Not so serious

A trolling lawsuit ends with style

Thanks to an anonymous commenter who pointed me to this exciting event. K-Beech, Inc. v. Does 1-31 mass bittorent case (mdd 8:12-cv-00088) was filed by a copyright troll Jon A. Hoppe on 01/10/12. Not much happened there since then: not surprisingly, discovery was granted, later two motions to quash were filed, and that’s it.

I have been keeping an eye on this lawsuit intrigued by the following blog comment:

Doe 1 of 31 says:
March 22, 2012 at 6:06 pm
Defendants from 8:12-cv-00088-AW, please contact me ASAP! My lawyer friend suggested some unusual idea, and he is confident that it will work.
THE CASE MAY BE OVER AS EARLY AS NEXT WEEK, but we need to get together ASAP, ALL of us. Please!
doe1of31@gmail.com

And, yes! Last week this lawsuit was indeed dismissed, not by the troll, but… by the defendants. Apparently Does managed to get together and draft the following notice. I’m happy and proud that my humble blog facilitated that.

The idea was indeed unusual, and I was skeptical at first, until I read the Federal Rule 41(a) “Voluntary dismissal”. This rule has 3 paragraphs: (1) – dismissal by the Plaintiff; (2) – dismissal by Court Order and, rarely invoked, (3) – dismissal by the Defendant(s).

To use (3), one important condition should be met:

RULE 41. DISMISSAL OF ACTIONS
  (a) Voluntary Dismissal.
    …
    (3) By the Defendant(s). An action may be dismissed at the defendant(s)’s request only, without a court order, only if Plaintiff’s Counsel is
            (i) a crook; or
            (ii) a douchebag; or
            (iii) an asshole; or
            (iv) the above virtues are combined in any proportions.
        Unless the notice states otherwise, a dismissal under this paragraph (3) is with prejudice.

It is an exciting news because it may effectively end the copyright trolling legal plague. Mass bittorent infringement lawsuits are designed to wrestle Does to settle. This is achieved by threatening them with liability based on statutory damage awards that were clearly intended to be used only in large commercial cases. No sane and honest person thinks that demanding 150,000 from an individual for the most minor violation of the copyright law is proper and ethical. Any lawyer that files such a lawsuit clearly meets the Rule 41(a)(3) conditions.

Also, notice that the case was dismissed without prejudice, which means that defendants are free to file a lawsuit against Plaintiff K-Beech Inc. and/or Plaintiff’s Counsel, troll Jon A. Hoppe. I hope it will happen sooner or later.

Good work, Does!

(Please mind the date of the publication)
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Discussion

32 responses to ‘A trolling lawsuit ends with style

  1. So what is the penalty assigned on folks that file motions citing non-existent laws?

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/rule_41

    The posted Scribd document refers to FRCP 41(a)(3) which seems to be absent from the Cornell Law source above. Is this their version of an April Fool’s joke (not filed with the clerk) or their subtle hint to the Plaintiff that they might be better off withdrawing?

    Because if this was actually filed they might be looking at sanctions.

    • Well, it’s not like the copyright trolls are following any kind of ethical guideline. I say people should fight back using tactics that are just as dirty as the ones being used against them. Personally, I hope the class action suits and counter claims start flying like crazy, and I hope every troll involved in these cases are faced with bankruptcy.

  2. Isn’t today April Fools day?

    (3) By the Defendant(s). An action may be dismissed at the defendant(s)’s request only, without a court order, only if either Plaintiff’s Counsel is
    (i) a crook; or
    (ii) a douchebag; or
    (iii) an asshole; or
    (iv) the above virtues are combined in any proportions.

  3. Please remove this false post, since this is supposedly a site that people use as a resource to fight copyright trolls. Or, you know, keep giving bad advice. Whichever.

    • There is an ethnic saying: “If you did a good deed, step aside: do not provoke rudeness”. Sorry for not stepping aside quickly enough: hundreds of hours of my personal time spent maintaining this site resulted in “aside” being redefined as “a mile away”: I just couldn’t make it, but continue working on it.

      While I’m still stepping aside (which may take an eternity to complete), I can’t help giving another advice (good or bad – it’s up to readers to decide): if you want to win the fight against copyright trolls, the first enemy you must destroy is your own anger. And being serious all the time hardly helps to accomplish this mandatory step.

      • Great joke, and should be taken as such. Anyone that is letting “Doe” status in any of these cases have a detrimental impact on the quality of their life, needs to take a step back and put things into perspective. If being accused of downloading a porn with, most likely, a pretty funny name, isn’t something that you can laugh at with your friends a few years down the road, then you need to find some less uptight friends. It sucks to spend a few thousand bucks defending your innocence, but life could throw you a lot worse. ( note that I said a few thousand defending, NOT 3100 settling :). As messed up as our country may seem at times, it still provides ample opportunity for someone with a good idea or work ethic, the opportunity to make much more than a “troll surcharge” by doing something productive rather than sitting around worrying.

  4. I’d love to have the ability to counter sue for emotional damages, I’ve been having bad panic attacks to the point I can’t stand to go outside. even with all the advice, I can’t get anyone to help me take care of it, which i used to have a family member to take care of my business for me. .

    • Rules are not god-given, they are written by men: maybe if we start a petition and manage to collect enough signatures, so-much-needed Rule 41(a)(3) will find its place in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Naturally those who fit the criteria outlined in this proposed rule will oppose, but I’m an optimist and believe that they constitute a tiny fraction of law professionals (yet they manage to negatively impact the reputation of the legal profession).

  5. Good April Fool’s joke. I too had to look up R.41(a)(3) to see if some editorial license was taken with the requirements. Aside from feeling a bit silly for missing such a doozy of a rule, I noticed another part of Rule 41 that may be of assistance to everyone. Due to the public nature of this site and the fact that I will not discuss tactics in the comments section, I must commend SJD for making an excellent suggestion. Thanks!

  6. Motion to Quash granted K-Beech Vs. John Does #1 -31

    Full docket text for document 31:
    ORDER SEVERING all Doe Defendants from this action except Doe 1, DISMISSING the claims of Plaintiff K-Beech, Inc. against the severed Doe Defendants 2-12, 14-19, 21-23, 25, and 29-31 without prejudice, QUASHING all subpoenas seeking severed Doe Defendants’ personal identifying information, DIRECTING Plaintiff to immediately notify subpoena recipients that the subpoenas have been quashed and that all Doe Defendants except Doe 1 have been severed and are not litigants in this case, and DENYING as moot all other pending motions from severed Doe Defendants. Signed by Chief Judge Deborah K. Chasanow on 05/01/2012. (nd, Chambers)

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