It was a long and eventful lawsuit — it was filed in November 2010 (3.5 years ago) and amassed 139 documents in the docket. This litigation was conceived as a class action against the “father” of US copyright trolls, a DC lawfirm Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver PLLC, as well as against US Copyright Group, Thomas Dunlap, Nicholas Kurtz, Guardaley Limited, and a currently bankrupt film studio Achte/Neunte Boll Kino Beteiligungs Gmbh & Co KG — the producer of “Far Cry.”
Unfortunately, class action certification was denied a year ago, so the lawsuit continued as an individual plaintiff case all the way to the judgment: on 3/27/2014 Judge George O’Toole ordered the only remaining defendant DGW to pay $3,179.52, plus attorneys’ fees in the amount of $31,795, as well as $4,935.43 costs ($39,909.95 total).
So, the victory is bitter because the initial goal — class action lawsuit that could change the copyright trolling landscape in the USA — was not achieved. Moneywise, the fees awarded are modest given the amount of work — the plaintiff was asking for $362,767. As explained by the judge, since the case lost its class action status, class action-range fees were not appropriate despite the actual effort.
Yet the result is still sweet: victory is victory. The fee amount is not that low, and I believe the outcome will serve as deterrence to copyright law abusers.
Kudos to Jason and Dan for pioneering a good fight!
To the best of my knowledge, the only other class action lawsuit filed against copyright trolls was Barker v. Patrick Collins Inc. et al (KYWD 12-cv-00372). That lawsuit was dismissed because the plaintiff failed to convince the court that she had personal jurisdiction over the defendants.
I’m sure that since the situation is different now (mostly because of Prenda’s downfall and since Lipscomb’s luck is also about to be exhausted), we will inevitably witness more class action lawsuits in the near future: I know that some lawfirms already think that the time is right and are actively looking for plaintiffs — copyright troll victims.
- TorrentFreak: Accused Movie Pirate Wins Extortion Case Against Copyright Trolls by Ernesto.
- RT: Judge, siding with accused pirate, orders ‘copyright troll’ to pay up.
- TechDirt: Lawsuit Against First US Copyright Trolls For Extortion Ends In Victory by Mike Masnick.