“Standing up to a bully, whether some blowhard attorney,
or an 8th grader feels good.Try it sometime.”
John Lawrence Steele, from “Even Attorneys Can Be Bullies”, 2008
This event is long overdue. We all are aware of Dmitry Shirokov’s class action lawsuit against Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver handled by Booth Sweet LLP, but I did not know about any other offense against copyright trolls… until today. So far, the anti-troll community was purely defensive in courts. The tide may switch its direction soon, and this event is a good omen. We have been hearing that “enough is enough” for too long. Finally, a concrete action has taken place.
One of the Prenda Law’s victims, Liuxia Wong, filed a lawsuit against Hard Drive Productions with the help of one of the best IP attorneys from the California section of the EFF Subpoena defense list, Steven Yuen (an experienced IP litigator, not a divorce lawyer.)
I want to break the news quickly, so I will not do too much analysis of the complaint at this time, but it is a fun read, even a better mood-booster than Steele’s insults to EFF I talked about yesterday. Enjoy.
One last thought before you dive into the pure bliss of reading such a heartwarming text… Righthaven fell apart not by itself, and not even because of “good” or “wise” judges. Messing with wrong people is what predicated its downfall, messing with people who have dignity and do not succumb to frivolous threats, who are ready to fight back.
What I think would be particularly interesting (and effective) is if Does from across the country began filing similar cases when they received the threatening letters. It’s risky, but Prenda would have to scramble to find attorneys in the 45 states that they are currently threatening people and without licensed attorneys. Something like a Declaratory Judgment day, where Does from all over the country file simultaneously. That would have an effect!
It seems that Brett Gibbs, an eccentric copyright troll, the only Prenda Law’s representative in increasingly anti-troll California, will be defending this case. These guys are so greedy… they hesitate to spend a tiny fraction of the money they extorted from alleged file-sharers on an attorney that could match Mr. Yuen! Or simply they are arrogant and detached from reality… I don’t know. A motion to dismiss amended complaint that was filed yesterday is weak to say the least.
Here is the analysis from the comment section I totally agree with (Raul is of the most active commenters, and his contributions are always up to the point):
The improper venue argument that Gibbs makes is weak in that he is asserting that all copyright infringement actions are governed by Section 1400(a) of the Copyright Act. However this is not a copyright infringement action but one requesting declaratory relief as to the defendants’ agents/employees improper conduct and misrepresentations in the context of a previous and pending copyright infringement action.
Likewise his argument that there is no case or controversy between the parties is also less than compelling because he is arguing that there can be no case or controversy until HDP sues Ms Wong. Again this is not true because even if HDP does not have a case or controversy with Ms. Wong it does not mean that she cannot have a case or controversy with HDP and its agents/employees for their improper conduct and misrepresentations.
Gibb’s last argument is also without merit in that he asserts that Ms. Wong’s lawsuit is duplicative of an earlier filed lawsuit by HDP in which she can assert these claims in the event she gets sued. Wrong; she cannot assert (counterclaim) these claims (improper conduct and misrepresentations) against HDP’s agents/employees because they are not named plaintiffs in the prior HDP lawsuit.
Watch Mr. Yuen maul this pathetic dog of a motion in his opposition papers.
One of the problems with Gibbs representing Hard Drive Productions in this lawsuit is that he has an obvious conflict of interest being that he is one of the “John Doe” co-defendants who is alleged to have engaged in improper conduct and made misrepresentations of law and fact to Ms. Wong. An objective attorney might very well advise HDP to consider instituting a third-party action against Gibb and his gang for, among other things, a declaration that these agents/employees were acting outside the scope of their agency/employment.
Gibbs representing HDP and the ethical (if not procedural and legal) problems down the road. Ms. Wong’s complaint was, in my opinion, drafted in such a way so as to preclude Gibbs and his gang from answering it insofar as it made the self-dealing/conflict of interest issues central to the lawsuit so that only a moron (IMHO) would represent himself and HDP without the Judge and the Bar Association taking note. But, as we have seen, they have done exactly that… Wow!
As expected, Steven Yuen crashed Gibbs’ silly arguments. Gibb’s claim that “there is no case of controversy” received the following reply:
Hard Drive‘s $3,000 settlement demand to Mrs. Wong is the equivalent of the 3,000 pound elephant in the room that Hard Drive never mentions in its moving papers.
Mr. Yuen discharged the second barrel: another (very similar) lawsuit was filed against the same pornographers (and Prenda). DieTrollDie is covering it. Same claims and a new one: defamation (Prenda Law website used to list 25 individual complaints under the “Top Pirates” header, removed later).