The lucrative business of copyright trolling has its limitations. One of the main limitations is lawyer manpower. It is relatively easy to harvest IP addresses from Bittorent swarms: poorly written software is cheap to maintain, especially given zero incentive to reduce the high number of false positives. On the other hand, when it comes to filing and maintaining dozens of cases, no software can replace actual licensed attorneys, and a single attorney cannot jump over his head and handle dozens of cases at once, albeit those cases are based on the same template. We have been witnessing what happens when a troll lawyer does not have enough self-respect to curb his greed and is overwhelmed with the number of frivolous cases he filed. Monster lawsuits that list thousands of Does were relatively easier to maintain, but they are a matter of the past: the probability of a judge busting such a case is too high, so trolls are forced to divide Does into smaller chunks to diversify their forum-shopping portfolio.

So what’s the problem? Hire more underemployed third-rate lawyers! Not so fast: finding a lawyer who is willing to bring his reputation to the altar of the Mammon is not that easy. Prenda’s Brett “Pinocchio” Gibbs’s job posting is still up for more than a month, and we witness lawyers that were conned into collaboration by master trolls running away after they realize what kind of manure they stepped in and decide that they don’t want to live with the stink.


Ralf Pytlik, Sales manager
at copyrightdefenders.com

Today I had a chance to look inside of the troll kitchen: embedded below is an email sent by one of the “troll wholesalers”, copyright-defenders.com, to various IP lawyers across the country in a hope that some would agree to be a part of a lucrative shakedown conspiracy.

Copyright-defenders.com is a German mob operation, same as Excubitor. All shakedowns they architect are based on a dubious super-secretive software and disingenuous declarations of its president Matthias Schröder-Padewet, who also supplies his “impeccable evidence” to Randazza. These fraudsters were “lucky” to work with the cream bottom slime of troll lawyers: Kenneth “Felon” Ford, Evan “Chutzpah” Stone¹ and Paul “Anal” Lesko.

As one of the attorneys who received this email commented,

…it was interesting that they are very misleading to the attorneys they are trying to recruit in that they affirmatively claim that all persons whose names are turned over are identified infringers. I think this is where some less sophisticated attorney could really get tripped up as it has already been judicially determined that an IP address does not actually identify a human let alone an infringer. I also think it is interesting that there is no indication that the attorneys have to do anything other than send “letters.” No talk about litigation, defense, discovery etc… Apart from the obvious abuse of process aspects, and I am not an expert on this, but at first glance this would seem to be a false and misleading business practice which is generally illegal under various state laws.

I hope that any lawyer who receives such email will do his research and inevitably stumble upon this post. I’m sure he will think twice before associating himself with this mob-like business and damaging his career (and karma).

Another interesting document: Excubitor service contract — it was sent to various US lawyers last year (although this contract is clearly specific to Germany, for some reason it has been written in English and distributed here).

Thanks to the readers who provided leads and links for this post.

Featured comment

houstonlawy3r says:
September 6, 2012 at 7:07 pm

I have heard about their recruitment attempts from other attorneys who were contacted by them. Apparently, even hungry lawyers can see through their pretty little website and smell a scam. I’d be surprised if the copyright troll attorneys who sign on would ever get paid. As a rule, anyone who courts you and tells you that you’ll make a million bucks (and they’ll do all the work) — RUN.


¹Mick Haig (Michael Heinz) is not only a troll pornographer but also the director/secretary of Excubitor USA. Remember the meme created by Raul: “Plaintiff’s principal, Steve Jones, retained Steve Jones to use Steve Jones’s forensic software to identify…”?

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Comments
  1. DieTrollDie says:

    Reads just like a Craigslist scam that targets people in serious financial trouble. I also loved this part in the footnote, “Any unauthorized copying, disclosure or distribution of the material in this e‐mail is strictly forbidden.” Yeah sure.

    DTD :)

  2. Irritated Troll Hater says:

    I like this part…. ” Neither the Copyright Defenders Inc, nor the sender are liable for viruses, it is your own responsibility to check this email and it’s attachments for viruses.”

    So they send you a virus and they skate free? Must be nice to screw someone’s computer without any repercussions if they wanted to.

    Down with all Trolls

  3. I have heard about their recruitment attempts from other attorneys who were contacted by them. Apparently, even hungry lawyers can see through their pretty little website and smell a scam. I’d be surprised if the copyright troll attorneys who sign on would ever get paid. As a rule, anyone who courts you and tells you that you’ll make a million bucks (and they’ll do all the work) — RUN.

    • that anonymous coward says:

      I was reading their website… its very interesting to me.
      They said that they (CD) would be the ones sending out the final demand letters to the Does.
      This raises a question in my mind about how a 3rd party can be granted access to a list of names granted in a court case where they have no standing other than being an “expert” witness.

      Oh silly me… they updated their website to remove that service. I guess a lawyer told them they were being stupid.

      I do think its fun that they admit they download the entire file when they detect it is infringing content, so they participate in the actions they seek to profit from… and what happens when they download something misnamed that is something else… do they turn themselves in for infringing on copyright by making a copy?

      They will claim it never said that and because I forgot to site rip the whole site that will stand up, they explicitly block their site from being crawled by search engines… seems like a crappy way to market your company.

      I do wish someone could get them to name the experts who oversee their operations and verify its all done correctly. So tired of these claims being made with no supporting information.

      • rob8urcakes says:

        Here in the UK we ‘legal consumers’ (whether or not we’re also qualified solicitors) have access to a well established complaints procedure against dodgy actors in the legal profession. It’s called the Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority and they’ll take on each and every complaint against anyone who brings their industry into disrepute.

        I can only assume the USA or at least each individual State has a similar authority or regulatory body to which complaints can be directed. But if anyone knows for sure, perhaps you could post a link to their website please.

        We REALLY need to fight back against these unscrupulous trolls and one of the best ways to that is to get their industry colleagues to hammer them yeah? :)

  4. SJD says:

    I actually notified Michelle Olson that this email found its proper destination :)

  5. Anonymous says:

    If the Excubitor contract is being used in the US, wouldn’t section 6 imply the unclean hands defense, as well as implying a license to download, as they are explicitly stating that part of their process involves making files “publicly available insofar as this is technically unavoidable”?

    • Raul says:

      Oh yeah! Almost every answer interposed by a Doe who is represented by counsel raises these two affirmative defenses, amonst others.

    • that anonymous coward says:

      Its called a honey pot, and funny how Randazza never answered my question if they used that contract or not for blah blah blah down on the farm. I say blah blah blah because well they can’t get the name of the movie right in their filings why should I try? :D

      I still wonder if anyone can connect any of the primaries for either of these “firms” to Guardley.

  6. [...] pursuing the case cost-prohibitive and the trolls just go away. The copyright trolls are having a tough time pursuing their main objectives. So far (with a few exceptions) the trolls stick to the low [...]

  7. Nelson Ayodele says:

    Hello, my naim is Nelson Ayodele. I am owning an technology monitoring business to protects copyiright in Nigeria who helps attorneys like you to increase your business and profits!!!!! If you are most interested, please provide me with your name, address, telephone number, social security number, driver’s lisense, and first born child, an I will make haste to respond to making your soonest acquaintance very fast. Here is to much success and profits!!!!! in both our futures.

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  8. [...] I wrote about a copyright infringement monetization outfit “Copyright Defenders” that uses unlicensed [...]

  9. [...] such filmmaking fiascoes and its lawyers who, most likely, took the bait and replied to one of the spam-like offers promising loads of money for little work. Well, people still fall for the Nigerian scam, so it is [...]

  10. LetsFightForJustice says:

    Why not just letter the hired attorneys stay at home and do nothing but just utilize their identity to threaten people to settle. That would save much more money than actually hire them to send emails.

  11. […] expert,” is in fact a very well organized business of monetizing illegal file-sharing: it recruits attorneys and plaintiffs, and actually steers the industrial-scale litigation […]

  12. […] Doe defenders and federal investigators start talking to rights holders and attorneys who had been approached by German racketeers to mount the final counter-action that will eventually wipe copyright trolls […]

  13. […] unleashed onto the US courts and the public. This conspiracy to plunder US citizens began with letters that a Guardaley’s facade Copyright Defenders Inc. (a Nevada-registered corporation) sent to […]

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