Posts Tagged ‘Mike Meier’

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: internet.bs 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.

SJD

…and now the notice:

 

As Matthew Chan has noticed, Meier’s “professional” website internationallawgroup.com 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.

 

Update

8/26/2014

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.

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.

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.

By Raul

After getting admonished by Judge McMahon as explained in a recent post, copyright troll Mike Meier has an audacity to file another passel of lawsuits in the Southern District of New York. One of these lawsuits, Combat Zone, v. Does 1-34 (12-cv-4133) gets assigned to the troll’s nemesis, Judge McMahon (you know this will not end well for the troll). Meier moves for expedited discovery which Judge McMahon denies and she orders Meier to show cause, in light of her earlier Order in Digital Sins, why she should not sever Does 2-34 in this new lawsuit. Meier puts in his response and on 6/18 Judge McMahon hands down her Order severing Does 2-34. Excerpts:

First, Counsel argues that I should permit these defendants to be joined because I have been inconsistent on this issue…To which I say, with Justice Holmes, that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…

and

Second, plaintiff calls my attention to the fact that my colleagues Judges Forrest and Nathan have reached a different conclusion in “swarm” cases… I respectfully disagreed with my learned colleagues then and I continue to do so now, having concluded that other precedents were more persuasive in light of the Second Circuit’s holding-never overturned, despite advances in technology-that permissive joinder is not authorized when a large number of people use the same method to violate the law.

finally, and to get the full flavor you need to recall that Meier always seems to find a convenient excuse not to pursue Doe 1 after severance (in discussing the reliability of Meier’s geolocation technology),

In Digital Sin, I allowed plaintiff to proceed against Doe 1 (after severing the other 246 John Does), only to have plaintiff’s counsel file a discontinuance in short order; the cited ground was that plaintiff had learned that Doe1-his geolocation technology notwithstanding-was not a New York resident and was not amenable to suit in the Southern District of New york! I commend counsel for his candor in admitting the want of jurisdiction once it was uncovered, but he makes my point: the amenability of these defendants to suit in this district is suspect.

Enjoy the full order:

By the way, if you have any doubt that this is indeed a “Domino Effect,” judge McMahon is not the only SDNY judge who tells trolls to get out of the district.

Two weeks ago a New York (Eastern District) judge Gary Brown made it clear that copyright trolls are not welcome in his district. His epic ORR (Order and Report and Recommendation) still reverberates in the online news (see the incomplete list of publications about Brown’s ruling at the end of my other post).


Federal judge
Colleen McMahon

Following Brown’s recommendations, a district judge Colleen McMahon completely destroyed troll business in the Southern District of New York yesterday: she dismissed all Does but #1 from “My Little Panties Two” case (11-cv-08170-CM) brought from under the bridge by a weretroll Mike Meier on behalf of a pornographer Digital Sins. “I am second to none in my dismay at the theft of copyrighted material that occurs every day on the internet. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to litigate, and so far this way strikes me as the wrong way,” judge concluded, preempting any doubts about her position regarding these abusive lawsuits.

It would be outstanding news half a year ago, but these days, when trolls are on the run, such events fill all the honest people with joy, yet at the same time we don’t exclaim “wow!” anymore, and that’s wonderful.

What about Does #1?

We always express our joy and congratulate Does who are dismissed from improperly joined cases. But what about the hapless Does who were unlucky to find themselves at the top of the trolls’ lists? Scapegoats as they seem, in reality are not in any more danger: trolls rarely pursue them further; it is not in trolls’ interest to spend their time and effort on random individuals when there are so many new uneducated fresh victims to extort.

After a spectacular downfall in Maryland, where chief district judge Deborah Chasanow assigned most of mass bittorent MD cases to herself and subsequently cut them to single Doe suits, Mike Meier was expectedly quick to use any excuses to get rid of his not-lucrative-anymore cases. For example,

  • 12-cv-00023-RWT: Doe #1 is dismissed because he “used a mobile device as he was traveling through New York. Doe #1 resides outside the jurisdiction of this Court.”

…and, back to this SDNY case,

  • 11-cv-08170-CM: Doe #1 is dismissed because “Plaintiff has received a notice from ISP for Doe #1 (Verizon) that Doe #1 cannot be located.” Note that this dismissal notice comes the next day after McMahon killed the lawsuit.

Given the rich history of documented lies produces by trolls, I would take these claims with a grain of salt and double-check this information: if Mike Meier could be caught lying, it wouldn’t be a surprise, yet would undoubtedly be another nail in the coffin of copyright trolling.

Updates

5/17/2012
Rob Cashman posted a very interesting in-depth analysis of this ruling.

6/20/2012
Raul’s follow-up featuring the same actors: Mike Meier has an audacity to continue fishing in the Southern District of New York. Judge McMahon is not impressed

The story about a copyright troll Terik Hashmi who was caught practicing law without license in Florida was widely covered this week (DieTrollDie, EFF, ArsTechnica, TorrentFreak, Rob Cashman). As a result, the judge put his 27 mass bittorent cases on hold pending investigation.

Many knew that the website of a copyright bully, Copyright Enforcement Group, listed Terik Hashmi’s “Transnational Law Group, P.L.L.C.” as a partner:

CEG Partner List

If you visit this webpage today, you will not find “Transnational Law Group, P.L.L.C.” there anymore. Obviously, the settlement factory rushed to distance itself from an alleged felon (practicing without license in Florida is a 3rd degree felony, and carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and $5,000 fine.) No one in this “business” wants too much attention: trolls dwell in dark corners and are afraid of light (publicity).

The list of partners still includes the following members:

  • Law Offices of Ira Siegel. No introduction necessary. Ira was quiet recently, after judge Maria-Elena James became the last Northern California judge who finally had had enough of trolls and killed his two monstrous cases.
  • The Copyright Law Group, P.L.L.C. It’s also a wide-known troll (or rather a weretroll), Maik Meier. Meier and Hashmi know each other for a long time.
  • Carroll Law Firm. I don’t know anything about this firm. Let me know if you have any interesting information.
  • Law Offices of Marvin Cable. This is a puzzle. Marvin Cable is listed on the EFF Subpoena Defense page (Update 3/23/2012: not anymore), represents Randazza gang’s victims and does not file lawsuits against unnamed Internet users. While being related to a settlement factory does not add to an attorney’s reputation, I wouldn’t categorize him as a troll and leave it between him and his understanding of ethics. Update 3/23/2012: Although I tried to give a benefit of a doubt to the guy, the prospect of quick and easy cash has finally won over dignity. Confirmed: Marvin Cable is a troll.
  • Schulenberg & Schenk. This is a German lawfirm, Guardaley’s co-conspirators in multiple extortion schemes in Germany. A Berlin court found that Guardaley’s IP collection methods are flawed, however it did not prevent Guardaley from extending extortion business to US using various decoys (“IPP”, “Baseprotect” etc.)

CEG’ website was redesigned recently and now looks professional and creates an impression of a reputable company. Obviously, some good designers and marketers were hired using money shaken down from semi-random Internet users. It is still no more than a settlement factory that has automated already inhuman process of sending out hollow threats and scaring innocent (and not-so-innocent) ISP subscribers into paying.

And it all started…

A less known fact: Ira Siegel and his partner Owen Onouye started a trolling business “Hammer Law” back in April 2009. Then, Onouye became one of CEG’s founders and its registered agent. Prior to these events Mr. Onoye served 2.5 years in prison: police caught him with 48 pounds of marijuana and he was convicted in 2005. It took a while for the California Bar to catch up (did they ever hear about the trolls?), but finally Owen Onouye’s license was suspended in August 2011.

SUSPENDED!

The story of Mr. Onouyo’s moral downfall is an interesting read: Onouyo claims that he agreed to be involved in drug delivery because his financial situation was dire. As we know, Ira Siegel’s is in a similar predicament: he filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in 2010. Still… No matter how bad your finances look, improving the situation by turning to questionable methods, whether it is drug trafficking or copyright racket, is always a wrong answer. Karma police does not need court approval to watch inside everyone’s soul.

Update

04/04/2012

Terik Hashmi
Copyright troll Terik Hashmi

There were some events surrounding the consolidated case — all-in-one 27 cases fraudulently filed by Terik Hasmi in Florida: order to show cause why this case shouldn’t be dismissed, Hashmi’s tearful reply, and substitution of disgraced attorney by weretroll Mike Meier. On April 3 Judge Hinkle finally dismisses this case.

Rob Cashman covered this story, and EFF did.

Adult industry’s main news outlet, XBiz, also wrote about this event calling plaintiffs some of the top studios in the adult entertainment. I laughed wondering who are the bottom ones then, and what kinds of predatory assaults on the general public they are capable of (with the little help from some ethically challenged lawyers).

8/7/2012

CEG changed its name to CEG TEK, probably to commemorate TEriK Hashmi.

It was brought to my attention that Mike Meier was sanctioned in the amount of $37,415.00 under 28 U.S.C. § 1927 on 9/20/2011.

Schulenberg & Schenk is not listed as a partner anymore. Matlock Law Group appears instead. Anne-Leith Matlock, a layer from this firm has already started filing mass bittorent cases.

Troll of the week

“Weretroll” is a portmanteau of “troll” and “werewolf”, a name for a miserable kind of formerly decent attorneys who turn into trolls when the moon is full, confusing the full moon with a golden coin. Unlike a werewolf, a weretroll can bark, but cannot bite — just like any other representative of the troll genera. Like its relatives, it lives of those whom it manages to coerce into settling using deception and hollow threats.

A DC attorney Mike Meier was once listed on the EFF subpoena defense page. Although his name cannot be found there anymore, there are many articles saying that his “Copyright Law Group” defended those accused of copyright infringement in mass p2p cases:

“There are multiple reasons why the law firms may have tracked down the wrong person. For example, someone may have downloaded a movie by through a Wi-Fi network used by many people, or a minor child may have used the parents’ computer. Finally, there is the human or computer error factor, maybe the user was actually out of town when the alleged download occurred,” adds Mike Meier, of Counsel to the law firm. “Courts are still dealing with many unresolved issues in these cases where people allegedly download movies or other works from the internet.”

Moreover, in an interview to PilotOnline.com Mike Meier rightfully calls the troll tactics by the name they should be called:

Meier acknowledges the country’s long-standing copyright laws but said the lawyers’ tactics have been too aggressive.
“In my opinion, they are bill collectors for the movie industry,” he said. “They’re basically extorting money”.

However, having seen that his opponents make much more money using blackmail, Mr. Meier faced tough questions: does the so-called dignity have a monetary value? Is there a price that justifies abandoning a long and hard way of reputation building? Apparently, he answered “yes” to both questions and joined the growing army of blackmailers.

Mike Meier’s website before the transformation:

…and after the transformation:

There is a private yahoo group comprised of lawyers who defend copyright trolls’ victims. This group is attorney-only, because the members discuss strategies and tactics of fighting copyright trolls, and the group is very selective when it comes to membership. I don’t know if Mr. Meier was ever a part of this group, but if he was, imagine the harm that he is capable of inflicting now. I am not saying that Mr. Meyer will violate any attorney-client privileges, but he could still take advantage of the information once entrusted to him. Update: Rob Cashman noted in a comment below that Mike Meier is unknown in bittorent defense lawyer community. So probably the fear of acquiring some secret knowledge and using it against us is overstated.

Mike Meier employs the same “experts” as Ira Siegel – Copyright Enforcement Group (actually, Meier’s Copyright Law Group is listed as a partner) — the company that admits uploading copyrighted material to p2p networks in order to entrap file-sharers:

That’s what I meant back in September when I said that Ira Siegel participates in shameless honeypot schemes. Any accusation of copyright infringement based on such a brazen entrapment would be easily nullified based on the “unclean hands doctrine”, but remember: trolls have no intention to litigate these matters, so they don’t care about the piles of stinky filth on their hands (that’s how dirty money smells).

Update

8/7/2012

It came to my attention that Mike Meier was sanctioned in the amount of $37,415.00 under 28 U.S.C. § 1927 on 9/20/2011.

8/26/2014

Two years after this post was published, Mike Meier tries to remove it (and other articles about him) by sending a frivolous DMCA notice to my registrar.

Media coverage