This event was bound to happen. Two things never come together: greed and the art of quitting when it is not too late. All it takes to damage an extortionist’s “business” severely is to mess with a wrong person, and with every day, the likelihood of such an event increases. Fortunately, all the “wrong persons” to date have responded civilly, within the law. Nonetheless, the risk to mess with a wrong type of a “wrong person” is still there.
Those porn purveyors who resorted to suing their potential customers as an easy albeit unethical way to make money, have been terrorizing this country for too long, victimizing more than 250,000 people over the last couple of years. As we continue stressing every week, bittorent cases against alleged BitTorent downloaders, as they are being conducted, are nothing but extortion. And many judges agree. The systematic incompatibility between Internet and the Copyright Law as well as the social stigma attached to pornography — these are the two main instruments than make this scam a relatively easy undertaking: all kinds of opportunistic scum jumped on the wagon of this “business” — from now convicted criminal Kenneth Ford to an “elite super-lawyer” Marc Randazza. Trolls threaten to sue a person for an insane $150,000 allowed by the statute; they promise to drag his or her name through the dirt by calling families, neighbors and businesses to tell them the names of allegedly infringed “useful works,” specifically chosen to maximize damage: “Blumpkin Blowjobs,” “Teen Anal Sluts,” “Jeff cums in Colby’s mouth” etc. And all this is based on extremely unreliable “evidence.”
Until recently, we witnessed only a couple of counter-actions against trolls. In addition to few individual counter-suits, there is only a single class action lawsuit currently litigated by Dmitriy Shirokov/Booth Sweet against the “father of US copyright trolls,” lawfirm Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver.
Now we have another one.
Ken Henry is experienced in class action litigation, particularly in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act law. It is not a big stretch to compare trolls’ actions with those of debt collectors, albeit the debt trolls try to collect does not exist in the first place, which makes it an actionable offence.
Jennifer Barker and Ken Henry allege six counts, starting with civil RICO act violation. The other allegations are fraud, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and unjust enrichment.
Five porn purveyors have been named as defendants; all of them are well-known serial public assailants:
- Patrick Collins, Inc.
- Malibu Media, LLC
- Raw Films, Ltd
- K-Beech, Inc.
- Third Degree Films
(those who cannot access Scribd: download the complaint from Ken Henry’s site )
Unfortunately, the real villains, a lawyer Keith Lipscomb and his gang (Steven Eisenberg, Deborah Baker and numerous local attorneys) are not explicitly named. I hope that they will be included later, and in the end, they will pay in full for all the damage they inflicted. I’m not a vindictive person, but I won’t try to suppress jolly sounds when trolls are driven out of business and bankrupt.
To be continued… (Continued what? I mean both this case’s coverage and similar lawsuits.)
- Reuters: Porn copyright troll targets strike back in new class action by Alison Frankel.
- Wired: Porn Studios Accused of Screwing Their Fans in BitTorrent Lawsuits by David Kravets.
- BoingBoing: Porno-copyright trolls named in RICO class action suit by Cory Doctorow.
- CNET: Porn studios accused of shafting enthusiasts by Chris Matyszczyk.
- ArsTechnica: Accused of downloading porn, Kentucky woman sues the pornographers by Nate Anderson.
- Jezebel: Porn Downloaders Are Suing Porn Producers for Allegedly Shaming Settlement Money Out of Them by Doug Barry (Republished by Gawker).
- TechDirt: Class Action Racketeering Lawsuit Filed Against Copyright Trolling Porn Companies by Mike Masnick
- AVN (NSFW due to ads!): Accused Torrent Infringer Sues ‘Pornography Purveyors’.
- XBIZ (NSFW due to ads!): 5 Porn Studios Accused of Shaking Down Piracy Defendants by Rhett Pardon.
- courier-journal.com: Louisville woman says California porn studios trying to extort her by Andrew Wolfson.
- Huff Post|Tech: Jennifer Barker Sues Porn Companies Over Anti-Piracy Litigation by Brett Barrouquere (AP).