(From the Simmons Law Firm website)
One of the worst copyright trolling cases that I have been tracking, 4:Twenty Media Inc v. Swarm et al (6:12-cv-00031), is finally over. Magistrate Judge C. Michael Hill has finally made up his mind and killed all the Louisiana mass bittorent lawsuits, including this monster suit (1341 Does at the time of the 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 pressured him into resigning from this case, and while he indeed resigned, instead of dismissing the lawsuit, he handed out this lucrative extortion undertaking to Paul Lesko of Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC, an Alton, IL law firm. Unlike Peiffer, Lesko happened to be immune from any reputational loss (in other words, Lesko’s parents failed to teach him telling good from bad). In addition, the chairman of his law firm, John Simmons, deliberately gave this racket a green light with a full knowledge of the details.
To the best of my knowledge, it was Lesko’s first porn bittorent shakedown lawsuit (based on a movie with a classy name Teen Anal Sluts), but soon he got addicted to easy money, even if it smelled like something that Lesko’s favorite human body part oozes: believe it or not, the next two cases filed by Paul Lesko were based on the following “works of art”: Super Anal Black Cougars and Phat Black Juicy Anal Booty 8. That’s how Paul “Anal” Lesko got his nickname.
Although this case’s docket featured motions that explained the fraud in irrefutable details — masterpieces from Nick Ranallo and Morgan Pietz, unfortunately, no Fantalises came forward to file counterclaims in order to destroy the shakedown enterprise. Alas, scumbags got away not only unpunished, but carrying a hefty loot extorted from uneducated citizens (in large cases like this, the money trolls receive in settlements is orders of magnitude higher than money spent to produce a filthy movie like Teen Anal Sluts).
With all due respect and cheers, the judges’ order is also kind of dull: all the Does except one were dismissed based on improper joinder, and not because this lawsuit is evidently frivolous and even potentially criminal. Why criminal? In addition to the fact that extortion is not exactly a lawful activity, the age of “teens” in this movie was never scrutinized. This film is foreign-made, and its rights holder 4:Twenty Media is registered by an individual named Christoph Petznick in Seychelles with a sole purpose to extort file-sharers and innocent people alike. The “masterpiece” Teen Anal Sluts was never legally distributed, and may even have been seeded by the perpetrators themselves to entrap bittorenters. Pornography is illegal in Seychelles; if this fact did not stop the fraudsters, it is unreasonable to expect that they would be concerned about underage porn.
Currently Lesko continues to file cases in Missouri (Mark Twain must be turning in his grave) and Southern Illinois with blessing from his boss John Simmons. Until the legal system recovers from the epidemic of copyright trolling, these walking insults to the legal profession will keep bringing tons of misery to thousands of undeserving families daily.
How can we contribute to stopping these terrorists? Last week a weasel named Jason Kotzker accused us in inducing harassment. We did not expect a liar not to lie, but nonetheless, the perverted power of a wrong accusation can bring a lot of damage: no need to look hard for examples: the entire copyright trolling business model is based on baseless allegations, most of which cannot be proved. Therefore, please avoid stooping lower than trolls do. I urge you to refrain from harassing and threatening these scoundrels, their colleagues and especially families: this is illegal, immoral and counter-productive as it gives ammo to the enemy. Nonetheless, contacting authorities (lawyer associations, media, attorneys general) or using publicly available information to inform Simmons Law Firm’s personnel and its clients politely about the unethical, bordering with criminal, conduct that is taking place in this allegedly reputable firm, is not harassment, but protected speech, and rather a duty of any concerned citizen.
Finally, I cannot agree more with a comment by Jen from Texas, a copyright troll victim who succeeded in triggering a troll investigation in the Florida Bar:
I’d like to add one more thing to this post. The best possible action any John Doe can make is going to be legally. Going through the proper channels, such as state bars and the court system shows the trolls and the courts that John Does are not crazy, volent, or sleazy. If you can’t afford to retain an attorney, you can research and file complaints with the state bars for free. Check and make sure the film you are accused of downloading and sharing are copyrighted. (In my case, it is not). And remember, YOU have the POWER, DO NOT give it to the trolls by stooping to their level.
- Attorney Joseph C. Peiffer and “Teen Anal Sluts.
- (DieTrollDie) Multiple Hash Files In A Single Troll Case – Ripe For A Motion To Quash / Dismiss – Louisiana.
- Attorney Paul Lesko and 1000% return on investment in “Teen Anal Sluts”.
- Paul Lesko thread on Federal Computer Crimes (Rob Cashman).