Attorney Morgan Pietz, who was instrumental in toppling one troll — Prenda Law — has been recently seriously involved in crashing another one — Lipscomb/Malibu Media/X-Art. One of the most promising battlegrounds Pietz is fighting on is located in Maryland, where in 2014 alone Malibu Media filed 139 shakedown lawsuits — 93% of all the copyright lawsuits filed in Maryland this year. Building upon the work of other defense attorneys, Morgan compiled pretty damning dossier on the most brazen abuser of the copyright law today. The accusations are serious: forum shopping, contingency payments to the witness, Prenda-like shell games, champerty… but the evidence is also colossal: one can easily spend more than one evening reading the exhibits, connecting the dots.
So, yesterday we heard from the judges: a hearing on the pending motions was set for July 30, 2014 (Malibu Media v. John Doe Subscribers: MDD 14-cv-0223, 14-cv-0257 and 14-cv-0263). Although it is formally just a motion hearing, I expect it to be much more significant than some trials. Yes, I mean the Bellwether farce.
Of course Keith Lipscomb will appear in person: the integrity of his house of cards is at stake. In the meantime, please refrain from commenting on Keith’s professional qualities: let him dwell in the land of the illusion that he is a courtroom badass.
As predicted, Lipscomb applied for pro hac vice admission in Maryland — in all the three cases where Morgan Pietz’ bunker buster motion will be heard on 7/30/2014 — an expected trollmageddon before the panel of three judges.
Thanks to Raul for pointing to this letter:
The first news from what happened in Maryland on 7/30 is not encouraging. The judges seemed to accept Malibu’s argument that no contingent fee situation applies. The judges also suggested that the identity protections they set in place would protect defendants who are not involved with downloading from abuse.
Plus, for judges to throw out complaints the threshold of the evidence presented by a defendant is incredibly high, and in general, civil case defendants in this country are always in disadvantage: hardly the only unfairness this society suffers from.
Although the hope is low, the above assumptions are based solely on the hearing, and judges sometimes ask questions that seemingly support one side, and then rule against that side.
Yet it is most likely that Lipscomb weaseled out one more time, but since his argument is essentially based on deception, this situation won’t last forever. Even more, emboldened by the illusion that his shakedown business is legit, he will more easily make mistakes, and Malibu’s remake of the Coopergate will happen earlier or later. Look, we were depressed two years ago observing Prenda’s seeming invincibility, and look where these guys are now.
Food gained by fraud tastes sweet, but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel.
I’ll post an update once I have more concrete information, and of course publish the order when the judges rule.