Archive for the ‘Copyright Enforcement Group’ Category

On Friday I received an email from my registrar (yes, you read it correctly: my registrar, not my host) about a DMCA notice from a former copyright weretroll Mike Meier, who apparently sent it in order to remove my (and Raul’s) critical posts about him (the entire tag).

I initially didn’t want to publicize this idiotism (as you will see in my email to Meier below), but our friends at ExtortionLetterInfo (ELI) have already published a nearly identical missive that Mike Meier sent to their registrar, so I can break my “courtesy promise” and embed this example of a big league lawyering for your enjoyment.

But first, my Saturday’s reply:

Mr. Meier,

“The first rule of holes, according to an old saying, is to stop digging,”
Chief Judge Diane Wood (7th Circuit Court of Appeals)


You are not new to abusing the copyright law, I’m rather annoyed than surprised by your frivolous DMCA takedown attempt to suppress criticism (ironically, of your abuse of the copyright law).

On the merits, your request doesn’t hold any water:

  1. You target a registrar claiming that it “hosts” the pages in question, which is false: does not host a single byte of my site. If you don’t know a difference between a host and a registrar, you should ask your teenage neighbor.
  2. Your libel claim is a de-facto admission of an attempt to abuse the DMCA process, and any defamation claim is moot, because:
    • It is irrelevant to a DMCA claim.
    • “Libel”: you keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means (i.e. a false statement of fact vs. an opinion).
    • The articles in question are old and beyond any statutory limits for conceiving any legal action (which would fail even then).
  3. The screenshot in question is a textbook example of fair use, backed by overwhelming case law.


I’m tempted to publicize your cowardly, unprofessional action, but want to give you a chance to stop and think about the consequences. My blog is pretty popular (~3,000,000 page hits so far), and I’m 100% sure that the tech media will notice and propel your ill-conceived action to the top of the Google search results — an outcome diametrically opposite to what your censorious ass hopes to achieve. I urge you to meditate on the Wikipedia article about the Streisand Effect before making a mistake of proceeding to dig the hole.

Any further action on your part will result in an immediate publicity.

Hope not to hear from you again.


…and now the notice:


As Matthew Chan has noticed, Meier’s “professional” website does not list any attorney profile, yet one can spot the picture of Meier’s longtime colleague Terik Hashmi, a disgraced troll who was caught practicing law in Florida without license (which is a felony in FL) two years ago.

I feel a bit sad about this misguided individual, since his statement that 30% of identified IP addresses don’t lead to the infringer slowed down US trolling operations significantly.

I wash my hands: the ball is now in Barbara Streisand’s court.



Mike Meier is not new to frivolous threats even outside the porn trolling. Three years ago, in Preiss et al v. S & R Production Company et al (NVD 10-cv-01795) he was sanctioned by the court in the amount of $37,415.00 under 28 U.S.C. § 1927 (emphasis is mine):

Because of the baselessness of Plaintiffs opposition to the NIED and Title VII claims and the motion to remand, and because of the subjective bad faith demonstrated by Plaintiffs arguments and method of litigating this case, the Court awards attorneys’ fees to Defendants.

In the footnote the judge corroborated on the “bad faith” part (again, emphasis is mine):

The Court refers to Plaintiffs use of thinly veiled threats (Dkt. #36, Ex. F, email from Mike Meier dated July 30, 2010; Ex. G, email from Mike Meier dated June 4, 2010), use of tabloid media to pressure Defendants (id., Ex. D, National Enquirer article), dishonesty with this Court (compare id., Ex. C, offer to settle for $500,000, with Dkt. #38, Opp. at 8:6-7 (Mr. Meier’s communications do not discuss any dollar amount”), Plaintiffs continued arguments that they managed to deprive this Court of jurisdiction over this case, and other conduct as described in Defendants motion and accompanying exhibits.

Note that the order explicitly specified “Plaintiff’s counsel” rather than “Plaintiff” as the sanctioned party. Mr. Meier appealed this decision but lost.

There is more. As Ken White noticed, in October 2013 Mike Meier was publicly reprimanded by the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board for what I think should be a ground for disbarment and trigger DOJ interest. While pursuing a noble case — suing an immigration scam artist on behalf of one of the victims (Hyundai) — Meier approached the said scammer (Yoon and Empower) with a dubious (to put it mildly) settlement offer:

15. […] Respondent [Mike Meier] made a settlement proposal whereby Yoon and Empower would pay Hyundai the sum of $1,300,000,00.

16. Respondent proposed that Yoon and Empower file a Motion for Summary Judgment with the trial court.

17. Respondent further offered that in consideration of the payment of Hyundai, he would respond to the motion by withholding from the court his expert witness testimony, and would otherwise not mount a defense· to the Summary Judgment Motion.

18. Respondent also stated he would not share the allegedly incriminating documents he used in the deposition with the authorities investigating the criminal matters.

19. Respondent suggested that by not contesting the summary judgment motion the court would enter summary judgment in favor of Yoon and Empower.

20. The effect of the summary judgment would be to discourage other parties from bringing suit and create a chilling effect on the criminal investigations.

The board found that Meier violated the Rule 3.3 (Candor Toward The Tribunal).

Media coverage
  • TorrentFreak: Anti-Piracy lawyer Wants Domain Registrar to Silence Critics
  • TechDirt: Copyright Trolling Lawyer Abusing DMCA To Try To Silence Critics
  • BoingBoing: Copyright troll abuses DMCA in bid to censor his previous life as a troll-fighter

    I love when Cory Doctorow is pissed at scumbags and doesn’t mince words:

    The DMCA allows people who believe their copyrights have been infringed to demand that web-hosts remove the offending material, but imposes no duty on registrars. And copyright law has a broad fair use exemption for criticism, into which the screenshots in question unequivocally fall. What’s more, the DMCA does not offer any special privileges to people who believe that they have been libeled, and another law, the Communications Decency Act, immunizes webhosts and other intermediaries for libelous speech by their users.

    All of which Meier should know, if he is practicing Internet law. In my opinion, an Internet lawyer who claims not to know this is like a taxi driver who claims she doesn’t know what a traffic-light means. I believe it’s far more damning than merely being a money-seeking, amoral opportunist who changes sides to chase a buck — I believe it is prima facie evidence of legal incompetence.

  • Consumerist: Copyright Troll Lawyer Doesn’t Seem To Understand Copyright Law
  • Popehat: Attorney Mike Meier Meets The Streisand Effect, Does Not Enjoy Experience

    But Mike Meier’s legal threat was not foolish just because it exposed his behavior to more readers. It was foolish because it exposed him widely as a fool. People hire lawyers they trust. They want to be able to rely upon their lawyer’s advice, and to make difficult decisions based upon that advice. But who would trust the advice of a lawyer who would engage in a legal tactic that is so foreseeably self-destructive? If Meier had sent the DMCA notices on behalf of a client, I would call it rank malpractice and tell his client to consider suing him. In 2014, minimal legal competence requires an attorney to anticipate and understand the Streisand Effect.

Poor copyright troll from Massachusetts Marvin Cable has had enough troubles recently. I wrote about his failures here, here and here, but after a while, MA judges’ rulings became so consistently and predictably anti-troll that they lost their newsworthiness.

It is possible that current Marvin Cable’s losses soon be eclipsed by a mega trouble. According to my confidential source in the IBM’s legal department, this corporate giant is mulling the possibility of suing Law Office of Marvin Cable for trademark infringement.

IBM has been always very protective about its trademarks:

IBM trademarks include the famous IBM eight-bar logo and other designs and logos owned and used by IBM, as well as IBM product and service names. IBM takes great care in the development and protection of its trademarks and reserves all rights of ownership of its trademarks.

I don’t think that there is anyone on this planet who is not familiar with the iconic 3-letter logo:


Now visit Marvin’s law firm’s webpage or its Twitter avatar and compare:


Despite the difference in color, it is obvious that an outspoken fighter against the theft of intellectual property shamelessly pilfered a part of the IBM’s logo (“M”). The aggravating factor is that his law firm is a lucrative commercial enterprise, and the Lahman act’s maximum statutory fine for the willful commercial infringement is $2,000,000. According to the same source, IBM will be asking for $666,666.67: only one third of the logo was “stolen.” Additionally, IBM may demand monetary compensation for the insult caused by the terrible, amateurish, tasteless “C” next to the misappropriated yet flawless “M.”

My source does not know anything about a possible settlement offer, but he is positive that it will be just a little bit less than the cost of litigation. In addition, the inevitable demand letter will threaten to call Cable’s neighbors, parents and bar buddies — telling them that he is engaged in the dirty business of IP theft, and that because of his irresponsible (and illegal) actions children of IBM factory workers in Vietnam and Malaysia suffer from malnutrition.

(Mind the date of the publication.)


A trolling lawsuit ends with style.

Judge Leo Sorokin
Magistrate Judge Leo Sorokin

Thanks to Jason Sweet and Dan Booth for the hilarious news, a must-read order denying ex-parte discovery re-requested by copyright troll Marvin Cable in Patrick Collins, Inc. v. Does 1-79 (12-cv-10532-GAO), Discount Video Center, Inc. v. Does 1-29, et al. (12-cv-10805-NMG), and Patrick Collins, Inc. v. Does 1-36 (12-10758-GAO).

While two major posts are promised and overdue¹, I cannot help posting Magistrate Sorokin’s smackdown ruling dismantling Marvin Cable’s copyright troll cases: a good excuse is that it does not take a lot of my time, as the document is self-explanatory, easy and fun to read.

Read the embedded order below. A couple of teaser quotes:

The Plaintiffs’ proposal — i.e., that the Court permits the Plaintiffs to subpoena the names of the subscribers and that the Court then leave it to the Plaintiffs to figure out the rest pursuant to informal communications — is unacceptable.

The Plaintiffs’ lack of interest in actually litigating these cases as demonstrated by the history of this litigation also weighs against permitting ex parte discovery.

The course of action the Plaintiff has stated it intends to pursue also suggests an improper effort to engage in judge shopping and evidences a disregard for the Court’s limited public resources.

…a bad faith effort to harass the third-party subscriber…

…the Plaintiffs have repeatedly said one thing and done another.

The Plaintiffs’ counsel has also repeatedly said to the undersigned, and to other judicial officers of this Court, that he intends to litigate the claims he has brought. Yet to date, counsel has sued well in excess of one thousand Doe Defendants in this District, and as far as the Court is aware, he has never served a Complaint upon a single individual defendant.


So, essentially, Sorokin calls out Marvin Cable on his lies in virtually every paragraph of this 8-page document with a nearly 3-D hint sticking out of a flat document surface: GTFO of Massachusetts’ courts with your ill-conceived mass cases!

No matter how unbelievable it sounds, some people are so obtuse they can miss such a hint, and I have a bad feeling that our hapless troll may put on his John Adams costume once again — to entertain us and to anger judges. And it won’t end well.

Raul adds:

A great Order that will, hopefully, resonate across the country. As Booth & Sweet pointed out in their tweet earlier today, “Judge Sorokin gave Cable just enough rope to hang himself.” The Order reads like an indictment of Cable’s overreaching, lying and overall craven behavior before the court (this indictment applies to most if not all copyright trolls). The second act of this comedy will be if and when Prenda gets rolling now that the audience has been warmed up.

Media coverage


Judge Sorokin finally brought the hammer down on Marvin Cable today and recommended dismissing the above-mentioned cases without prejudice for failure to serve the defendants.

On 11/16 Marvin Cable replied to the Order to show cause featured in this post trying to keep these cases on life support.

Judge Sorokin was not impressed:

The Plaintiffs advance several reasons in support of a finding of good cause. None have merit. […] The Plaintiffs have no one but themselves to blame for their inability to utilize information gleaned from the quashed subpoenas. The Plaintiffs engaged in the violations necessitating the Court’s remedy by telling third parties to whom Congress has accorded some measure of statutory privacy protection (i.e., the subscribers) that the Plaintiffs had sued them (the subscribers) for copyright infringement when the Plaintiffs had plainly not sued them. Moreover, the Court did not apply the 120-day rule at that time, but rather the Court gave the Plaintiffs another opportunity to propose a discovery plan tailored, as required under the law, toward identifying the identity of the persons the Plaintiffs chose to sue. As already explained, the Plaintiffs failed to advance this type of proposal.

…the difficulties, delays and rulings in this case all result from the Plaintiffs’ actions or inaction. The Court has repeatedly given the Plaintiffs ample opportunity to proceed properly with their cases. Since the Plaintiffs filed these cases, they have repeatedly failed to advance a plan compliant with the straightforward rules of procedure for limited ex parte discovery in order to learn the identities of the persons they have sued. In light of the opportunities they have had to make such a proposal, my previous rulings on these proposals and the Plaintiffs’ conduct of this litigation, I RECOMMEND that the Court find that the Plaintiffs have failed to establish good cause to extend the deadline, and that no other reason exists to exercise its discretion to permit an extension of the deadline. Accordingly, I RECOMMEND that the Court dismiss these cases pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(m) for failure to effect timely service.


¹ In Colorado, Malibu Media v. Fantalis et al docket is overwhelmed with new extremely interesting activity;    In Illinois, John Steele reached new lows in the turd of a lawsuit Guava (Lightspeed) v. Skyler Case: the hearing that took place this past Monday, and recently filed fraudulent federal cases deserve detailed attention.

Today’s surprising and Kafkaesque default judgment, as well as John Steele, who confused this blog and Twitter with a public restroom, hardly kept my mood elevated. Fortunately at the end of the day I was pointed to a hilarious document that resulted from Marvin Cable’s failure to show up on a hearing of his own motion. The opposition to plaintiff’s renewed motion for early discovery and motion for sanctions was written by Dan Booth (is there a synonym to “write” that is used exclusively do describe a poem creation?) Below I embedded the document for your enjoyment.

President John Adams
(1735 – 1826)

Poor troll Marvin Cable… Recently he embarrassed himself by comparing his questionable conduct to John Adams’s actions:

Plaintiff is reminded of John Adams’ defense of the six soldiers in the Boston Massacre, in December 1770, where he took the case despite the reputational blow to his career as a lawyer, and said, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” Here, the facts are that Doe defendants violated Plaintiff’s rights, and federal rules allow for permissive joinder of these defendants. There are no facts, there are only speculations, that the Plaintiff is ill-ly using the Court system to fill its belly and that this Court cannot find ways to adjudicate each defendant in one civil action. As this Court respectfully noted in it’s denial of defendant’s request to recuse a judge in U.S. v. Bulger, it is irresponsible for this Court to comply to requests where parties “have chosen to make untrue accusations in the possible hope of subverting that process, or at the very least, forcing a delay of a trial by injecting a diversionary issue into the proceedings.” 1:99-cr-10371-RGS (D. Mass) at 9. Plaintiff feels this Court would agree that Defendants’ requests to sever based on tall tales or misconduct should not be complied with.

I suspect that another Adams, namely Samuel, was the inspiration of such passion.

I’m sure John Adams is turning in his grave, hearing that his noble actions are being compared to using underage pornography to extort quick cash from people who are defendants during the day but turn ISP subscribers at night. (As a weretroll himself, Marvin seemingly does not have any problem with this transformation.)

To commemorate this flabbergasting arrogance, Marvin Cable’s nickname will be “President Adams” from now on.

The brave defender of the “work of art” Dirty Little Schoolgirl Stories #4 proudly regards himself as a role model:

Another Court in this District noted there has been no report of Plaintiff’s Counsel (who is the same Counsel here in a similar case) engaging in any unethical or coercive tactics, using the content-matter to persuade people into settling. It has even been stated on the record in another Court in a similar case during a hearing (transcript for that hearing is currently being worked on by stenographer) that this Counsel (who is the same Counsel here), as opposed to many others around the country, is one of the most ethical and best to deal with. Plaintiff can nearly guarantee that every defense counsel that has dealt with plaintiffs’ counsel would agree, even those who submit fierce motions against plaintiff.

Well, Dan Booth agrees… kind of:

Note how Marvin “President Adams” Cable explained the reason why he missed the hearing: he did not check his email on a daily basis! Since courts went all electronic, dogs are dying from hunger: no more homework judge’s orders to eat. This lame excuse resulted in short but entertaining order:

Ch. Magistrate Judge Leo T. Sorokin: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered. ORDER Setting Hearing on Plaintiff’s Renewed Motion for Early Discovery (Docket # 43). Plaintiff’s counsel failed to appear for the hearing scheduled for October 5, 2012. The Court has re-scheduled this hearing for October 12, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 24. Plaintiff’s Counsel is directed to check his email notices from the Court on a daily rather than weekly basis. (Chernetsky, James) (Entered: 10/09/2012)


Things go fast and downhill for Marvin “President Adams” Cable. The very same case, where he compared himself to Adams, just crumbled:

Docket Text: Judge Richard G. Stearns: ELECTRONIC ORDER severing all defendants but Doe 1 entered. Beneath the cloud of rhetoric, New Sensations, Inc., raises nothing in its Response beyond conjecture to suggest that these defendants are appropriately joined together. The court accepts counsel’s representation of good faith in attempting to litigate these cases. However, under the civil rules, in fairness to all involved, including the court, these cases should be litigated and defended in separate causes of action. Therefore, the court will dismiss without prejudice defendants 2 – 201. (Zierk, Marsha)

An anonymous commenter, who brought the news, also quoted John Adams, and this wisdom can serve as an epigraph to this site:

It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished. But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, “whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection,” and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever.

― John Adams

Judge Leo Sorokin is tired of troll Marvin Cable’s lies, denies ex-parte discovery.

Massachusetts is becoming too hot for copyright trolls. Lawyers, such as a veteran attorney Samuel Perkins, armed with Judge Sorokin’s ruling, continue hammering hapless young troll Marvin Cable. In addition, judges’ strong discontent with lawsuit abuse is growing. Judges Stearns, Boal, Saylor — to name a few, issued orders to show cause why mass cases shouldn’t be reduced to a single-defendant ones. I’m not aware of any case when an MA judge has been lenient to Cable and the trolling “business model” in general. True, the majority of judges initially allowed fishing expeditions, feeding Marvin’s arrogance, but note that all the known mass scams in human history initially succeeded, there is nothing surprising here. There is also nothing surprising and wrong when a judge changes his opinion after he understands the situation¹. As I noted many times, this is not a sign of weakness but wisdom.

These days another scammer, Daniel Ruggiero, who represents John Steele’s Prenda Law, files dozens of frivolous cases against individuals on the East Coast, including Massachusetts². I think that MA is his biggest mistake.

Federal Judge
William G. Young

This week District Judge William Young added an especially excellent page to the Troll Exterminator’s Guide. This is one of the rulings that will be quoted widely, not less than the famous rulings by judges Brown, McMahon, Write, Baer, as well as other classical examples of responsible case law building.

The Court acknowledges without reservation Third Degree’s right to assert copyright protection of the Film and to sue individuals who infringe on its intellectual property. But after a careful weighing of the balance of potential injustices in this case and like cases, the Court determines that any efficiency gains and cost benefits to Third Degree from joining the Doe defendants in a single action are substantially outweighed by the fairness concerns and inefficiencies at trial, the potential prejudice from what seems to be a developing pattern of extortionate settlement demands, and the evasion of thousands of dollars of filing fees.

As a result of rulings like this being quoted extensively, corrupt pro-troll DC judges will be in a greater and greater isolation, and a judge who deals with trolls for the first time won’t think twice before doing the right thing.

Enjoy the entire Memorandum and Order:

Thanks to Nicholas Guerrera and Jason Sweet for keeping me updated and bringing good news. 


Today Judge Young severed Does from three of Marvin Cable’s cases, leaving a single Doe per each case:

  • 1:12-cv-10535-WGY Third Degree Films v. Does 1-80 filed 03/23/12
  • 1:12-cv-10762-WGY Third Degree Films v. Does 1-47 filed 04/28/12
  • 1:12-cv-10763-WGY Third Degree Films v. Does 1-39 filed 04/28/12


¹ Thanks to MA Doe defendants. Unlike in other states (except maybe for Florida), per capita rate of talented IP attorneys in Massachusetts is astounding. I plan to redesign my Resources page and list defense attorneys on the state pages: visit the Massachusetts page in a while to see the list.

² I plan to write about Ruggiero’s sanctionable activities soon.

By Raul

The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled on the whole country of Egypt, such a dense swarm of locusts as had never been before, nor ever will be again. They covered the face of the whole land, so that the land was darkened, and they ate all the plants in the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Not a green thing remained, neither tree nor plant of the field, through all the land of Egypt.
Exodus 10:12

Once again copyright troll Mike Meier has caused yet another Judge in the Southern District of New York to issue an Opinion and Order, dated 9/4/2012, condemning the copyright troll business model.

Federal Judge
Harold Baer Jr.

The judge in this case, is Judge Harold Baer, who was assigned three of Meier’s lawsuits: Media Products v. Does 1-26 (12-cv-3719), Media Products v. Does 1-40 (12-cv-3630) and Patrick Collins v. Does 1-4 (12-cv-2962). In the beginning of his order, Judge looks back to his initial decision to permit Meier expedited discovery in order to learn the personal identifying information of the Does by means of subpoenas to various ISPs. Even at that time the judge had concerns about these determinations. Accordingly (emphasis supplied in this and the subsequent quotes),

To satisfy my concerns, I provided a period of time during which Doe defendants would remain anonymous and could move to quash the subpoena or take other actions before their identifying information was turned over to Plaintiffs. Such protective orders have become commonplace in BitTorrent suits. My hope was that this would allow Plaintiffs to overcome the hurdle of the anonymity of infringement on the Internet while at the same time shielding Doe defendants from the coercive tactics employed by Plaintiffs. The relatively small group of lawyers who police copyright infringement on BitTorrent have customized the concept of extracting quick settlements without any intention of taking the case to trial.

The judge then embarks on a discussion of the difficult question of “whether the joinder of tens and sometimes hundreds or thousands of unnamed defendants in these cases is proper,” when it comes to the trolls’ swarm theory of joinder in BitTorrent lawsuits. While not deciding the issue, the Judge notes that

It is this swarm that Plaintiffs have relied on in grouping Doe defendants together in a common suit. Ironically, there are swarms on both sides, for copyright locusts have descended on the federal courts, exacting low-cost settlements from embarrassed John Does and then moving on to the next District.

In footnote 2, which accompanies this quote, the judge ponders the waste of judicial resources caused by copyright troll lawsuits:

[i]t is difficult to even imagine the extraordinary amount of time federal judges have spent on these cases.

Judge Baer seemingly takes his cue from Judge Wright, who asserted that the courts are not “cogs in a plaintiffs copyright-enforcement business model. The Court will not idly watch what is essentially an extortion scheme, for a case that [Plaintiffs have] no intention of bringing to trial.” Joining with Judge Marrero, Baer orders the severance and dismissal without prejudice of all Does except the Doe 1. The judge is

also troubled by the fact that some Doe defendants have already been voluntarily dismissed at this early stage in the litigation; it suggests as suspected that the pressure on Doe defendants to settle their case quickly and thereby avoid embarrassment and litigation costs — when they may not even have committed any infringement — is all too real.

According to Judge Baer, this unfair pressure tactic employed by the trolls,

if left unchecked, could turn copyright protection on its head. Congress intended to incentivize the creation of useful arts by providing a statutory right and a means of enforcement that would reward authors for their labors, hardly the Plaintiffs’ strategy here. […] In the BitTorrent pornography cases, settlements are for notoriously low amounts relative to the possible statutory damages, but high relative to the low value of the work and minimal costs of mass litigation. Cases are almost never prosecuted beyond sending demand letters and threatening phone calls.

Of final interest is one portion of Judge Baer’s order, which warns Troll Meier as follows:

…that Plaintiffs shall not contact any Doe defendant who does not remain in this or a subsequently-filed case, and any pending settlement not with John Doe 1 in each named case shall immediately cease. If after 14 days Plaintiffs have not reinstituted cases against the remaining Doe defendants, Plaintiffs shall destroy whatever personal information they presently have for those defendants and shall not use the information for any purpose. If any Doe defendant no longer named in a case is contacted following entry of this Order, I encourage them to contact the Court.

Below is the entire Order and Opinion:


In closing, I wish to thank Ray Beckerman, Esq., who was the first to point to this fine Opinion and Order as well as Mike Meier for, once again, increasing the federal judiciary’s arsenal to hinder this wasteful and predatory abuse of the federal courts.

Of course, the obvious music video to embed would be Bob Marley’s “Exodus” but I think this one is more apt:


Media Coverage

9/24/2012 Techdirt: Another Judge Blasts Copyright Trolls by Mike Masnick.

A month ago, KGUN9-TV (Tucson, Arizona) aired a program about copyright trolls. Anchor/reporter Tammy Vo, while talking about a mother of two Jenny Phan, an apparently innocent victim of a local CEG-affiliated troll Wayne Carroll, did an excellent job presenting to the general audience the ongoing rampant abuse of judicial system. Unlike a recent sloppy reporting by a Las Vegas TV station, Ms. Vo did her job diligently, researched this topic deeply, and as far as I know, this rather expressive program had a significant resonance in Tucson and the entire state of Arizona.

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne

To our pleasant surprise, this theme was not closed with that program: apparently, Tammy Vo continued to investigate one of the most shameful “legal” scams in recent history, and, as a result, she interviewed a man who has a real power to put an end to semi-legal extortion in his state: Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne.

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time when a state attorney general speaks about this issue. In the video, Tom Horne looks polite and friendly, but what he says in a calm and casual voice must be sending shivers down the spines of trolls and their co-conspirator porn purveyors:

“I’m not aware of any legal basis for why you would be responsible for someone else’s wrongful acts if they wrongfully accessed your computer” said Horne. He also says that if there was no reasonable basis to believe that Jenny pirated the porn, threatening her for money would be extortion.

Ms. Vo mentioned a couple of examples when trolls have been preying on the most vulnerable people — immigrants.

“If they are targeting immigrants, then that would be a bad sign and indicate they’re doing it because the immigrants don’t know how to defend themselves and it could be an aggravating factor for any action” said Horne.

Hearing that, I couldn’t help remembering a sad story of a clearly innocent immigrant who was conned into paying by California troll Gill Sperlein a year ago. I hope that soon such predatory assaults will not be possible anymore.

It is difficult to overestimate the significance of an attorney general weighing in on this investigation, even if he would simply articulate his opinion. However, he went farther than that: he encouraged victims to overcome illusionary embarrassment and file complaints — something that I, DieTrollDie, and Rob Cashman have been advocating for a long time:

The Attorney General’s office would like you to file a complaint with them if you feel that you’ve been wrongly accused of pirating porn. To do that, click here. Scroll to the bottom of the screen to access printable or online complaint forms.

It is clear from the program that Mr. Horne sincerely was not aware of the problem, and just learned about it. Someone had to inform him: in this case, it was a journalist, but it could very well be any victim. Look, we have been witnessing a Florida Bar investigation of troll Joseph Perea, and this investigation would not start if not for a pissed off innocent Doe, who filed a complaint. And it is just the beginning.

In order to win, you have to pick up the fight, and in order to secure powerful allies, you should reach them, and you have to be persistent if at first you are not heard.

There is a follow-up 8/24/2012 KGUN9-TV story that I overlooked: More threats for Tucson mom accused of dirty deed.

Attorney Samuel Perkins is understandably angry. In his motion to dismiss Discount Video Center v. Does 1-29 case (12-cv-10805) on behalf of one of the Does, he explains why. This time I don’t want to summarize the motion for an unusual reason: I think of the summary as a spoiler — and I want everyone to read this document from the first to the last paragraph. Most of court filings are logical yet boring. Sometimes we see anger that hopelessly buries arguments: such motions are usually easily rebutted and not taken seriously by judges. It’s a fine art to balance on the edge between anger and clarity of a logical mind.

I hope that this motion will result in equally harsh, truthful and precise order by the judge who is already unhappy with Marvin Cable (to put it mildly), and Massachusetts will join the list of states that recovered from the judicial plague of copyright extortion.

Exhibits (Marvin Cable’s extortion letters) 1, 2, 3.



On 8/27/2012 Samuel Perkins filed another, even more harsher, motion to dismiss in the Celestial v. Does 1-28 (12-cv-10948) case. Enjoy:

I would like to bring a new addition to my page “Counter actions against trolls” to your attention. You remember a recently widely covered event, when a pro se defendant Jeff Fantalis fought back in a powerful way, while answering to Malibu Media’s complaint. Likewise, the defendant in Discount Video Center, Inc v. Does 1-29, (Massachusetts District, 12-cv-10805) has also combined his answer to complaint with a set of counterclaims against a few parties: a porn purveyor Discount Video Center, a “forensic” expert Jon Nicolini, and a Mafioso-like troll clan Copyright Enforcement Group.

Although it has been almost three weeks since this document was filed, I somehow overlooked it. DieTrollDie covered this case in detail:

Even Marc Randazza crashed the party with his amicus curiae brief defending the copyrightability of pornography¹. Yet no one has pointed out to the following beautiful Answer and Counterclaims prepared by attorney Samuel Perkins (and his colleagues from his firm Brody, Hardoon, Perkins & Kesten) on behalf of Doe 22:


The best part is beyond this document: it is in the knowledge that this offensive is just a beginning. Samuel Perkins, Jason Sweet, and other “troll slayers” are very serious in their intention to end the copyright trolling plague (at least in Massachusetts), and are looking for brave Does, who are willing to serve as plaintiffs in impending lawsuits against Copyright Enforcement Group, its clients and attorneys. You can secure your place in history and improve your Karma if you come forward, and (do I really need to say this?) you will have our infinite support.



¹ I don’t want to look like a tinfoil hat connoisseur, but… did anyone else notice that there are only two trolling cases where defendants fight back by means of counterclaims, and these are exactly the two cases where Marc Randazza intervened with his briefs? There are more than two cases where the copyrightablity of pornography was questioned, but others were ignored so far… Coincidence?

By Raul

When one confronts a “blizzard of civil actions brought by purveyors of pornographic films alleging copyright infringement by individuals utilizing a computer protocol known as BitTorrent,” it appears as if Federal District Court judges are looking for more reasons to grant severance as a way to discourage these lawsuits. As Judge Otis D. Wright of the CACD observed:

The federal courts are not cogs in a plaintiff’s copyright-enforcement business model. The Court will not idly watch what is essentially an extortion scheme, for a case that plaintiff has no intention of bringing to trial. By requiring Malibu to file separate lawsuits for each of the Doe Defendants, Malibu will have to expend additional resources to obtain a nuisance-value settlement—making this type of litigation less profitable. If Malibu desires to vindicate its copyright rights, it must do it the old-fashioned way and earn it.

When Virginia-based copyright troll Mike Meier began filing lawsuits in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) back in December of 2011, I wondered if he paused to consider the implications of what he was doing or whether he was too busy counting the rewards he would reap. The implications are that the SDNY is arguably the most prestigious District Court in the nation (sorry, DDC, NDIL and CACD), because it hears and rules on some of the most high profile and complex cases in the federal judicial system. Accordingly, other District Courts will more often than not look to the SDNY when deciding a similar matter. For reasons known only by him, Marc Randazza had his theory of vicarious negligence kicked to the curb in the SDNY, while pursuing a copyright troll lawsuit in the SDNY. Randazza is a very smart guy, and he is aware of the implications. Based upon the determination in this case, it is more than reasonable to forecast that other lawsuits, which rely upon this theory of liability, either in whole or in part, will also be summarily dismissed in the future.

Regarding reasons to grant severance in a copyright troll lawsuit, Meier’s track record in the SDNY has given other District Courts several reasons to grant severances, which they are using on a weekly basis (it seems):

  1. On 1/3/20120 in the lawsuit entitled Digital Sin v. Does 1-176 (12-cv-00126) SDNY Judge Nathan referenced a 1-17 hearing during which Meier incredibly admitted to a 30% mismatch between infringer and subscriber in identifying IP addresses. Judges across the nation are using this as a plank of their platform to grant severance.
  2. Likewise and out of the same determination, Meier admitted to hearing “horror stories out there, telling what some law firms have done. For example, they have called and harassed the John Doe defendants.” This has since been translated into “abusive litigation tactics” in many subsequent judicial determinations across the nation granting severance.
  3. On 05/15/2012, in the lawsuit entitled Digital Sins v. Does 1-245 (11-cv-08170), a SDNY judge McMahon was the first judge to point to the fact that by joining oodles of potential plaintiffs in a lawsuit with a $350 filing fee, copyright trolls were ripping of the federal government. Once again, this reason to grant severance now resounds across the nation.
  4. Additionally, in the same lawsuit Judge McMahon observed that she had no faith in Meier’s geo-location technology, which she drilled home at a later date. Not surprisingly, this has also become another nationwide plank, granting severance in many determinations across the nation.

To the glee of us who are opposed to this predatory and shameless business model, Meier has continued to soldier on in the SDNY, but he has now blundered into an area, where both sides of this fight need to pause and assess the stakes. To put it bluntly, Meier has so aroused the ire of the SDNY, that First Amendment rights are potentially being placed on the sacrificial altar of the “quick buck.”

Federal Judge Victor Marrero

On 7/31/2012, in the lawsuit entitled Next Phase Distribution v. Does 1-27 (12-cv-03755), Judge Marrero who is no novice when it comes to overreaching handed down a Decision and Order, severing Does 2-27, and while touching on a lot of the customary reasons, added a new one:

Finally, the court recognizes that if the Motion Picture is considered obscene, it may not be eligible for copyright protection … Accordingly, the court recognizes that joining 27 defendants, a substantial number of whom may have no liability in this case, in a copyright infringement case when the copyright itself might be deemed invalid, could prove to be a costly and futile exercise for Nest Phase and the Court, and a damaging and unnecessary ordeal for the John Does.

This may just be a warning shot across the bow, but xbiz should take notice and put pressure on the small percentage that engage in this noxious extortion scheme before your freedom to create is undermined by the few. Based on the above, I predict future determinations severing Does, making use of this reasoning, which is problematic to say the least.


To end on a lighter note, I’m sending this out to the Frat Boy Trolls in response to the last week email (NSFW):


Featured comment

houstonlawy3r says:
August 13, 2012 at 10:10 pm

This is probably one of the best articles I have read yet. Quite frankly, after reading your article, I feel compelled to write something up as well because this is a momentous order (especially considering what Judge Howell just did in DC elevating the issue to a higher court).

The problem is that there is nothing to write because you’ve covered it all in a way that cannot be matched. Good for you. :) I would advise all readers to read the order and take this one seriously. The dominoes are falling and I suspect (and hope) this issue is coming to a resolution.

Rob came up with an article soon after this comment. The article compliments Raul and complements Raul’s observations.