Attorney Paul Lesko and 1000% return on investment in “Teen Anal Sluts”

Copyright troll of the week

Paul Lesko
Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC
One Court Street
Alton Illinois 62002
Tel. (618) 259-2222
Fax. (618) 259-2251
Attorney for Plaintiff 4:Twenty Media Inc.

On January 11, I wrote about the only Louisiana mass bittorent copyright infringement (a.k.a. copyright trolling) lawsuit over a pornographic movie with a classy name “Teen Anal Sluts” (LAWD 6:12-cv-00031). That lawsuit was filed by a New Orleans’s attorney Joseph C. Peiffer on behalf of a shady company 4:Twenty Media, which is registered on Seychelles (where, by the way, pornography is illegal — 05/15/12 update). Copyright on that movie was registered in the USA, yet it seemingly impossible to legally obtain this “masterpiece” — online or offline. Joseph Peiffer has resigned from this case in the beginning of March: a lawyer from Illinois’ Madison County Paul Lesko replaced him.

I strongly believe that we, a community that fights this type of lawsuit abuse, caused this resignation at least in part. First, since I posted about this lawsuit, searching Google for “Joseph C. Peiffer” started returning a link to this site’s article with an embarrassing title “Attorney Joseph C. Peiffer and ‘Teen Anal Sluts’ ” on the first page of the search results.

As I stated in that article, I deliberately chose such an embarrassing title. Adult industry cries foul when something happens because of social stigma attached to pornography¹, yet the very same industry (well, a part of it) has no problem with leveraging the very same social stigma to wrestle settlements from alleged copyright infringers. Therefore, I don’t see any wrongdoing in reflecting the shame using a publicity mirror and beaming this shame back to the troll.

This Google exposure was not the only reason for Mr. Peiffer resignation: as it is clear from the blog comments, many readers and victims wrote to partners and clients of the “Fishman Haygood Phelps Wamsley Willis & Swanson”, a reputable firm that employs Mr. Peiffer. No doubt, his partners pressured Peiffer to drop this embarrassing and reputation-damaging lawsuit. In addition, it is possible that Loyola School, Peiffer’s alma mater, also was flooded by e-mails explaining their alumni’s and visiting lecturer’s shenanigans. It is rumored that even Loyola’s dean received a notice. “Teen Anal Sluts” is not the kind of title that a Jesuit school will cheerfully accept.

Peiffer had something to lose — his reputation, and he made a right choice by resigning from this case. I hope he learned his lesson and if he is at least somewhat remorseful, I wish him all the best. It is beyond any mortal’s power to remove his name from the Internet though.

Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC, a lawfirm that specializes in asbestos litigation, a lucrative legal business that is quite controversial these days, employs Peiffer’s replacement, Paul Lesko. According to American Tort Reform Foundation, Madison County, where this firm’s main office is located, is one of the worst “judicial hellholes” in the USA and the epicenter for national asbestos litigation. This type of litigation is not necessarily evil per se, yet it is quite abused these days as explained in the articles linked above. Thus, this firm may or may not be immune to any reputational loss. In addition, I don’t know if Lesko represents his firms’ new turf or he is just a rogue attorney.

The case is still active: just last week Lesko dismissed more than 100 defendants with prejudice, which usually indicates settlements. Since the ransom amount is $3,500, so far extortionists were able to collect $350,000 from uneducated, scared Does. That alone makes my blood boil: a “masterpiece” like the movie in question usually has a budget that does not exceed $20,000-$40,000. Therefore, the proceeds from this ugly “business” probably topped the entire movie budget more than 10 times! If you are a part of this case — defendant or lawyer — please make sure this egregious abuse of the copyright law spirit is pointed to the judges. They have a power to request the information from the trolls, specifically how much settlement money they received. Until then take my calculations with a grain of salt: there may be different reasons for dismissing with prejudice, e.g., to create an impression that so many people settle. On the other hand, 10%-30% settlement rate is believed to be accurate (it is declining as people get educated about the scam).

Just look at the ransom letter sent by Lesko to his victims: it makes me so sad that this hogwash document, compiled from the pieces lifted from other trolls, caused so much irrational fear. “As you can see, the evidence we have in our possession against you is quite compelling.”: impudent, shameless lies.

There are also some good news for those Does who let their common sense prevail over irrational fears and either file numerous motions or wait the entire ordeal out. It seems that the judge on this case, C Michael Hill, is not impressed with this case’s merits and ordered all the defendants’ motions to be filed under seal, or their real names to be redacted. Though I may be wrong in my predictions, but over the last year I developed some intuition, and I have some good feelings about the judge.

A letter to 4:Twenty Media

Back in January one of our mates wrote an email, which, while being funny and entertaining, at the same time was up to the point and showed why this lawsuit is an ultimate piece of crap. It’s not a surprise that he did not receive a reply.

From: John Doe
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2012 2:13 PM
Subject: Inquiry for legal purchase

I would like to purchase a copy of your wonderfully touching film: Teen Anal Sluts for my own personal viewing enjoyment.

I understand from the copyright registration that this is the email address of the individual owning the copyright to this heartwarming tale of sluts who are teens and do something with anals.

I must admit, I have a certain weakness for teen anal sluts, and consider myself to be quite the connoisseur of media containing them.

I have spent WEEKS trying to find this movie, which was reportedly published less than a year ago. I simply cannot find it ANYWHERE, and think that it is a real shame your legally registered movie cannot be found in my area. I have many friends across the country who are also searching for legal copies of this film, and they cannot seem to find it at any legal store either, whether it be an actual storefront, or a virtual one.

Can you please instruct me as to how I could go about purchasing a copy of this movie legally? I will need to know where to purchase the movie from, and how much it will cost as my budget does not allow for blank checks to be written, no matter how amazing the experience may be.

Also, be aware that if this title is NOT for public sale, nor has ever been legally published in the United States, your copyright registration could have very well been fraudulently submitted². Fraud is a felony.

Thank you for your time,

A paying customer.




The other Louisiana trolling case, filed by Paul Lesko on behalf of West Coast Productions is over the “work” Super Anal Black Cougars, I’m not making it up! As an attorney, Paul Lesko apparently has very narrow (I would even say “tight”) specialization.


Nicholas Ranallo and Carlos Zelaya filed an omnibus motion to quash. This is a must-read, must-consider document. Written in good English, not Legalese, it is a very good document.


This story has yet another interesting dimension: pornography is illegal in Seychelles, where the rightsholder of the “work” in question is registered. I notified various Seychelles ministries about possible criminal activity of 4:Twenty Media, as well as reputational harm to their country, which heavily depends on tourism. So far I received a notification that my complaint was officially forwarded to a relevant agency for investigation. I’ll post an update once I get more information.


¹ For example, recent firing of a schoolteacher over her acting in a porn movie years ago caused quite a stir in the adult industry. To be clear, my opinion sides with adult industry in this case, I point to this story only to illustrate the hypocrisy.

² Disclaimer: Technically failure to market a work does not constitute fraud in a legal sense. In colloquial terms if is still a fraud as the spirit and purpose of copyright were shamelessly perverted. The demand letter may be fraudulent because it lists 150K figure, yet failure to market a work most likely renders statutory damages inapplicable.

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99 responses to ‘Attorney Paul Lesko and 1000% return on investment in “Teen Anal Sluts”

  1. The attached e-mail brings up a pretty interesting legal question: if it were to go to court and the movie has never actually been for sale can they claim damages at all? If not and they’ve already recovered extortion money…er, settlements then can those be re-claimed?

    I haven’t settled (and have no plans to) but this really seems like the best angle to attack this case from. If the movie doesn’t exist except in torrent form then what damages are there (not to mention who made the torrent, i.e. how did they get a copy of a non-existant movie?).

    I don’t wonder how this might affect the copyright claims as well. The odds that this movie is not a compilation of previously produced material look very low.

    From what I can tell through exact name google-searches this movie only exists in torrent form, and the torrents still appear pretty active so no DMCA takedowns have been issued.

    This looks flimsier than most–a shame so many have settled already.

  2. I would be very curious to see what Does in this case would be curious about a class action countersuit regarding copyright fraud being used defame the character of the Does. I’m not a lawyer (although the law is one of my interests) and do not know if this is even a viable argument for a tort.

  3. So not only Peiffer, but his firm bailed on the case? I assumed he had pawned it off on some junior guy at his firm, but if the whole firm stepped away from the case, we all deserve a round of high-fives.

    SJD, do you get referrer information that tells you if people are clicking through to your site from Google searches for Joseph C. Peiffer? It would certainly be heartwarming to know that people are actually finding your site while doing their due diligence when looking for a lawyer. In any case, given that success it sounds like stepping up feature articles on troll lawyers will be a productive enterprise.

    At this point in the game I would not read too much into the dismissals with prejudice. Trolls know we assume those are settlements, so it is in their best interest to pad the numbers for public consumption. Notice that over 90% are the same ISP, Cox Communications, so it could just be that they processed all the Does from the subpoena response from Cox and are moving on. IPs are cheap to collect and not a scarce resource, and with no intention of pursuing these cases beyond threats they have nothing to lose from dismissing in a way that makes them appear successful and makes the behavior look slightly less frivolous to the courts. If I were feeling motivated I would compare the list of dismissed IPs with the complete list of Doe IPs to see if he in fact dismissed all the Cox subscribers from the case.

    Remember Steele had a case where he dismissed all the Does at once and claimed in the filing that they were all the same subscriber? They had been collected over a very short period, like 24 hours, which made the claim highly suspect. But the case was also past the deadline to name & serve, so it looked suspiciously like a face-saving exit, and since Steele was the only person who got to see the subscriber info, there was no way to verify. I suspect something similar here.

    • I do not believe that is the case although I wish it were. My wife’s ISP is Cox and her Doe number is not one of the ones listed as Dismissed.

    • First your question: 51 visitor from search engines for various combinations with “Peiffer”. Also, it’s impossible to count the number of impressions because not everyone is brave enough to click on such title, especially surfing at work.

      As for “with prejudice”/settlement ratio – fair enough, I will add a phrase that my speculations are just that – speculations, though not implausible.

    • I am in love with the idea of making an article for each troll that publicly glues their name to pornography on the internet. Imagine the fun when Marvin Cable’s mother googles her son’s name and sees it attached to Big Wet Brazilian Asses 7? Show that off to your bingo friends.

  4. 😀
    This article makes me happy in so many ways.

    Q: What do you get when a fly-by-night porn outfit teams up with a fly-by-night legal outfit?
    A: I don’t know, but today I’m broke and have an urge to get tested for STDs.

    • Where do you guys get the idea that failing to market one’s copyrighted work somehow constitutes fraud? I am not aware of any requirement in the law that registering a copyright constitutes a representation that the work is being actively made available. There are plenty of cases saying that the author has the prerogative of using his copyright precisely to prevent the work from being published. So I need to hear what the purported basis for the fraud claim is here.

      It is true that the failure to market the work would likely mean that there are no compensatory damages, and I would be sympathetic to the argument that where there is no evidence of any attempt to market, statutory damages should also be unavailable. But as far as I know, that is not the law.

      • Fair enough. Failure to market a “work” may be technically not a fraud. I did not investigate this claim. I would say it in a softer way: “may be a fraud”, and it very well may be. Since this “work” in not available for legal purchase, it is impossible either to proof or to disproof the claims that this movie is a re-labeled footage that was copyrighted earlier, and it is not implausible given the precedents.

        Yet the scary letter quotes 150,000 figure, and that is a fraud.

        • Yes, of course something can be worked out to make things more fair for content creators and users.

          We’re all here because things are way WAY past that. It’s a small matter to arrive at a fee, compared with the huge problem remedying the moral and legal crimes committed in this supposed “copyright defense”.

          Exploitation and greed have led to gross injustice. Should the copyright term length for cartoon characters or Teen Anal Sluts be SIX times longer than the patent length for a life saving medicine or technology ?

          It’s no accident that mainly porn studio scammers are doing this. Should porn businesses intimidate hundreds of thousands, trying to force them to “prove” the absence of a minor alleged activity ? Are those porn businesses responsible “citizens” to begin with? They exploit their workers, threaten innocents, break local laws doing their “productions”, hide their business finances behind off shore shell corporations, with some probably evading taxes, violating national and international laws.

          Every creative, intellectual, and technological work is built on something else. Many or most of those something else’s were devised decades or centuries ago. The early creators got little or nothing for their history making contributions, let alone royalties. Otherwise, with compounded interest, the planet would owe all its money to Euclid or Archimedes.

      • You know what would be a lot of fun? Listening to a laywer’s argument of why a porn company didn’t release this film….”Your honor, maniax-media felt the work simply didn’t measure up to their other fine releases such as ‘Kerstin’s Gang Bang’ and ‘Stuten Tausch Vol 4′” Is any judge anywhere really going to by that a porn company put a copyright on a film NOT to release it? More importantly, is any jury going to buy that? Perhaps it’s a little more likely they maybe (just maybe) will be a little more inclined to believe the movie has a copyright on it solely for lawsuits like this? I mean, I’m sure 4:twenty media is a fine upstanding company, but you just never know what a jury is going to believe. I’m pretty sure I read “DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL” somewhere up at the top of this order.

        • I’m not out to defend the “troll,” but I’m still a bit confused as to what your contention is here, so let me tell you the way I think a copyright lawyer would analyze this:

          1) Some of what you write above sounds as though you doubt whether the film in question actually exists, as opposed to the title just being used to scare people into settlements with baseless claims of infringement. That can easily be answered, because if the work is registered as the post states, they had to deposit a copy with the Copyright Office.

          2) The next question is whether the deposited work is actually copyrightable. The bar for this is pretty low, as long as it consists of original footage or minimally creative remixing of preexisting footage. The main caveat to the latter is that if this work is only a reworking of previous material, the author has to have permission from the owners of that material in order to obtain copyright in the remix. Also, such a copyright would protect only the specific arrangement of materials in the remix and not the preexisting footage itself.

          3) Assuming that the work is both registered and copyrightable, the question whether it was ever “released” or otherwise marketed is utterly irrelevant to the question of whether someone is liable for infringing it. (In fact, even registration is not technically a prerequisite to infringement, though it would significantly weaken the owner’s remedies.)

          4) To be liable for infringement, someone would have to have reproduced, distributed, or publicly performed it without the author’s express or implicit authorization, and outside the bounds of fair use. It would appear that the plaintiff has some sort of torrent tracking data showing the existence of a swarm at some point in which people were distributing the work. Now there are a lot of potential slips twixt cup and lip in proving that any given individual associated with a given IP address in that swarm actually reproduced or distributed a copy of the work in question, but if any did, and it wasn’t authorized, then it was infringement as a legal matter.

          5) Here is where I’m confused by the story you’re telling. You seem to be suggesting that this work was created only for the purpose of trolling. So what exactly does that business model look like? You create a crappy film with a salacious title and somehow put it out there in the hope that people will start torrenting it so you can sue them? How do you put it out there exactly? Either this swarm actually existed or it didn’t, and either the initial seeder was someone authorized to do so by the owner or he wasn’t. If the person who started the swarm was working for the owner in order to try to get people on the hook for infringement, then I would agree that this should invalidate the suit and ought to be sanctionable abuse. Is that what you infer to be going on here, based on the apparent commercial unavailability of the title? Seems like the only way to find out would be for one of the defendants to engage in aggressive discovery of their own. Absent some real info on that front, the mere fact that the work is not commercially available wouldn’t affect the viability of the infringement claim at all.

          6) Under the law if infringement took place the owner is entitled to statutory damages in an amount between $750 and $30K (chosen by the jury) for each work infringed, without any evidence of market or other harm. It may be that juries would be unsympathetic to this plaintiff and would award the minimum, but you never know. Juries have made huge statutory damage awards in favor of the supposedly unsympathetic record companies against impecunious defendants.

        • This plaintiff has only 3 copyrighted videos. “Teen Anal Sluts”, “Slutty Young Harlots” and “Cock Addicts” all of which were created in 2011, all of which were published on May 10, 2011 and all of which received their copyright registration on an expedited basis on June 27, 2011. None of these copyrighted works can be found anywhere on the internet other than Torrent sites. In this lawsuit plaintiff first starts observing infringing activity on July 2, 2011. To put it more simply, plaintiff receives a copyright registration on Monday and by Saturday is harvesting IP addresses. Massive copyright infringement lawsuit ensues.

          To not harbor a very strong suspicion that these 3 videos were created for the sole purpose of creating a honeypot to ensnare Does so as to launch a massive lawsuit with a potential value in the millions is naive in my view.

        • Well really I was trying to be funny, but clearly I whiffed on that…

          All of your points are valid and solid. There are a lot of “odd” things around this film that would probably lead down some of the paths you suggest should anyone scrutinize it closer. I would think that yes, it does appear to be a viable business model (Pirate Hunter screams this from the rooftops every chance he gets, and there are more than a couple of pornographers who have stated thier old models simply don’t make them the money that it used to so they’re giving this a go…Ben Dover most recently said that very thing in an interview). I would think it happens very much as you suggest, although the work in question just has to be culled from existing material and given permission to be used (as you point out)–I can’t imagine that’s too difficult. From there, sure, upload it onto a site or two, follow it a bit, then a few days later copyright the movie and 1300 does get a letter demanding $3500 or everyone they know gets to hear their name and “teen anal sluts” in the same sentence…you’ve got yourself a business model. I know a few people that are looking into agressive discovery on this case as well as a couple others so I guess time will tell, but I think you’re pretty close to the mark.

        • Simple math really helps show how viable a business model it is to do this: Say you already have clips you’ve marketed and used on a website or in other movies (since no one really knows where the source material came from, but I think we can all admit it’s highly unlikely it’s original material). It would cost virtually nothing to edit those together into one movie, give it a salicious title and post it on a few well-known torrent sites. A few days later file a copyright claim. Sit back for a while and collect IP addresses through unknown means, then find a lawyer willing to take a cut for the $350 filing fee and file a copyright claim. So far you’ve paid $350 using pre-existing material and, I suppose, a DVD burner to submit your one copy to the copyright office. There’s virtually no overhead here as all of the material and even the DVD burner would already be owned.

          In JUST ONE of these cases there are 1340 defendants. $3500 x 1340 =$4,690,000 (or 234,000 DVD sales if the DVD is sold for $20). Granted they dismissed quite a few of them early due to the IP’s fighting back so let’s just half that number and call it $2,345,000. Hell, even 1/4 of that number is still over a million dollars. I wont try and guess the profitability of small market porn companies that don’t actually publish any movies, but I’m guessing 1 million per movie is NOT what they’re currently making.

          Those are big numbers for virtually no overhead, and there’s two other movies we haven’t even discussed yet.

          So, yes, it’s a viable business model. Hopefully not for much longer.

        • Alright, now I’m going to play devil’s advocate with something that I at least think is an interesting question. Did the people who downloaded this film from the torrent:

          a) Believe the film had been placed there intentionally by the owner for free distribution.
          b) Believe that it was probably a commercial release that was being distributed without the owner’s authorization.
          c) Not give a shit either way.

          To the extent that the answer is b at least (we can leave aside c for now), why exactly should anyone feel terribly sorry that those people are being harassed by a lawsuit, even if it was a set up? Note that I am not suggesting there is nothing wrong with the business model, rather I am questioning whether there is any real injustice to those defendants who fall in category b.

          • “To the extent that the answer is b at least (we can leave aside c for now), why exactly should anyone feel terribly sorry that those people are being harassed by a lawsuit, even if it was a set up? Note that I am not suggesting there is nothing wrong with the business model, rather I am questioning whether there is any real injustice to those defendants who fall in category b.”

            Really CMN???? Do you really feel there is nothing wrong with their business model? What you should be considering is – “Does the punishment fit the crime?” For a vast majority of the people who illegally download/share copyright protected works, “NO.” The Trolls are abusing the piss poor copyright law to extort settlements from the Does. Obtaining $3K for a single movie is sad unfair joke. I couldn’t see anyone having to pay $3K for a main-stream Hollywood movie with better acting, production, editing, and content. Funny how K-Beech was seeking thousand in settlement from Does for a DVD movie I recently bought for under $5. Hell the shipping and handling cost me more than the DVD. And don’t believe the hype the Troll spill about recovering lost revenues. John Willey and sons is only seeking $750 settlement for their content. Bottom line – the Trolls are abusing this situation to their advantage. Copyright infringement is bad, but what the Trolls are doing is just as bad.

            DTD 🙂

        • One can also question whether people in categories b and c have any real defense as a legal matter, even if if was a set up. If they had no reason to think the distribution was authorized by the owner, they have a hard time claiming they had an implied license. A different variation of this has actually come up in litigation, when investigators hired by the record label have downloaded songs from someone’s shared P2P folder. The question is whether that counts as an unauthorized distribution, given that the investigator is acting as an agent of the owner. It is not crazy to analyze this as follows: The investigator’s act of downloading is authorized, but the uploader’s act of distributing is not.

        • You left out the category that concerns me the most so I’ll fill it in for you:

          d) the people who didn’t do this, and have no knowledge of it but got a letter demanding $3500 just the same (it’s the reason this website exists after all)

          The injustice comes from the faulty methods used and the blatant misuse of the court system. I didn’t do this (and, fortunately, I have excellent proof of that) but I’m caught up in it just the same. Unfortunately for me it’s still VERY expensive to defend yourself in court. These letters are very calculated with specific amounts to fall between what it would cost to defend yourself (monetarily–there is no price you can put on the emotional turmoil it has caused) and what it would cost to make it go away. I’ve considered settling–anyone with a calculator would, innocent or not. There are many others like me–and a lot of them are here. Even if it’s just a one percent miss rate for this case alone that’s me and twelve other people. One percent is HIGHLY unlikely–it’s probably somewhere between 5 and 10 percent and that’s still being generous. If you extend that to the 250,000 does in all the cases like this that are out there then you’re talking a lot more innocent people. Is collecting what you do get worth taking down a few thousand innocent people as well?

          I beta test software that has been in development for years. The beta tests last months upon which hundreds and hundreds of bugs big and small are found. Granted, the programs are probably a bit larger than whatever is being used here (I suspect some guy with a pen and sheet of paper) but I would wager these programs have barely been tested, and not by anyone outside the lawyers who paid to have it developed. NO software is perfect. It’s also never been challenged in court because for some odd reason whenever anyone fights back they are dismissed.

          Read the letter above. Does that sound like anything other than extortion? Listen to the phone calls recorded on this website–do you think those people care if someone is innocent or not? They are threats, pure and simple and any decent person would be disgusted by it.

          Don’t get me wrong–I’m against pirating. I think most decent people are. There is something inherently wrong with taking something without paying for it. I recognize that it’s a problem for the movie and music industry, and even to a degree the porn industry. I love hollywood and have a pretty extensive movie collection, all of which I’ve paid for. I’m against shaking down innocent people to make a buck, and many of these cases look pretty clearly designed to do that.

        • Thanks for the elaboration. I am in entire agreement with you on the need to calibrate the legal mechanisms to protect group d, and am glad to see that you are not one of the (unfortunately legion) people who use the term “troll” indiscriminately to impugn all attempts to enforce IP rights.

          The best way to protect group d would be to just have a loser pays system, so that there would be no threat value to baseless suits. What would you say to that?

        • I’m pretty sure I read somewhere here where one of the trolls indicated that they believe that about 30% of the does in their lawsuits are actually innocent…

        • Well, I think if any of these lawyers were genuinely trying to protect rights they would send out DMCA notices first, which I think has been done once in the hundreds of these cases that have been filed. I just hate to make assumptions about people I don’t know (even though they seem perfectly fine with assuming I’m a pirate). The music industry learned this isn’t the way to do things, and the porn industry will eventually as well. I don’t have much of a problem assuming that these lawsuits are the results of a promise of easy money and nothing more (hence, the lack of DMCA notices) and targeting the people most likely to pay when threatened (hence the dismissal of anyone that gets a lawyer) and that the people involved really aren’t interested in protecting anything other than their wallets.

          The “loser pays” philosphy is all well and good, except for the mitigating factor of who knows what will happen in a courtroom? I think I have excellent evidence of innocence, but what if a jury just doesn’t like the way I look, or my lawyer is an idiot? Not to mention the pure embarrasment factor (there are plenty of people who dont want “John Doe accused of downloading Teen Anal Sluts!!!” all over the newspapers I’d wager–some of the recorded phone calls even allude to this) of even taking this to a courtroom. I’d wager you don’t want your name attached to Teen Anal Sluts, wether you’re innocent or not. Hell, the first lawyer in this case didn’t like his name attached to it and he was representing the plaintiff!

        • The point about DMCA notices is interesting. Again, there is no actual requirement that a copyright owner send a DMCA notice before suing individual downloaders. The two are totally separate matters, as the DMCA notice serves only the purpose of forcing the ISP to either remove the offending material (like the torrent link) or risk losing its statutory safe harbor for contributory infringement. I agree with you though, that one would expect someone who genuinely wanted to protect the work from infringement to take that step, particularly if they are also taking the step of tracking torrents in order to sue individual members.

          I agree it’s not perfect, but I think loser pays would eliminate most of the economic incentive to file suits like this, at least in cases where they are truly based on nothing. It’s true that there are noneconomic costs to defendants, and some risk that some defendants might lose even a groundless case, but you can’t pursue a shotgun strategy of litigation when every lawsuit you file is more likely than not to put you on the hook of paying attorney fees.

        • DieTrollDie:

          I must not have made myself clear. I do NOT condone this as a business model, and think the rules need to be adjusted to prevent their abuse against people who truly have not done anything. To the extent, however, that we are talking about people who actually did knowingly and deliberately choose to obtain copyrighted material illegally, I don’t see it as a grave injustice that they wind up paying $3K over something that would have cost them $5 to get legally. If the legal penalty for infringement were nothing more than the market price, then why would anyone bother paying? Why not just take your chances trying to get everything for free, knowing that at worst it will cost you the market price on the small fraction of downloading you get caught for? There is certainly a point at which the monetary sanction against an individual can become unconscionable, but it has to be significant if there is to be any meaningful deterrence at all. As long as it is entirely within your power to avoid any such sanctions by not choosing to infringe, I’m not going to weep overly much for people who do and get caught.

          • No, punishment should not be equal to market price, it should be times more. What DTD is saying (and I agree) that $3,000 is still excessive ($30,000 is simply insane) for such a minor violation. Let’s keep the ratio constant: then the fine for failing to pay for parking on a Manhattan street should also be $3,000. How is it not excessive? Study already have shown that overwhelming majority thinks that $100 is a fair fine for copyright infringement.

          • I understand your point, but as I stated, $3K penalty/fine, etc., is overkill. Especially for some of this crap. When I say “crap,” I’m not stating porn in general, just the low-budget stuff some of these bozos are trying to pass off as quality. Plus who sets the penalty? The Troll and content owner – At a level where it costs more to fight with a lawyer than just settle.

            The penalty has to fit the crime. It is like saying, instead of giving you a speeding ticket $5 ticket for every MPH over the speed limit; we are going to make it $100 per MPH over the speed limit. Yes you are guilty of speeding – but that doesn’t mean you should be subject to Excessive Fines because of it.

            OK – here is a scenario. 20 year old son living at home uses BT to download the copyright protected movie, “I Like Big Butts #12.” Mom is the ISP subscriber and is now being threatened by the Troll to pay up or they will sue both of them – Copyright Infringement, Contributory Infringement, and Negligence. The Troll knows the son isn’t going to have the cash to pay, so they lean on the mother. Oh yeah, please don’t forget about that non-disclosure agreement they are required to sign so they cannot talk about how the troll treated them after the fact.

            Yes you are right about there is no legal requirement to issue DMCA take down notices, but if you read many of the complaints, the Plaintiff claims that suing the Does is the “only” way they can cost-effectively protect their product. It is a lie – the DMCA take down notice is a very cost effective way to do this. By issuing it, the ISP is put on notice to do something or lose the safe harbor status. The ISPs will disable accounts when they get multiple take down notices or a subscriber fails to do anything. This just shows you that the Troll doesn’t want this never ending cycle to stop.

            DTD 🙂

        • posted under the wrong subheader before:

          Yes, of course something can be worked out to make things more fair for content creators and users.

          We’re all here because things are way WAY past that. It’s a small matter to arrive at a fee, compared with the huge problem remedying the moral and legal crimes committed in this supposed “copyright defense”.

          Exploitation and greed have led to gross injustice. Should the copyright term length for cartoon characters or Teen Anal Sluts be SIX times longer than the patent length for a life saving medicine or technology ?

          It’s no accident that mainly porn studio scammers are doing this. Should porn businesses intimidate hundreds of thousands, trying to force them to “prove” the absence of a minor alleged activity ? Are those porn businesses responsible “citizens” to begin with? They exploit their workers, threaten innocents, break local laws doing their “productions”, hide their business finances behind off shore shell corporations, with some probably evading taxes, violating national and international laws.

          Every creative, intellectual, and technological work is built on something else. Many or most of those something else’s were devised decades or centuries ago. The early creators got little or nothing for their history making contributions, let alone royalties. Otherwise, with compounded interest, the planet would owe all its money to Euclid or Archimedes.

        • The question of where to set the penalty level for deterrence purposes is tricky, but I think most economic analysis would suggest the number needs to be higher that what you guys are arguing. The expected cost to the infringer of the penalty has to be discounted by the chance of actually getting caught and sued, which for most people is (or is perceived to be) nigh infinitesimal. So to make any deterrent effective, you have to calibrate both the penalty and the subjective expectation of being sued such that their product makes people think it worth their while to refrain from infringement. This is why owners (at least legit ones who actually want to protect their product) are not BSing when they say they have to sue downloaders and not only send DMCA notices to websites–DMCA whack a mole is a Sisyphean exercise, and only if people believe there to be a non-trivial chance of getting sued will infringement diminish at the margins. I think the parking ticket example actually supports my point–the reason parking fines are NOT $3,000 is that this would actually be a serious deterrent, and cities don’ really want people to stop parking illegally, they want to maximize their revenue from parking fines. (In other words, cities are parking trolls!)

          • The reason why I seemingly ignore this conversation is not that I’m not interested or don’t have arguments. Being extremely pressured for time, I simply cannot afford a casual chess game no matter how I would love it. I do appreciate tough and challenging yet friendly opinions and hope people find this debate interesting and don’t let it die.

      • CMN: While I respect the argument you are trying to make and (as I’ve said before) I am against pirating on basic principles, trying to suggest that these lawsuits are trying to protect copyrights and stop pirating is naive at best. Bottom line is, if Steele and co. really thought they could curb pirating with these lawsuits then 1) they haven’t seen any news broadcasts regarding the RIAA in the last ten years or so and 2) they would actually take someone to court with real evidence and get a win or two and trumpet it to the world. Note: I am not talking about the default judgement wins that Steele likes to claim, I mean a real trial based on real evidence (like the one RIAA won a few years ago that stopped all pirating of music forever). The recent verdict from the judge in New York is probably not quite a death blow, but it’s pretty devestating, and, worse for the plaintiff, is accurate and what many of us here have been saying all along. An IP address does not equal a person, and when your whole case is based on having an IP address then you’re pretty much toast.

        If Steele really wanted to stop pirating he would have taken the “$250,000” he used to develop software that gets a correct hit 70% of the time and put it towards developing software that can actually do something to curb pirating. Maybe work with providers to help provide more secure routers, work with computer companies on better methods of identifying computers actually responsible. The judge that dismissed his case noting that software pirating was way ahead of pirate detecting had it exactly right, and if you want to stop it that’s the area you work–prevention.

        TL;DR: these lawsuits are crap and about money. If you want to stop pirating develop software that prevents it as it’s been proven time and time again that litigation does nothing to even slow it down.

      • And should that not be a cause to change the law? The fact that this hole exists to be exploited?
        The heart and intent of copyright law is to protect a person’s intellectual property so that they can control distribution and profit from it in the appropriate marketplace. The intent is NOT so that a person can get a piece of paper that says “I’ll sue the shit out of you if you so much as look at it”.
        If a person files copyright, refuses to market the work, and collects settlements from threats of legal action because the work has been traded in an underground marketplace, does that not fly in the face of the intent of copyright in the first place?
        If this flavor of Copyright Trolling isn’t fraud, then by all rights it SHOULD be.

        Blah blah … purported basis. Blah blah … fraud claim. Argue it like a lawyer. Whatever. This is a situation where it needs to be argued like Congress. If this loophole exists that allows this degree of shady activity, it needs to be closed.

  5. Well, my comment was only based on asking an award for “money lost” which I believe is the norm for these types of cases. If the movie has never actually been for sale, then there can be no money lost so I’m not even clear on what, exactly, they are asking for…statutory damages would have to be based on something. Can you have mental anguish over knowing somehow copies of “Teen Anal Sluts” were put out there by some dastardly fiends who somehow got a copy of a movie that isn’t available anywhere?

    I’m betting if you make the right argument to some of these torrent sites (“look, I’m being sued by some a-hole over a movie that your site links to and I could use some help”) they might be willing to hand over the IP information of the original poster of the torrent…since that person looks highly suspect, owning a movie that has never been released and all. I’ve heard from some “anonymous” folks are working similar angles right now. It’s not too hard to imagine where the movie came from, particularly if no one in the general public had access to it.

    • You’re mistaken in thinking statutory damages have to be based on something other than the mere fact of infringement. The owner is statutorily entitled to a minimum of $750 per work infringed (this can be reduced in some circumstances), and it is totally up to the jury to pick a number between there and $30K (or up to 150K if the infringement was “willful”). The whole point of statutory damages is that actual lost market value is extremely difficult to prove, so they are trying to relieve copyright owners of that burden (and deter infringement).

      Trying to investigate the original seeder through the torrent site sounds like a good idea, though as I will say in the other part of the thread, I’m not certain that even this is a slam dunk legally.

      • Admittedly you’re much more well-versed in copyright law than I am (or probably ever will be). I would think simply creating doubt as to why a movie exists would help with a jury case, particularly when you can point out that in this case the lost market value is zero.

    • So is it Maniax-media that owns them (or vice versa I suppose)? They’re the only video site that comes up under a google search (of 24 hits, 23 are related to law blogs like this one or the case paperwork). Certainly if you’re brave enough to look at the site you’ll notice that there is no film by this name. Then you’ll want to shower.

      One thing I’ve wondered is, if this is a website compilation (almost certainly seems to be the case, as it would appear there is a website by this name) would the original scenes need to be copyrighted individually or would the compilation itself count as a copyright for each individually released scene? If those scenes are already copyrighted then it would fall to reason this movie would have the same issues as some of the other cases in that they’ve copyrighted this as a new movie rather than a retitled compilation.

      Anyway, there are a myriad of reasons that this movie not being available for sale anywhere is problematic, but not having it available as a defense is perhaps the biggest of them.

      • So, something I’m curious about….all this talk of “teen” makes me wonder if “companies” that apply for a copyright for adult material have to also submit the records of age (18 USC § 2251)? Since other countries have different age requirements and things that are legal in Seychelles may not be legal here would those records be required by the copyright office? A movie with “Teen” in the title should fall under a little more heavy scrutiny I would think. Perhaps someone should point that out to a few government agencies…

        • Interesting. Searching the web I found a potentially game changing remark:

          I’m from the seychelles and just like the other countries around the world you have people that are considered “easy”. The person who stated the rape stuff, obviously doesn’t know the locals very well or the country. We are proud people and are proud of our country. No prostition is not legal in seychelles, the same as drugs, and any form of pornography, although many companies come to seychelles to film their adult films there. Yes as I was saying its illegal and yes we have people who go against the laws. So do many people all over the world. There aren’t that many to be honest. The islands are so small that everyone would know who you are.

  6. Sounds to me like some government authorities in both countries need to be notified of what’s happening. With “teen” and “young” in the titles one would hope they have the proper paperwork in our country to be sure their copyright is legal. Then again, if it’s illegal in the country that it originated from I’m not sure what that would mean?

  7. I just got one of these things from my provider and I’m trying to figure out what it’s all about. From what my friends tells me it seems my box has the WiFi enabled by default and thus anyone could (and clearly was) using my internet access. So how exactly do I fight this? I’m not the one that downloaded this movie, nor would I have any interest in doing so. They wish to identify me as the account holder, which is all well and good, but I’m not the person that downloaded it, and I have absolutely no way or idea how to identify the person that did. So what are my legal options here? How exactly do they plan to provide who was using the service when even I don’t know what, or do they figure they can backmail me into a settlement?

    • Briefly, in the moral sense the scam is extortion. The trolls want to make demands and collect cash quickly. They know that many Does are innocent, but try to collect from the innocent also. They hope the threat of financing a full court case and stigma of having a name involved with porn will force some to pay up quickly.

      Don’t contact the trolls. They’ll only search for words to use against you, even if provided with proof of innocence.

      In the near future, password protect secure your wireless network, keep records of any troll contact to you, keep your current wireless router even if you upgrade, and keep records what router you got.

      Take some time to read information here (Resources at the top of the page), at EFF, at DTD and other places. Unfortunately, the porn purveyor & lawyer groups waste a huge amount of good people’s time, including the legal system.

  8. I sent an email to every Simmons Law attorney (60 total) – all email addressees are listed on their website:


    Dear colleagues!

    I am happy to inform you that the reputation of our firm is about to reach new, unprecedented heights! I strongly believe that my humble work defending the intellectual property of a reputable media company 4:Twenty Media has positively contributed to our firm’s reputational growth. Without strong copyright protection, there is no incentive for talented creators to produce future breathtaking masterpieces such as “Teen Anal Sluts”.

    I hope that the image of Simmons Law firm will be forever associated with my name and the beautiful artworks such as “Teen Anal Sluts” or “Super Black Anal Cougars”, as Internet press has already picked up these positive developments. I also envision that a new strategy of mass extortion based on unreliable evidence and perversion of law will become Simmons Law’s primary specialization. I hope that more press coverage will follow soon, and I am working on a letter to our clients so they could share our joy! I plan to send this letter out to every client I can think about sometime this week.

    Love you all from behind,

    Paul Lesko, Esq.

    One Court Street
    Alton, IL 62002
    Ph: 618.259.2222
    Fax: 618.259.2251

    P.S. Attached is a couple of images that I propose to use on our pamphlet in order to tighten our relationship with the current clients and to help winning new ones.

    Disclaimer: This message was not written by Paul Lesko, it’s a fictional creative work.

    • Haha. Good. But be careful. They are lawyers and impersonation may be illegal, although it is clear even without disclaimer that this is a ” fictional creative work”, who knows in what way creative lawyers could strike.

      I see nothing wrong in spreading the awareness, yet please try to occupy higher grounds than trolls while doing that (this advice is unrelated to your action, just saying).

    • Forgot to mention:

      – this message links to this article
      – attached pictures in P.S. are porno images from (I don’t think that this website is related to 4:Twenty Media)

      • Please think about focusing of what would be effective. I echo what SJD said: let’s take the high ground. Yes, troll schemes may be nasty and mean-spirited. But let’s respond clearly and simply.

        If there are many busy lawyers in this firm, give them a short statement. A member of their firm is advocating for a porn tycoon and associates. The greedy porn business person and group (out of state “lawyer”, flaw profiteering so-called forensic computer pretend geeks) are harassing many. It will bring a storm of ill will & bad PR for the firm.

        Stop sending pictures. There’s 250,000+ people needing effective advocates. If lawyers don’t know the significance of enabling porn extortionists, awkward photos will not help. It’s understandable to try bringing humor into an awful situation.

        But, the troll lawyers need to know there are many many serious, capable people who work with resolve against their fear and greed campaign.

        • Thanks for your input, Anonymous. You are probably right: I should have thought twice before sending those pictures. When I compile an email for Simmons clients, I’ll try to imagine myself in the readers’ shoes. I’ll try to avoid doing anything that creates wrong impression about those who fight with trolls.

    • As a follow-up (and something I’ve not seen asked here before) can they file on me in my home state if I’m still listed as a Doe in this action, or would they have to dismiss me first? Not that I think they will, but I’ve never seen this come up and got curious.

  9. Update

    This story has yet another interesting dimension: pornography is illegal in Seychelles, where the rightsholder of the “work” in question is registered. I notified various Seychelles ministries about possible criminal activity of 4:Twenty Media, as well as reputational harm to their country, which heavily depends on tourism. So far I received a notification that my complaint was officially forwarded to a relevant agency for investigation. I’ll post an update once I get more information.

  10. OK, So I am reading all this, and I am thinking ” What should I do?” Should I get a lawyer? Should I do nothing? What are all of you doing?

    • That’s the right direction: “reading -> thinking -> understanding”. Hope you are not far from the phase 3.

      “What are all of you doing?” — Certainly some went the wrong direction “freaking -> panicking -> paying”, otherwise this scam wouldn’t be sustainable. Some hired lawyers: see the docket. Kudos to them. Some filed pro se motions, and this court is seemingly friendly to amateur actions: all the pro se filings are put under seal. Those who can’t afford a lawyer and don’t want to risk their name being unsealed (which is a very small risk to the best of my knowledge and my skills to foresee), just sit tight and wait when this is over.

      The outcome is the same regardless: case will be dismissed: crooks won’t dare to file individual lawsuit(s) knowing that pornography is illegal in Seychelles, where this “work” is registered. Otherwise, same story, same old story. Scam & Bluff.

      My advice is crystallized and I don’t know what can be added to it: see the last paragraph of the latest post.

      • I think I will talk to a lawyer, there is no way that I will pay their crazy fee. The first letter that they send had a reply date that had already passed. They sent a follow up letter a few days later giving me 15 days to pay or the way they made it sound I was going to owe millions and be on the front page of every paper in the world as a child porn distributor. I don’t remember downloading this but I am pretty sure they don’t care if I did or not. They only were demanding money in the follow up letter. At least the follow up letter had a date that didn’t already pass.

        I would rather pay a lawyer than pay them. I will not be extorted. I have a feeling that they will keep sending threats unless I get a lawyer. Then they can send him threats.

        • Are you saying that the second letter you’ve received has different wording than the first (I assume that the first letter is the same as embedded above). If it is so, I would appreciate if I can see it, redacted of course. No pressure: this is a sensitive matter and I understand if you are reluctant.

          Paul Lesko is a low life extortionist, and yet he has a family. How will it play out if his now 3- and 5-year olds will learn their father’s shenanigans? Shame engine is a double-edged sword. If he implies that his victims share child porn, that who is he then? Defending criminals who produce and distribute possibly underage porn?

          Kudos to you for not paying these scumbags.

        • Sure, I will get a copy of that second letter to you. After I figure out how to get this to you, I am pretty sure that the main reason for the second letter was to provide a “PAY BY OR ELSE” date. As I said, this first letter was dated May 4th 2012 but had a pay by date of Sept 24th 2011. So they wanted to make clear that I had a good date. I will scan it and cut and past it here, or I can email it to you.

          My case was filed in New Orleans, I live in Alabama. Do I look for a lawyer in AL or LA? I will make sure I ask a lawyer millions of questions and post everything here that may help others. I have zero legal understanding, I am not sure that I understand what you are posting half the time. So I will post them as legal questions for dummies.

        • Xerxes-

          Review what SJD said in the post that the 7:23 PM comment links to.

          It’s common that the trolls make up a “deadline”, pretend it’s urgent, make calls near the deadline threatening that the price will go up, then make a new demand with a new price, and so on. It is extortion in the dictionary sense of the word.

          If I understand you right, the only thing the trolls have done is gotten your contact information and made their early rounds of “demands”. Two situations where you might especially want an attorney are:

          (a) If you have been named (and served a subpoena) in your state
          (b) You need a direct shield from the harassment of troll demands by phone, mail, & email. There are some who have delicate circumstances at home or work. It might be important for them to defend against stress or troll trickery, or keep things confidential.

          Since you are out of state, the troll lawyers would have to file a suit against you as an individual in your jurisdiction. Out of 250,000 Does, only a fraction of one percent have gone even to the naming stage. To actually get to a trial, there would be many steps, described, among other places, at DTD:


          In your state, things are particularly GOOD. There is no known porn business troll lawyer who has filed there. If you are okay ignoring trolls calls and letters, you can wait things out. By the way, keep notes if you can about the harassing phone calls. If a troll caller is saying that they are trying to damage your public reputation, and/or associate you will child porn, that is wrongful and puts the trolls at risk.

          If you need legal advice for a special situation, or orientation, or for extra support, you do not need an LA state lawyer. At this stage, any good lawyer in any state experienced in fending off trolls will do. If you wanted to prepare specifically for the small possibility of responding to a troll case against you individually, you can eventually get a lawyer in your state. The disadvantage of a local lawyer is that there won’t be a lawyer there who has experience in these kind of cases. (A lawyer new to the porn copyright troll scam might think that these are credible cases, and give different advice from a savvy troll fighting attorney.)

          Even if you do get a lawyer, it still pays to learn what you can about these cases. Your questions to a lawyer can be more specific and less time consuming. Most Does are not knowledge about legal process and have to learn about it.

          (Usual disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer. This is for discussion purposes only and not to be construed as legal advice.)

        • Excuse me? Are you saying you got a letter in which the plantiffs attornies stated that their “copywrited work” was child pornography? I would really like to see a link to such a letter (personal information blanked out of course). So can you scan it and post it someplace then give us a link. Because it would seem to me that attempting to sue for damages because an illegal work was pirated/shared would tend to seriously undermine the plantiffs case…and/or this would amount to little more than blackmail, IMO.

  11. I am the attorney who filed a motion for the Court to reconsider its order granting early discovery, quash the subpoenas, and sever all Does other than John Doe number one, in this 4 Twenty Media case in W.D. La. The Court has granted oral argument on this motion, which is currently set for July 18, 2012. Prior to that hearing, I would be interested in hearing whether any John Does in this case have been harassed by the plaintiff? Does anyone know how I get in touch with the moderator of this website? If so, please email Thanks, Morgan

  12. Troll Paul “Anal” Lesko files another lawsuit on 6-15 in LAWD, West Coast Productions v. Does 1-1,980 (12-cv-1713). Have not seen the complaint but other WCP lawsuits involve the title “Monster Wet Anal Asses” which would be right up Lesko’s alley (so to speak).

  13. Over at Paul “Anal” Lesko’s latest post I posed him several questions that are awaiting moderation and, consequently will never see the light of day much less answered. Here is what was commented at

    “Hi Paul,

    I see you have brought a brand new lawsuit in the District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, West Coast Productions v. Does 1-1,980 (12-cv-1713). I know it is a copyright infringement lawsuit but is it over the title “Monster Wet Anal Asses” or the classic “Monster Wet Anal Asses”? Also how is the other lawsuit going over the title “Teen Anal Sluts” (12-cv-31), is the extortion money still rolling in? Finally, if you have a spouse, doesn’t she think it a little queer that a grown “man” (troll) collects little cards with virile young men adorning them?

    Your pal,


  14. anyone know how Mr. Pietz motion went
    as one of the does i really would like this whole thing to just go away

  15. This from :

    “MINUTE ENTRY: re 132 MOTION to Quash MOTION to Sever filed by John Doe #404, 132 MOTION for Reconsideration re 6 Order on Motion for Discovery Motion That the Court (1) Reconsider Its Order Granting Early Discovery, (2) Quash Outstanding Subpoenas, and (3) Sever All Does Other Than John Doe Number One filed by John Doe #404 will remain set for oral argument on July 18, 2012 as scheduled. The parties are allowed to participate by telephone as long as they give notice to the undersigneds Chambers. If the parties decide to participate by telephone, they shall make arrangements to make a conference call with the undersigneds office. Signed by Magistrate Judge C Michael Hill on 6/5/2012. (crt,Davenport, M) (Entered: 06/05/2012)”

  16. Any new info on this case? From what I can see the hearing is upcoming and lots and lots of does being dismissed (down to 500 or so now?) but it’s hard to tell if anyone’s settling or threatening counter-suits or what.

    • There’s a hearing tomorrow at 10 a.m. I would expect a decision probably a week or so after the hearing…

  17. So… With John Doe 404 (whose motion resulted in the phone hearing earlier this month) being dismissed, where do the rest of the Does stand? Will the judge still take what was discussed during that hearing “under advisement” or will it become null and void?

  18. Lesko’s page here is now #2, below his firm’s profile of him. What’s it gonna take to make #1? Bribing Google? 😛

  19. It’s finally official (for me). I got a packet in the mail today from Simmons stating the judge has made them drop all but Doe #1 from the case. The whole thing was too long to read, but from it i got the reasons being the joinder part, as well as lack of evidence. My wife will be happy as she is the one who was accused in all this crap.

    • Figures he barely even changed the letter from his “anal” days. I hope that anyone and everyone that gets one of these can find their way here and figure out to tell this guy to go to hell (in my opinion of course–please don’t construe this as legal advice). I ignored him years and years ago with the whole “anal” mess and I’d say anyone that gets one of these would be safe to do the same. I got ONE letter when it started, and one months later telling me it had been dismissed–nothing else. What a scumbag.

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