Why you shouldn’t talk to plaintiff’s lawyer
Embedded is an excellent lecture by a law professor explaining why you should never talk to police. Why am I posting it and how is it related to the topic of this blog? I see a great similarity between police’s and copyright trolls’ methods of provoking self-incriminating statements by deception.
Imagine that you wanted to download a different file and were fooled by the file name. You may think that explaining this fact to a troll will result in dismissal; but you are wrong: all you are doing is admitting the guilt, and you may be still liable for unwillful infringement (up to $30,000 per work per infringement). As Sperlein scoffed at Mayra Gonzales’ letter,
…I don’t think that someone searching for stolen content but simply got the wrong stolen content is going to prove they are an innocent infringer…
On the other hand, if you are silent, it is trolls’ duty to prove their allegations, and given the quality of evidence they have plus growing awareness about their extortion scheme, it is extremely hard for them to do.
7 responses to ‘Why you shouldn’t talk to plaintiff’s lawyer’
Thank you for the video. Wow, that really takes me back. My previous career was in criminal investigations and so much of what was said on both sides is true. I did like what the cop at the end – that he doesn’t target innocent people. That is one thing that differs from the Trolls. For the police, they are charged to prove or disprove an allegation. The Trolls do not care. They don’t care if someone used your Internet connect (without your permission) or that your WiFi was “Open.” All they care about is getting you to pay the “settlement” agreement and keeping your mouth shut on their tactics. Proving or dis-proving that you actually did illegally download copyright protected material is not something they want to do. Don’t let someone tell you they are protecting the rights of the copyright owners. The settlement letters and telephone calls are only used to get your money. The Trolls do have the same opinion as the cop, in that “your client is stupid,” or that “the registered IP owner is stupid.” And both are correct. I don’t say that to be mean to all the people who have paid the Trolls, but let’s be honest. If this wasn’t the case, the Trolls wouldn’t be making so much money. The Trolls are not running a full and thorough investigation. Money and greed motivated their business model.
Let’s do some simple math – Case against 300 Does; Trolls have an estimated settlement return rate of 50% (Unk, just an est.); Say $2,500 per settlement; 150 X 2500 = $375,000; Split that with the original owners; Go party; Start more case and repeat the cycle. You get the picture.
The bottom line as the professor stated – Don’t talk to the Police (or Troll). It will do you NO good. The Troll doesn’t care and will only try to use it against you. If it goes to court (doubtful), there will be time enough to get your information out and prevent being abused or taken advantage of.
When I was a new investigator, I had an instructor liken running an investigation to making a cake. To make the cake, it took many different ingredients (part) and steps to reach the conclusion (finished cake). One of the last steps is often the interview of the suspect. If you got the suspect to admit to the crime(s), that was the icing on the cake. Point being that if you case (cake) was already good; the confession was the sweet topping that ONLY added to it. If a person refused to talk, the cake was still good and a prosecutor could still use it. I like my cake with icing, but I will still eat it without it. My point to the “Cake” story is the Trolls do not have even a basic simple cake built for any of their cases. What they do have is the information that an IP address allegedly illegally downloaded copyright protected material. As far as the cake building goes, the IP address they have obtained is akin to having a bag of flour. The Trolls know that having one ingredient (IP address) does not make a cake (solid case). So instead of gathering the remaining ingredients and taking the proper steps to make the cake (proving their case), they send out a settlement letter to the IP owner. This is where the message in the video is key – “Don’t talk to the Trolls; It will do you NO good.” Right now the Trolls have nothing; If you talk to them, they may obtain something to help their case.
As stated in this forum, if you are formally named in a legal matter, do not ignore the Trolls. If you ignore them at that point, the Trolls may obtain a default judgment against you. Make them “prove” their allegations and show you their “Cake.” I bet it tastes like “crap!”
Very insightful comment, thank you! I loved the cake analogy. I’ll make your comment a post – I have many visitors ( 800+ page hits today – a record), but only few read comments, and I want everyone to read your thoughts.
I haven’t watched the vid yet (thnaks sjd xx), so this comment is directed toward your into and specifically the so-called ‘reasoning’ used by Sperlein the Troll.
The Troll has applied a wrongful assumption that all torrents sought are unlawful due to being the distributive method used in violation of current copywrong law.
Not all torrents lead to a breach of civil law.
Many torrents are legitimate, lawful and deliberately used by creators (ie actual or potential copywrong holders) as a popular and efficient method to distribute their material, eg music, software, video, games, etc.
So the presumption of guilt by Sperlein is erroneous and unethical. He should be reported to his local Bar Association for malpractice and penalised.
An Example (in context of Sperlein’s quote above) –
A copywrong owner or, on their behalf a Troll, could upload nonsense (or even someone else’s) material via torrent, deliberately misname it as their own copywronged material and try to sue said downloader for attempting to obtain their property by downloading it via torrent.
This is known as a honey-pot and has no basis in law whatsoever, as it’s outright entrapment in order to extort.
So Sperlein is indeed a Copywrong Troll and a vicious, sneaky one simply trying to make a fast buck by screwing with the law, the trust we have in torrents, and your head. Report him to his Bar Association for malpractice NOW!!!
Yes, I planned to cover his unethical premise that p2p networks are used exclusively for infringing. I also found the rant “there is honor among thieves” in other trolls’ complaints verbatim: I plan to find as many as I can and write about the lack of honor among trolls, since they copy from each other.
I have an impression that UK judicial system is a little bit fairer than US’. At least you have entities that oversee solicitors. The closest analogs in US are bar associations, and they have much less power. Reading about the rules that A. Cossley broke, made me wonder if there were similar rules in US. Unfortunately I did not find any. The rules of professional conduct mostly concentrate on lawyer-client relationship and relationship between members. Sperlein was informally reported to SF bar, and I poke @sfbar on twitter whenever I have an opportunity.
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