused.

        • CTVic says:

          Nevermind. A moment of idiocy for me. Titles I have. Cases I do not – are these guys anywhere other than LA with Peiffer?

        • I actually wrote to Seychelles International Business authority. I requested information about 4:Twenty media. Unfortunately I don’t have spare $100 to pay… Here is the reply:

          Dear Mrs. Jane,

          We refer to your email below.

          Please note that the International Business Companies Act, 1994 (as amended)provides that you may request for a company search on a name or a company number. The search will in turn help you to ascertain whether the name is on the register of IBCs

          Attached is a document illustrating how you may carry out such a search and the information that would be available as a result.

          Yours Sincerely

          Randolf Samson
          Corporate and Customer Services Manager

          SEYCHELLES INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AUTHORITY

          Bois De Rose Avenue, Victoria, P.O Box 991, Seychelles
          E.: randolf@siba.net T.: +248 4380800
          Web: http://www.siba.net F.: +248 4380888

          PLEASE NOTE THAT SIBA’S TELEPHONE AND FAX NUMBERS HAVE CHANGED
          THE NEW NUMBERS ARE: TEL: +248 438 0800 AND FAX: +248 438 0888

          This e-mail and any attachments are confidential and intended solely for the addressee. If you are not the addressee, or have received this e-mail by mistake, please notify the sender instantly, delete it from your system and do not reproduce, disclose or otherwise act upon any part of this e-mail or its attachments.

          Internet communications are not guaranteed to be secure or virus-free. The Seychelles International Business Authority does not accept responsibility for any loss arising from unauthorized access to, or interference with, any Internet communications by any third party, or from the transmission of any viruses.

          Seychelles International Business Authority, P.O Box 991, Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles. http://www.siba.net

  14. that anonymous coward says:

    A much better demand for someone to make would be proof of where it was first distributed in the US. If they can’t show it opening in a theater or on DVD anywhere it was then infact never published in the US and they have committed fraud on the copyright office by claiming otherwise.

    I remain…
    TAC

  15. doevictim says:

    I received an mail from my ISP cablevision today regarding this. Should I file a MTQ and how and where? From the analysis above if any chance the case will be dismissed?

    • Peiffer is a joke, don’t worry. You may file a motion if you want, but keep in mind that the only (almost) goal of a motion is to educate the judge (if he already is not aware about the ongoing scam). In 95% of cases motions don’t result in a dismissal. Either way, you don’t have much to worry. Read the posts and comments – these scammers bark but don’t bite. Sure there are many who are superficially scared of these barks – they pay up easily. But is is absolutely not necessary to feed these scumbags. Stay strong, ignore the calls (or say the minimum) and you’ll be fine.

      P.S. If this guy dares to write letters and make calls, I’ll make sure all the Loyola school knows about his shenanigans: you know, “teen anal sluts” don’t quit align with Jesuit values…

  16. Anonymous says:

    I received a summons in the mail as well and to be honest it does have me quite worried. I do not know what to do, quash, settle (negotiate) or ignore it. Not that I would know how to do any of those. I am not even sure if I should get an attorney?

    • Raul says:

      OK, take a deep breathe and reread the document you received in the mail. Does it say “summons and complaint” or something similar? Or is it a notice from your ISP that a porn company wants to access your personally identifiable information? Your answer to these 2 questions may determine the path you need to take.

      By no means does the forgoing constitute legal advice and is rendered for discussion purposes only.

      • Anonymous says:

        my isp has a court order to release my personal info by 3/22 unless i provide them with documents indicating that the court has rescinded its order or a file-stamped copy of a motion to quash or similar motion

  17. Raul says:

    So you either need to retain counsel to file a motion to quash the subpoena/omnibus motion or prepare and file one on your own. Here are two recent examples that you or your attorney could perhaps modify to your own particular circumstances http://dietrolldie.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/mtq_fl_00570.pdf and http://dietrolldie.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/omnibusmotion_fl_00570.pdf

    By no means does the forgoing constitute legal advice and is rendered for discussion purposes only.

    • Anonymous says:

      worst case how bad could this be
      as far as i can see the sharing hash files on my paper match the above
      although it seems the case was opened in Louisiana
      my paper says issued by the united states district court eastern district of new york (at the top)
      i live in the next state do they have jurisdiction over me

  18. Raul says:

    I just glanced over the plaintiff’s complaint and noticed two issues that might help you. First, Exhibit A to the complaint indicates that many of the John Does allegedly infringed upon plaintiff’s work prior to June 27, 2011 which is the date plaintiff purportedly registered its work with the Copyright Office (see Exhibit B to the complaint). Accordingly if you are alleged to have infringed prior to June 27, 2011 then the plaintiff is in all likelihood not entitled to recover statutory damages (up to $150,000) and is reduced to suing for actual damages which would probably be the lost sale of the DVD or $19.99 divided by the number of John Does in this lawsuit (a fraction of a penny) http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/louisiana/lawdce/5:2009cv01679/112643/38/0.pdf?ts=1291936933. Second, Exhibit A reveals that many of the John Does reside outside the State of Louisiana and if you are one of those John Does who resides outside the state and does not do business within the state and has no real contacts with the state, then there are serious personal jurisdiction and venue issues that need to be raised. 28 U.S.C. § 1400(a) and http://www.aaronsanderslaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Expendibles-Denial-Expedited-Discovery.pdf.

    Good luck fighting these soulless scumbags!

    By no means does the forgoing constitute legal advice and is rendered for discussion purposes only.

    • Anonymous says:

      thank you
      for you to spend your time to answer is very appreciated
      i replied before reading your last (10:27 am)
      i seems my hit was on july 4
      so again how bad do you think this can get

  19. Raul says:

    Also if you have not done so yet check out http://dietrolldie.com/newbie-noob-start-here/

  20. Raul says:

    Finally here is a motion to quash based upon improper joiner and lack of personal jurisdiction that you or your attorney could modify to the facts of this lawsuit if you choose to go down that route. http://boothsweet.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/41-main.pdf

  21. DJ says:

    I hope Joseph C Peiffer doesn’t think just because he withdrew from this case that we’ll forget…

    once a copyright troll, always a copyright troll

    • Google won’t forget it for a while, don’t worry :)

    • confused says:

      Hi.. You say joseph c peiffer withdrew from the case.

      What does that mean for those who received letters from our ISPs informing us that our identities will be revealed?

      Does that mean the case is done and dropped so no info will be given? Does it mean there are others who will continue the case? I dont understand he meaning of your comment.

      Thanks for clarification.

      Thanks

      • DJ says:

        No, unfortunately, the case is not over. Here is the case docket so you can stay up to date:

        http://ia700802.us.archive.org/18/items/gov.uscourts.lawd.121355/gov.uscourts.lawd.121355.docket.html

        Also, here is a list of IP addresses that have been dismissed without prejudice. Most likely because they do not reside in the district the case was filed in.

        http://ia700802.us.archive.org/18/items/gov.uscourts.lawd.121355/gov.uscourts.lawd.121355.13.0.pdf

        • anonymous says:

          DJ,

          How do you find the docket on archive dot org?

          Every time I search, nothing is returned.

          Thanks!

        • Actually it’s a good question… I find Recap’s search engine simply not functioning. Personally, I find archive.org stuff only via Pacer: if you have a Pacer account and you have a firefox plugin installed, every time you try to access a docket or a document via Pacer (not free), the plugin prompts you to access the same information on Recap.

        • Anonymous says:

          Use google but search with site:archive.org and the names of the parties plus the number of does, or if it’s a sneaky case just use the word doe.
          So for Wong’s current case, you’d search for “site:archive.org wong vs hard drive”

        • confused says:

          Hi thanks for those links.

          Interesting 494 got dismissed but 847 did not. Does that mean all 494 filed MTQ’s? Or is this something the court would have done based on jurisdiction?

          I am excited to get home and see if my ip matches any of the dismissed.

          Would it also be correct to assume if i was one of the 494 they could just re file in my state? So this doesnt mean anyone is in the clear yet?

          Ty

        • Anonymous says:

          It would be nice if 37% of Does in a mass cases are filing MTQ’s. The burden to a civil court mailroom alone would bring attention to how bad these troll cases are.

          I’d guess that jurisdiction alone was not the factor. 847 remaining Doe allegations for one film in a medium sized state would be huge even for a blockbuster movie. T.A. Sl_ts is not a useful work, let alone a movie, let alone popular.

        • It would be interesting to understand what criteria trolls used to dismiss Does. Definitely not jurisdiction: complaint clearly states that only 7 Does reside in Louisiana. My wild guess is that those dismissed were “sold” to other trolls who can exercise proper jurisdiction. All the others are from troll-less states and left there just in case, to extort them by pure, impudent bluff. Again, this is a wild guess… I would like to analyze IP addresses, but unfortunately (as many may noticed already) I’ve been extremely busy lately…

        • Anonymous says:

          “Use google but search with site:archive.org and the names of the parties plus the number of does, or if it’s a sneaky case just use the word doe.
          So for Wong’s current case, you’d search for “site:archive.org wong vs hard drive””

          Hi DJ

          Could you give me an example how I would search for this case? I’m sorry I don’t really understand how to turn site:archive.org wong vs hard drive into searching for this particular case 4:twenty media and T.A.S.

          Thanks

        • DJ says:

          Hmm. I’m not sure, I didn’t leave that comment. Is this not the case you’re referring to?

          http://ia700802.us.archive.org/18/items/gov.uscourts.lawd.121355/gov.uscourts.lawd.121355.docket.html

        • Confused says:

          Hi yes that is the one. I am trying to find out how I can search to find updates as the person above did.

          Thanks

  22. Anonymous says:

    Neither will his partners who undoubtedly received loads of shit about this bogus lawsuit and the pencil necked geek who unwisely signed up for it (petty, I know but true).

  23. anonymous says:

    Peiffer withdrew as counsel for the plaintiff on March 5th, and was granted by the judge on March 7th.

  24. question says:

    What type of lawyer would help defend against this?

  25. Doe in the headlights says:

    I am new to this site and this is the same case that I have been caught up in! I live in Maryland and just received a notice from my former ISP (Comcast). The whole thing is completely maddening– I don’t even download movies or use any sort of file sharing software. I have no idea what to do. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

  26. [...] Attorney Joseph C. Peiffer and “Teen Anal Sluts” « Fight Copyright …Jan 11, 2012 … Default judgment may threaten trolls’ “business” (troll Ryan Stevens … illegal sharing of a porno movie with a classy name “Teen anal sluts. [...]

  27. [...] January 11, I wrote about the only Louisiana mass bittorent copyright infringement (a.k.a. copyright trolling) lawsuit [...]

  28. Anonymous says:

    is there any way to find out who the does are that have been dismissed recently
    i checked the link above it seems they did not list them
    and i not sure about a pacer account

  29. alan says:

    I received a letter notifying me that my IP address transferred the movie in October of 2011. The letter is fom Paul Lesko and is for settlement purposes wanting $3500. I don’t download other than ITunes, any suggestions, I’m lost as to how to deal with this, sure don’t have $3500 or money for an attorney and don’t live in LA.

  30. [...] Does at the time of filing), the first Louisiana’s porn shakedown fishing expedition initially conceived by Joseph C. Peiffer of a New Orleans’ law firm. After the unexpected and unwanted publicity, Peiffer’s partners [...]

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