IO Group, Inc. v. Does 1-244 (closed)

RFC Case Number: C-I10-3647D
Court Case Number: 3:10-cv-03647-MEJ
File Date: Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Plaintiff: IO Group, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: D. Gill Sperlein of The Law Office of D. Gill Sperlein
Defendant: Does 1-244
Cause: 17:101 Copyright Infringement
Court: California Northern District Court
Judge: Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James
Federal Judge William H. Alsup (since 4/6/11)

Court Documents

All related documents are located on Scribd

Last docket: #66 filed 10/07/11.
Last checked for new dockets: Checking daily.

This case is over: there was a default judgment against two remaining defendants, $20,000 for both.

Details

ISP: AT&T
Doe details on a separate page.

Comments
  1. Steven says:

    Hi again, you asked who the plaintiff is in my case on techdirt.com yesterday. They are Hard Drive Production Inc.

    I’ve written a letter that I hope will cause the case against all the Does quashed, but I’m not confident that it will. The basis of their case is that there was a willful defrauding of HDP and I argue that can only be at most half true. If it can be shown that the state of internet pornography is such that there isn’t a line between content offered freely and content offered for a price I believe this case will be thrown out.

    There are many sites that take in profits from advertisers because of the masses they attract using free content. The problem is that some of the content comes from their competitors without permission. As long as this is true I don’t see how consumers can be expected to know they are stealing. Granted some know the content is there without permission it isn’t right to say that all consumers on these sites are stealing the content. If this dispute is between anyone it is between the big networks hosting the content of competing networks without permission.

    But this isn’t exactly how the other side sees it. They believe that by including the torrent format in their argument all those dynamics are suddenly changed-which is not true. If all the content offered by these networks is seemingly offered as free and legal, I don’t see how downloading it by bit torrent is any different from streaming it or downloading it directly from the site. If anyone is liable it is those who are offering the content as free. Once the big networks stop taking each other’s content without permission and put a difference between the legitimate and illegitimate how are consumers supposed to know the difference, and how is the way in which the content reaches consumer’s computer the primary issue?

    Seeing that Amateur Allure (A branch of HDP) choose a host that engaged in all these unlawful practices (in light of this being known they recently switched hosts) how is it they HDP thinks that consumers are to blame for this confusion? Shouldn’t they look to the strife in their own house before accusing their patrons? Since they switched hosts they know this is an issue of confusion for customers or they wouldn’t have changed. It seems to me it is more profitable for them to cash in on this problem on the backs of many who don’t know any wrong has taken place.

    As long as the courts allow this pornographers will never get their house in order and continue to shake as many people to settle for thousands when in most cases the damages are not the fault of those being sued. If they want to go after individuals that seems fair and well, but to group people together given the circumstances is an obscene perversion of justice and a blot on anyone that is in a position to put it to an end and chooses not to.

    I could go on and on, but this is the gist of what I wrote about, and if you have anything to add or comment on I will gladly hear it. I’m not against these business being compensated for loss, but they need to put the blame where it belongs and acknowledge that the uninitiated pornography consumer has no idea that they have the potential to be tangled up in the squabbling of big networks and could potentially have blame laid on them by a miscarriage of justice.

  2. Dear Steven, thanks for sharing your info and thoughts. It took me some time to look at you case (just in case (so that other people could also have a look): the Complaint is available free of charge at http://archive.recapthelaw.org/cand/238954/ .)

    I have noticed that in some sense your troll (Mr. Gibbs) is smarter than mine (or maybe he has learned from others’ experience: your case is pretty new): he has listed only the IPs from CA on the case, so unless there is a mistake, and at least one non-CA Doe surfaces somewhere on the net, it is impossible to entertain the jurisdiction argument for your case. Note that your troll has also thoroughly outlined lengthy arguments explaining why he believes that 188 people can be joined in one case. I don’t think, however, that he has anything new in these arguments, and I have seen many cases where judges were not convinced and severed and dismissed multiple Does because of improper joinder. I would recommend that you try the joinder strategy first: if it works, you may never have to argue on the merit of the case.

    BTW, I have realized that your troll’s IP detecting company, “Steele Hansmeier PLLC,” is a partnership co-founded by the main character of the article in the comments to which we met. I guess, since his strategy does not work in his home IL anymore, Steele is now trying other states and has been teaming up with local trolls. BTW, you might find it useful to have a look at an article claiming that Steele “is using proprietary software so he can try to toss out trade secret arguments in hopes of avoiding an investigation into his spreadsheet producing software.“ (BTW, the article and comments to it contain a lot of useful info about the tactics of Mr. Steele and other attorneys engaged in mass letter “blackmail” campaigns.)

    Also, does the following phrase from the Current article ring a bell about porno video sites? “I’m not sure how he justifies that price, especially since a person could sign up for pay sites that offer full access to 1000s of videos for usually about $1 per day.” I did not download the gay porno film that my troll is saying I downloaded, and I am not really familiar with obviously inventive ways in which porno is represented on the net, but who knows, maybe the defense ideas that you have outlined in your message will eventually work. I am curious what a defense lawyer would say about your arguments.

    Steven, in a comment at techdirt you mentioned that we could try to “persuade ISPs to send letters to those targeted in specific cases to offer them a forum to meet at.” I agree, we could ask ISPs. I am not sure, however, whether they would be willing to help alleged pirates. In any case, I think that we should think about a platform on which we could start a forum. Do you have a suggestion? This forum could help implement your suggestion – get together those people who would like to hire one lawyer and share the expenses. Once we start it, we could send a request to our ISPs; we can also inform EFF, and with some luck we may get them (EFF) list the link to the forum on their web site. FYI (just in case): I sent a couple of messages to EFF with info about my case (saying that I’d like to inform other Does about my fight), but it looks like they are too busy with cases, where they have significantly more Does (the most recent case, Camelot Distribution Group, Inc. v. Does 1-5,865 (Case No. 11-1949 DDP (FMOx), lists 5,865 IPs). However, if we create a forum on our own, maybe they will list it, who knows. In any case, we can PR the forum ourselves – say, at Techdirt and Arstechnica. Also note that my case Docket listings at Scribd (the link is closer to the top of this page, right beneath the table with my case data) have already got 2,300 reads, so think about starting a similar listing for your case.

    BTW, I am curious how you found out that you are on the case. I understand from the Docket summary that Plaintiff’s “Ex Parte Application For, and Memorandum of Law in Support of, Leave to Take Discovery Prior to Rule 26(f) ” has been denied on 4/22/2011, there was no subpoena issue so far, and there will be the Case Management Conference on 7/22/2011 at 01:30 PM (see the summary for Docket 9 (“Minute Entry: Motion Hearing held on 4/22/2011…”)). Is it what you know?
    FYI: I was informed about the case by my ISP – when AT&T forwarded a copy of the subpoena to me saying that unless they receive any motion, they will disclose Doe info to the plaintiff. They gave us about three weeks to act.

    Finally, you mentioned that you sent a letter to the court. When did you mail it? I don’t see your letter in the filings, and I wonder whether they will file it unless it satisfies their procedural requirements outlined in their handbook at http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/prosehandbk .

    One last note: I am in the same situation as you are, so I care about your identity issue. I would highly recommend that you use Tor when posting anything related to your case.

  3. Look what I have found at http://abovethelaw.com/2010/12/quote-of-the-day-thank-god-for-the-collective-action-problem/ :

    “My dream would be to have 10,000-20,000 people file all three documents to the lawyers and severely cripple the entire process and show them that you shouldn’t be allowed to join so many defendants.

    — Graham Syfert, a lawyer who created standardized documents to help people defend themselves from illegal download lawsuits without having to pay for a legal defense (and who now is the subject of a motion for sanctions by lawyers for Voltage Pictures, makers of The Hurt Locker, who are upset over the extra legal work created for them).”

    My troll, Mr. Sperlein, also threatened Graham Syfert and a Doe who used the motions written by this attorney. I wrote about it in one of my filings (Docket 25, p.4, item (c)).

    • Steven says:

      Yea I saw that. Supposedly his opposition didn’t like that too much and threatened him in some fashion over it.

      I knew about my case because my ISP informed me. You probably would have seen that in the documents if my typo didn’t lead you to a nearly identical case. My case is Does 1-118, not 1-188. 1-188 is with hard drive productions too.. lol. This stuff needs to end.

      I’ve not sent my letter yet because I’ve been thinking about changing it, and wondering if it will be considered at all. What I’d really like is a lawyer, but I’m not excited about paying for one when it could be about the same as what I’ll end up paying for in damages that never occurred.

      I’d like to look into this more but I have a heavy work load until the 15th. When I have the time I’ll try to get the 30 day extension mentioned in the paperwork I have, maybe I/we can figure something out in that time.

      I’ll look into that identity protection stuff. Normally I wouldn’t care, but seeing that I stand to incite Mr Steele he might single me out… I read somewhere on techdirt (i think)that he went after someone that said something about him on the message board.

      • I am afraid that whoever fights will be a primary target for retaliation. Trolls want quiet settlements, not motions or letters.

        If you have an idea where we could start a forum or something, let me know.

      • Anonymous Doe says:

        Hello Steve, I too am in the 1-118, is there any way I can get into contact with you? Perhaps we can even work with the same lawyer to help us fight our case.

  4. Steven says:

    I see your well written and lengthy letter didn’t stop identities from being let out. I’m going to just wait. I’m guessing they are going to shake some money out of the 118 and move on.

    My idea of joining people together isn’t as easy as I first thought because everyone is divided between different isps. If wanted to push for something like that I’d have to identify myself first and try to get the court to cooperate.

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