Two weeks ago a New York (Eastern District) judge Gary Brown made it clear that copyright trolls are not welcome in his district. His epic ORR (Order and Report and Recommendation) still reverberates in the online news (see the incomplete list of publications about Brown’s ruling at the end of my other post).
Following Brown’s recommendations, a district judge Colleen McMahon completely destroyed troll business in the Southern District of New York yesterday: she dismissed all Does but #1 from “My Little Panties Two” case (11-cv-08170-CM) brought from under the bridge by a weretroll Mike Meier on behalf of a pornographer Digital Sins. “I am second to none in my dismay at the theft of copyrighted material that occurs every day on the internet. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to litigate, and so far this way strikes me as the wrong way,” judge concluded, preempting any doubts about her position regarding these abusive lawsuits.
It would be outstanding news half a year ago, but these days, when trolls are on the run, such events fill all the honest people with joy, yet at the same time we don’t exclaim “wow!” anymore, and that’s wonderful.
What about Does #1?
We always express our joy and congratulate Does who are dismissed from improperly joined cases. But what about the hapless Does who were unlucky to find themselves at the top of the trolls’ lists? Scapegoats as they seem, in reality are not in any more danger: trolls rarely pursue them further; it is not in trolls’ interest to spend their time and effort on random individuals when there are so many new uneducated fresh victims to extort.
After a spectacular downfall in Maryland, where chief district judge Deborah Chasanow assigned most of mass bittorent MD cases to herself and subsequently cut them to single Doe suits, Mike Meier was expectedly quick to use any excuses to get rid of his not-lucrative-anymore cases. For example,
- 12-cv-00023-RWT: Doe #1 is dismissed because he “used a mobile device as he was traveling through New York. Doe #1 resides outside the jurisdiction of this Court.”
…and, back to this SDNY case,
- 11-cv-08170-CM: Doe #1 is dismissed because “Plaintiff has received a notice from ISP for Doe #1 (Verizon) that Doe #1 cannot be located.” Note that this dismissal notice comes the next day after McMahon killed the lawsuit.
Given the rich history of documented lies produces by trolls, I would take these claims with a grain of salt and double-check this information: if Mike Meier could be caught lying, it wouldn’t be a surprise, yet would undoubtedly be another nail in the coffin of copyright trolling.
Rob Cashman posted a very interesting in-depth analysis of this ruling.
Raul’s follow-up featuring the same actors: Mike Meier has an audacity to continue fishing in the Southern District of New York. Judge McMahon is not impressed