Not enough trouble for Ira Siegel: Digital Rights Foundation files an amicus curiae brief

The following was initially meant to be an update to my post about a series of painful punches Ira Siegel received from judge Maria-Elena James, but I already wrote four updates — seems that the cases assigned to Maria-Elena James will be among the key cases in the history of the rise and fall of US copyright trolls.

An advocacy group Digital Rights Foundation filed an amicus curiae brief in the Patrick Collins v. Does 1-2,590 case. The main point of this brief is the fact that Ira Siegel (just like many other trolls) basically deceived the Court. “Deception” is not only telling explicit lies, but also concealing important relevant information that most likely would alter judges’ decisions.

According to this brief, Ira Siegel withheld information about the geographic location of putative defendants. It proves beyond any doubt that Mr. Siegel knew that the majority of IP addresses his sleazy “forensic” enterprise had collected were outside of the Court jurisdiction.

Indeed, it is not plausible that plaintiff was honestly ignorant about the fact that an IP address can be mapped to a location with astonishing accuracy. Almost a year ago I wrote in my motion (which was ignored at that time):

Plaintiff’s Counsel claims (Docket 26, p.6, line 9¹) that if an IP address is dynamic, the location of the subscriber can’t be determined.

I believe Mr. Sperlein knows the locations, but decided not to disclose his findings in his complaint because the location distribution (almost two thirds of IP addresses are outside California) would definitely raise jurisdiction questions. If this is the case, Plaintiff’s Counsel deliberately concealed important information from the Court. Given that Plaintiff’s goal is threatening unsophisticated Does regardless of their locations in order to coerce settlements, this concealment makes much sense to Plaintiff, but is obviously unethical.

Kudos to guys from Digital Rights Foundation! They say that

Amicus also intends on filing briefs with other Courts involving mass Does to demonstrate and present such facts that in some cases, not even 1% of Does originate within the state of where the civil action complaint was filed.

Music to my ears.

¹[Gill Sperlein] “In the first instance, the anonymous filer has not provided evidence that one can accurately determine the location of an ip address.”

wordpress counter


24 responses to ‘Not enough trouble for Ira Siegel: Digital Rights Foundation files an amicus curiae brief

  1. I’m glad these people came along to pee in Ira’s coffee. He deserves it and if I don’t get a letter from Ira’s office by wednesday then this thing is over.

  2. Great arguments put forth in that brief. Hopefully it has a bearing on both his cases that MEJ is covering, and beyond that hopefully in other troll cases as well. I actually went ahead and did an individual search of all the IP addresses in my case and I never even thought it was weird that it was only US addresses involved. The sorting out of those people and the inevitable conclusion of where the majority of the does were from sounds to be pretty damning when you then need to respond to a judges order in regards to jurisdiction issues this week. I understood that he was working the system and how bad that was but now my eyes are being opened to just how obvious he made it.

  3. “From the beginning, the Plaintiff has intended to omit certain disclosures to the Court in order to exploit and game the judicial system.”

    Ouch! Way to go Digital Rights Fondation! Not that we didn’t already know this. 🙂 Can’t wait to see what happens and what the court has to say about any weak responses Mr. Siegel dares to bring up. “Run Away! Run Away!!!!!” -(Troll).

    Thanks for making my Monday start off good.

    DieTrollDie 🙂
    “Some ships are designed to sink… others require our assistance.”

  4. Ira has a very big problem here and go two ways with this.

    1) Ira can admit that he withheld information. That would be suicide. He is not going to do this.

    2) If he lays blame to CEG and state that they are unreliable. If so then all suits and information gathered by them up to this point could be easily dismissed not on in this case but others as unreliable.

    So either he can save his skin and start fresh or sacrifice himself for the “integrity” of CEG. My believe is that he will throw CEG to the wolves and in the future go with a “new” company for collecting his ips.

    As I posted prior, this case is turning out to be the landmark case which could prove to be enough that the trolls will need to go back and think of new ways to continue pursuing these types of suits. Heavily watched is an understatement.

    Ira is in pretty deep right now though and he could get RightHavened … aka … Marshals seizing assets. Wouldn’t that be a shock if CEG was one of them? If anyone has ever looked at google maps they would see that his office and CEG’s office is about a mile or so apart from each other.

  5. To be fair, the complaints in these cases (at least Ira Siegel’s) seem to take the position that all U.S. residents are fair game to be sued in court district X. From a similar complaint: “each Defendant may be found in this District, and/or the acts complained of herein occurred and/or have a significant effect within this District.” Indeed, Ira Siegel’s complaints seem to explicitly disclose that only a small fraction of defendants are known to be located in the court’s state (see declarations of Jon Nicolini insupport of ex parte applications).

    So I don’t think there’s been an overt implication that all John Does are located in the same state, or that Ira Siegel and his crew were completely ignorant of Does’ locations. Omitting geolocation info from the Does list is still probably designed not to call too much attention to the geographic spread, but it doesn’t look to me like a smoking gun.

    • Whatever their position, jurisdiction is for the court do decide, not Ira and Nicolini. The Northern District of California has by now made it clear they don’t want to see defendants from anywhere else in these cases. So the longer Ira knew he was wasting the court’s time on defendants from outside the district, the more ‘splainin’ he will have to do.

      If anything, the fact that they admit to being capable of geolocating Does in their discovery request will make it much harder to come up with a good explanation for including so many Does from outside her jurisdiction. With the Digital Rights Foundation’s analysis showing that only 30% of the Does are in California, and presumably even fewer are in her district as California has four districts, they are going to have a hard time arguing that they are being held to too high a standard or that this was a simple mistake.

      The big giveaway that the jig might just be up is her suspending settlements, and when Ira tried to confirm his ability to drop Does from this case and still settle with them, she said no. That makes me wonder if perhaps we will see this judge forbid him from using the evidence he gathered through discovery to pursue these Does.

    • Well one thing that will make it hard for Siegel and Nicolini is in other cases they have used geolocation in an effort to avoid mis-joinder claims/motions to dismiss and made it very clear to the court that they do this. Please see this declaration from Nicolini – http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/74303728?access_key=key-l6hl9xvehad2xl0b649 (Florida “Digital Sin” case)

      “(iii) we have limited the geographic search to ensure as much as technically possible that the alleged infringers are infact within the geographic area of the court.” – Case 4:11-cv-00584-RH-WCS Document 1-1 Filed 11/16/11.

      Does anyone have any details on CEG and Nicolini? I would love to see their history and technical ccertifications.

      DieTrollDie 🙂

      • Steele himself seemed to have learned the lesson that Ira is about to get smacked with when he starting filing smaller suits (usually just between 20-70 Does) earlier this year in Illinois where the Does were at least from Illinois, if not all from the district the suit was filed in.

  6. Since Ira failed to comply with the Court’s Dec 8th deadline and will now fail to comply with the Dec 14th deadline, how do we actually get Judge James to dismiss the case? She didn’t dismiss it on the 8th and Ira blatantly ignored her. Does a Doe have to request that the Judge dismiss the case? And, under these conditions, should it be requested that the case be dismissed WITH prejudice?

    • Maybe someone should alert IRS? Ira Siegel declared personal bankruptcy last year and is paying his creditors a small amount monthly. Seems that he is hiding his actual income from authorities.

  7. Hey Jane Doe. Did you read cashman’s blog? Apparently Ira has a rep for spreading into other court systems once things don’t go his way in the first one. Does anyone know what it takes for a lawyer to be convicted of fraud in addition to wasting the court’s time?

    • Sadly, it takes a lot of effort to put down a crook lawyer. All the judges are former attorneys and they are extremely reluctant to punish their kin. Look at the Righthaven gang – Gibson still has his license and was not even sanctioned… Disbarments are extremely rare. Such con artists ans Kenneth Ford or Lipscomb operate with a sense of invincibility. It does not mean we should be discouraged: exposing crooks harms their reputation, hence finances. Currently they make decent money via extortion, but once this loophole is patched, who, after doing 5-minute research, will hire them? It’s a fiction that lawyers in this country are extremely wealthy crowd – they are not: most are hardworking middle class, only a handful of successful ones are rich. And reputation is everything in this profession.

  8. I imagine Ira will refile in the proper jurisdiction? Same as the other guys… He *still* made (20+45) * $3000 = ~$200,000. Pretty good for scaring people and extorting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s