Guardaley | Voltage
In devastating detail, defense attorney documents years of copyright trolls’ fraud on the federal judiciary
The document filed yesterday in two bittorent copyright cases – Strike 3 Holdings LCC v John Doe (WAWD 17-cv-01731) and Venice PI LLC v David Meinert et al (WAWD 17-cv-01403) – eliminates any remaining doubt that the current massive bittorent litigation campaign (steered by the German “anti-piracy” company Guardaley) differs from the infamous Prenda Law scam. This document shows that in tens of thousands of lawsuits (and more are being filed as we speak) federal courts allowed ex-parte discovery of alleged copyright infringers’ identities relying on declarations full of misinterpretations and outright fraud.
To understand the significance of this document, let’s briefly revisit the history of its inception.
Federal Judge questions legitimacy of copyright trolling lawsuits
On 11/3/2017 Federal Judge Thomas Zilly (WAWD) discovered that
In two different cases, Nos. C17-990 TSZ and C17-1075, plaintiff [Venice PI, LLC] sued the same, now deceased, defendant, namely Wilbur Miller. Mr. Miller’s widow submitted a declaration indicating that, for about five years prior to his death at the age of 91, Mr. Miller suffered from dementia and was both mentally and physically incapable of operating a computer.
This discovery was disturbing enough to question the legitimacy of the copyright trolls’ detection methods, as well as plaintiff attorneys’ predatory litigation tactics. In each of the 12 Venice cases assigned to him, the judge issued an order to show cause, directing the troll to
[…] file an offer of proof [that] shall be supported by the declaration of an expert in the field, setting forth such expert’s qualifications, and shall address the following issues:
(i) whether and, if so, how an IP address can be either “spoofed” to or faked by a BitTorrent tracker, and what is the likelihood (quantified if possible) that each defendant’s IP address was a false positive;
(ii) whether and, if so, how plaintiff can prove that the material allegedly tracked to each defendant’s IP address was a “playable” and actionable segment of the copyrighted work at issue; and
(iii) what evidence, if any, can plaintiff currently present, beyond mere association with an IP address, that each defendant engaged in the alleged copyright infringement.
The troll’s attorney David Lowe responded with the following declarations:
- ECF 29: Expert report by Benjamin Perino (Guardaley’s owner) (+Exhibit). Note that another Guardaley employee – Michael Patzer – made an identical claim that (paragraph 9 from an OHSD case declaration) he wrote the software that has the same functionality that Perino says he wrote (paragraph 15 of ECF 29)
- ECF 30: Declaration of Michael Wickstrom (Voltage Pictures)
The judge issues the second order
The judge, however, wasn’t satisfied by the response. Particularly, he questioned the legality of the surveillance conducted by unlicensed German individuals of questionable qualifications.
In addition, Judge Zilly discovered the allegations of one particularly egregious fraud perpetuated by the same German “investigators”: the network of troll attorneys across the US filed more than 500 declarations “signed” by a fictitious person Darren Griffin of a fake company Crystal Bay Corporation. Those declarations were successfully used to obtain court subpoenas to subsequently pressure defendants to settle out of court (“essentially an extortion scheme” according to CACD Judge Otis Wright).
Finally, the judge became aware of a troubling pattern: as I documented on this blog (here, here, here, and here), Lowe dismissed more than a dozen of defendants who retained attorney Christopher Lynch – after Mr. Lynch sent a letter threatening to fight back and conduct discovery, which would inevitably shed a light on plaintiffs’ and their attorneys’ contemptible conduct.
On 1/8/2018 Judge Zilly issued another, a much stronger-worded, order to show cause, which hinted that the declarant Daniel Arheidt “might be committing a crime by engaging in unlicensed surveillance of Washington citizens” and asked why “claims […] should not be dismissed with prejudice (and any funds [the plaintiff] has received in settlement should not be disgorged)”.
Cornered troll is hissing and showing teeth
On 2/5/2018 Lowe responded with another bunch of declarations:
- ECF 34: Declaration of Stephen Bunting, a forensic guy (+Exhibit)
- ECF 35: Declaration of Michael Wickstrom of Voltage Pictures, addressing the Guardaley shell game / Hollywood accounting (+Exhibit)
- ECF 36: Declaration of David Hricik, a law professor from the Mercer Law School, who addresses Zilly’s allegations of Lowe’s unethical conduct, and also opines on my blog – without reading a single post¹ (+Exhibit)
- ECF 37: Declaration of Daniel Arheidt, who, while working for Guardaley and living in Karlsruhe, never met his “colleague” Daniel Susac, who is also from Karlsruhe and is/was working for Guardaley
- ECF 38: Declaration of David Lowe, who tap-dances around the Griffin fraud issue, trying to create an impression that the fact that Griffin never existed is just a conspiracy theory (+Exhibit)
- ECF 39: Declaration of the Guardaley’s owner Ben Perino, who argues that his magic box is incapable of producing false positives
The overall response’s tone was more nervous than the last time. To maintain the air of legitimacy in front of a skeptical judge, Lowe made some misinterpretations (for example, he claimed that he has “no personal knowledge about Crystal Bay, and never worked with that entity”). In addition, Lowe’s response contained a threat directed at Mr. Lynch and myself:
Plaintiff is concerned that, insofar as the basis for the show case order may be found in websites and letters that are not part of the record in this case, and which are not under oath and cannot be squarely confronted in this response, that its Due Process rights may be violated. While Plaintiff believes it can fully satisfy the Court with the present submission, in the event the Court finds support in any of the materials cited in its Order (such as the letter of Christopher Lynch, or content on a website), Plaintiff requests the opportunity to conduct discovery into such assertions in order to defend itself. Specifically, Plaintiff and its counsel request the opportunity for third party discovery of the purveyors of the cited online sources, as well as Mr. Lynch, whose unsubstantiated letter containing accusations in the Collins case appear to form the basis for much of the Court’s criticisms. If any remedy is to be imposed that in any way relies on these sources, Plaintiff’s due process rights surely demand that it be given the opportunity to know and confront its accusers in this regard, and to thereby prove that none of them have any evidence (let alone reliable, credible, and admissible evidence) to support their assertions.
This request to conduct a fishing expedition is nothing more than an attempt to intimidate critics. Prenda tried this tactic in 2013, and you all know how it ended.
While I decided ignore this threat, Mr. Lynch didn’t take it lightly and authored a response – the declaration that addressed Lowe’s false statements and bogus accusations in devastating detail.
To date, this is the most meticulous collection of discrepancies, misstatements and outright lies in copyright trolls’ declarations. Mr. Lynch began collecting and organizing the evidence of troll’s wrongdoing since he got involved in a (successful) defense of a copyright troll victim (Elf-Man v Lamberson, WAED 13-cv-00395) and has never stopped doing this work.
It would be unproductive to summarize this already condensed document. Neither do I need to explain its significance to those who read both Judge Zilly’s orders to show cause. The only comment I wish to make is that I hope that one day this declaration becomes an exhibit to an indictment.
Read it, share it, and – if you a defense attorney – file it in your cases.
- Leonard French: Fake Experts?! Defense Atty uncovers False Declarations in File Sharing Cases (video)
It took 2.5 months for Lowe & Co to come up with “rebuttal” (that’s how Lowe labels the dances around well-substantiated allegations):
- ECF 46: Plaintiff’s response to Lynch declaration
- ECF 47: Declaration of Benjamin Perino
- ECF 48: Declaration of Patrick Achache
- ECF 49: Supplemental declaration of David A. Lowe
The funniest of them is the Achache’s declaration, in which the Guardlaey founder claims that Darren Griffin is a real person after admitting that he couldn’t be located. That’s how Lowe described it in his response (emphasis is mine):
While it remains irrelevant to any of these proceedings, simply to put this issue to rest, Plaintiff has undertaken significant private efforts and investigation to locate Darren M. Griffin, or otherwise confirm that he is a “real person” who (1) worked briefly for Crystal Bay Corporation in the 2012-2013 to verify data licensed from Excipio; and (2) verified infringement detection data and submitted a number of declarations in various jurisdictions confirming the data. Despite considerable expense, Mr. Griffin has not been located. However, the declaration of Patrick Achache, submitted herewith, confirms that Darren M. Griffin is a real person and performed the work attributed to him as noted above. (Achache Dec. ¶ 4) Barring evidence to the contrary—as opposed to any mere speculation by Mr. Lynch or others—this should once and for all put that issue to rest, and any further speculative assertions by Mr. Lynch and his ilk should not be countenanced by the courts.
So, Achache said Griffin is real – I guess that the case is closed and shame on all of us for thinking otherwise. On the other hand, if this is the case, then why can’t I help recalling the tap dances Prenda folks performed when confronted with the Alan Cooper fraud? For example, that’s what Paul Hansmeier said during a deposition five years ago:
And so to address that issue AF Holdings — well, spoke to Mr. Steele — Mark Lutz spoke to Mr. Steele and said, Well, I understand that there’s an issue with this Alan Cooper and asked Mr. Steele point-blank, Is the signature a forgery. Mr. Steele said the signature is not forgery. And he asked him, Is the — is this signature authentic. Mr. Steele says, yes, the signature is authentic. Based on Mr. Steele’s representation, we have no reason to believe from what Mr. Steele said, at least, that the signature is a forgery or there’s some sort fraud going on with respect to the signature.
¹ It looks like Mr. Hricik was so offended by the blog’s title that he didn’t read any posts. According to the log, the only page he visited was About (besides the main page): he scrolled down, found my semi-serious Public Domain Notice, cut the phrase “copying is not theft” out of context and declared that it is “worrisome” (FN1 of Hricik Declaration).
34 responses to ‘In devastating detail, defense attorney documents years of copyright trolls’ fraud on the federal judiciary’
Hold me SJD, once again they claim we are the bad guys and it hurts my feels.
Pretty sure I still haven’t been shaking down senior citizens for the social security checks, so on the bad guy scale I hardly rate compared to this travesty of court sanctioned extortion.
But then I’ve been paying attention since before they jumped the Atlantic & DGW invented USCG to try to avoid sullying their “good name” by extorting cash for Uwe Bolle, the bestest film maker EVAH! (just ask him, he’ll tell you).
Dear trolls… you might be telling yourself there is no way these meddling kids on the internet will bring you down, Prenda said that a whole bunch… they are still pretending that they have an out from the indictment. They never learned who we were, never scared us into silence, and we destroyed their empire. They were a handful of dolts, you are part of a globe spanning cabal who think you’re smarter than everyone else… hubris is fun to watch. While you think you can just sacrifice the lawyers and protect the ill gotten gains, your main client is well aware of the “issues” with these cases and doesn’t give a damn he just wants money & to hide that money from the other suckers who invested in the film.
Maybe you all can get a room at the same club fed and start a baseball team… ohhhh better not, you idiots keep striking out.
As I am want to do because I’m a sociopath tired of you idiots…
The real master of puppets has been Patrick Achache and his outsourcing company New Alchemy. He has has created the shell companies such as USCG, APMC and etc. Those shell companies then sign a contract with the film corporations which allows the shell companies to sue for them. In each jurisdiction they litigate, a lawyer or law firm also signs the contract that allows them to get a percentage of the money earned. New Alchemy also helps by outsourcing court documents (form declarations, complaints and etc.) and get their share of the money through the shell companies. The rest of the money goes to the film corporations.
Interesting fact though, those lawyers / law firms are also on the hook for paying out damages to the defense (such as 100K in Elf-Man). That’s why Mr. ‘Lowe-life’ insta-dismisses any defendant that puts up a fight. He doesn’t want the troll boogeyman Chris Lynch burning anymore holes into his pocket.
If this declaration does get attention from the FBI or whoever, these trolls will be scrambling to hide the money. The need to look at whatever bank accounts are connected to both Guardaley and New Alchemy. I suspect there’s wire fraud / money laundering on a massive scale going on. Patrick Achache aka “man in background” needs his curtained pulled down, be thrown in jail and have his money seized so this global trolling racket can come to an end.
Doe72, one quibble: There’s *TWO* entities Dallas Buyer’s Club, and the original filmmakers have gone to court asking the distributors where their money is and why they are suing folks.
Hollywood accounting means it’s not the filmmakers themselves that get paid, nor the corporations, it’s the money men called “execs”, typically studio execs. There are several lawsuits out there concerning how blockbuster movie production corporations make no money on paper.
There is a single point to connect most of the films to…
Nicolas Chartier, Studio exec! lol
So where is this Patrick Achache guy from? Is he a US citizen or is he some guy hiding in foreign countries while he manipulates and extracts US citizens money via the court system?
Look at the APMC Presentation (https://fightcopyrighttrolls.com/2014/04/21/devils-cookbook-guardaleys-presentation/).
Patrick Achache was originally from Germany, but moved to Switzerland to work for Logistep AG (Anti-Piracy company). While he worked there, he created Guardaley with Ben Perino. He then left Logistep AG and was directly involved with Guardaley for a couple years. That’s until he was sued by Logistep AG and a German Law Firm.
He then moved to the Philippines to create New Alchemy Ltd. And of course he created companies like APMC in many countries around the world. So, yes, he now hides in the Philippines and uses his troll network to extract extortion settlements from U.S. citizens and other citizens around the world.
I read Hricik’s declaration about the “private investigator” statue, and I have to say that I think the internet isn’t part of the imagination of the folks writing the statute, or even Hricik — in particular, if I go spy on someone “in Washington” using the internet, and then take the results to court, do I need a license? If I make a business of it? Why should where I physically sit make a difference? The question gets more complicated if I target someone “in Washington” for consumer fraud (say, involving the sale of a famous bridge, working from Nigeria) and ask if Washington law applies. There’s a similar case at the supreme court right now, involving the Stored Communications Act and Microsoft and e-mail stored in Ireland that the US wants a look at.
There’s also plenty of additional reason to think that the issue of German “investigators” without licenses is highly material and potentially adverse, given the general difficulties with their availability, and therefore a required disclosure in an ex parte proceeding.
So basically David Lowe actually has no distinctive difference from Prenda law? David Lowe claims in the defense of his predatory actions that he is distinctively different then Prenda law Seems to me this lawyer Christopher Lynch is saying they are using fictitious characters as witness in foreign countries. If you look at the writings of these fictitious characters they often verbatim switch/share writings with each other that they then claim as their own. Am i right in this assessment or am I missing more of the picture? One might easily see past this but the fact that Lowe dropped every single one of Lynches 11 clients based on a letter alone detailing this, Lynchs claims must have a high degree of credibility. Has anyone actually called the local and national FBI office to report these findings to them yet?
You would think at some point the judges would wise up and realize this Lowe guy and a few like him are legit predators of society. The guy Lowe is legit colluding and being bought off by foreign interests as a tool to insert into the American legal system and use it to steal money from Americans to send overseas. The guy Lowe is worth about as much as a pile of dog shit if you ask me. I cant believe no lawyer has exposed Lowe yet, even paid lawyers defending clients from him. Makes you realize 95% of lawyers and their profession is a pile of bullshit, no representation even from paid/retained lawyers in 98% of these cases. You start to examine the situation and the legal case history, it becomes disheartening to think the judges allow this to continue…..or at the least (and the most embarrassing scenario), the judges are not actually smart enough to realize what’s actually happening. The judges are being used as manipulation tools and either don’t care or cant catch on to whats happening. It’s a double black eye to the federal courts and to the men/women presiding over them. These foreign company’s that enact this stuff and rake in the dough for it must think the courts, the judges, and the citizens involved in all this foreign robbery must be the straight up stupidest motherfuckers walking the face of earth. It is literally a foreign company stealing American money. This pussy david lowe and all his con man brothren would bend over and take it double penetration right up the ass for these foreign companies, just for the hope of a chance to get a small percent of mass theft operation. Lowes support of foreign theft makes it hard for me to consider him American, same with the judges that likely realize his scam and intentionally turn a blind eye. Makes you question how much the Federal court judges cares about America or its citizens. How much does it take for foreign interest to buy out the court system? This information makes it appear it cost $450 per 15 American citizens (paid to the federal court house) to sell out this country and its people……not my theory, simply based upon the statistics of these cases. The judges are happy to just sit back and collect their $450 filing fee to allow 15 Americans at a time get ripped off at 5K + a piece by some foreign con artists. No American and constitutional loyalty coming out of these Federal court rooms in these cases. Lowe and his brethren suck off foreigners for a small cut and the judges suck off lowe for an even smaller cut, at $450 per 15 scam victims. Nothing but corruption abound in these situations. God bless Lynch for being the only guy involved in these things to have the spine to sand up and put his fists down and raise a flag….in this case he didn’t even have a client or interest involved, what a stand up guy, I respect Lynch and his actions.
It has been many Judges’ policy to rubber stamp the trolls’ Ex Parte motions. Either because they lack technical prowess or are just lazy. If you think $450 for 15 people is bad, imagine $300 for THOUSANDS of people and those fuckers wouldn’t even pay the ISPs to retrieve subscriber info back then too! Of course these cases in the U.S. became out of control and Judges quickly learned not to let them do it (courtrooms normally only hold up to a couple hundred people and EVERY ONE of those does was entitled to their day in court, not to mention the potential nightmarish docket). So they downscaled to hundreds then tens and finally many Judges now reject joinder and sever all but one doe.
They can still sue by the thousands in countries like Sweden, though. Those Judges are on another level of corruption and/or incompetence. They can also have the police confiscate computers in places like Poland just because of their BS typed up charts of alleged infringements. Imagine having your house raided just because some fucking random unqualified German guy said you downloaded some shit.
And Chris Lynch is not alone in this fight against the trolls. Just as the trolls have their Rights Enforcement, Lynch has a group of IP lawyers fed up with these douchebag troll lawyers and their BS cases. Lynch’s fever probably comes exactly from that, as he was insulted by these second rate lawyers in the past. Keep in mind, he’s a law professor that has been teaching Intellectual Property for over 20 years. Lowe has been running ever since the Elf-Man vs Lamberson case and keeps getting bitch slapped harder every time he stands his ground (as shown in this article).
Only thing is though, the owners of the actual copyrights of these Bittorrent cases are stepping in to hire actual IP lawyers for damage control relating to the mess caused by the APMC hired troll attorneys. Let’s hope that will not save the trolls and they will go down for good.
Whats Hilarious is that Lowe told the judge that the original letters he dropped all of Lynches clients from are nothing more then hearsay and cant be trusted because they are not on the courts official docket recording. Lowe actually claimed to the judge that he seeks and wanted the opportunity to dispose Lynch to dispel all the supposed lies and none sense in the original Lynch letters. Lowe the low-coward had 11 opportunities to confront and dispose Lynch….he tucked tail and ran every single time. Though he ran everytime he writes in official recorded court document that he sought to dispose Lynch……the guy is full of complete shit, Lowe the low-coward is his real name. I almost guarantee thats exactly why Lynch wrote to the court. Lowe the low-coward called Lynch out by name not expecting him to show up to protect his name and reputation. Well guess what low-coward Lowe? Lynch showed up and it appears the low-coward Lowe royally shot himself in the foot and fucked himself over. I cant wait to see the dumb-ass reply the low-coward Lowe comes up with to answer to Lynch’s accusations and letter to the court. It seems low Lowe might have made a little dough form the foreign investors he sucks off constantly but he actually appears to be a pretty big dumb-ass. The one judge has threathened to make him repay past winnings. I suspect and hope low Lowe will have to foot that bill rather then the foreign scam artists he bends over for. Who could even work for this guys office and maintain one shred of dignity or moral fiber going home from work every day knowing what their mission is.
This guy is a straight predator to society. He cant even use legit witnesses. His witness are fake and he hides this by claiming they are in foreign countries 24/7/365.
Why haven’t any defendants asked for class status and filed a claim against these plaintiffs? Is there not a case strong enough to do this? Or is it too high of a risk?
I guess that was the benefit/detriment of making individual lawsuits. One judge saw this was BS and split up $750 among 20 defendants. Another judge since alleged downloads occur at different times and said you have to sue individually, never thinking the film co. would be willing to foot $8,000 expense for 20 individual suits. Since that time, the strategy has evolved where the plaintiff tries to break each individual defendant rather than a bundle.
So it appears Lowe is legit guilty of fraud or an accomplice to it. It seems highly possible to me this guy may one day be shelling out all the money he stole from innocent victims to pay his protection and commissary bill for the entire cell block. You always got to ask every one once they make it to the inside of prison “was the money worth it?”. I have a gut feeling that Lowe wouldnt do to well in prison without shelling out cash and free commissary for everyone, his overseas friends and bank accounts wont be hiding his money from the inmates on cell block 6.
It appears these documents have been sealed by the court. I searched PACER high and low for this statement by Christopher Lynch, its not in the spot as the time stamp on the court documents you listed. Can anyone clairify this for me and let me know if you cant find this document in PACER either? It appears Lowe had these documents sealed somehow.
1. No, it is not sealed, never was: it is available on PACER right here. If you have a PACER account, you can pay $3.00 and buy it. Which does not make sense because
2. It was already paid for, recapped and linked/embedded in this blog post.
3. Lynch’s declaration was filed in at least two cases, the Strike 3 one linked above and WAWD Venice 2:17-cv-01403 (Doc 45-1).
I found it through your “right here” link. I do have PACER and RECAP. I have pulled up the declaration in the past. I still right now can not find it by looking up these cases on PACER though. I looked for the exact case and document time stamped by the court in the document you posted “17-cv-01731”. And just now I looked up the 17-cv-01403 you just mentioned. In neither case does it pull up the letter from Lynch, under both these cases that DKT number is from other defendants or their attorneys. I can find Lowes response to the order to show cause under all these cases but PACER is not pulling up Lynchs letter. Try through PACER and see what you get. Any help or clarification is appreciated.
That “right here” feature is really nice though, thank you for that. I bought it like a retard just to make sure its legit, even though my RECAP offered it for free. I dont get or understand how I can get the document through that but still cant find it in PACER search though I have case and DKT number. I guess if nothing else I can come back here to examine it if needed. Thanks for all your hard work, your resources have been of enormous help to me. Ive locked horns with Lowe, he hates this website, he will try to dispose you and ask you if you go to this website thinking that proves anything to help his no evidence garbage cases, the guy is a soft talking crook.
Thank you for your kind words.
I’m not sure I clearly understand what you mean by “can’t find.” If you are talking about that you can’t find a declaration or a motion on PACER by the name in the caption/declarant/movant than it’s a feature-bug, not a bug-bug: PACER is so outdated/rigid that you cannot search documents this way. It would be great if I entered “Darren Griffin” and find all the forged declarations. Alas, it is not the case. So, the only way is to browse the docket.
Also, while searching for a docket by the case number is also rigid: some judges and attorneys omit leading zeroes in the case number while PACER search requires the exact format where the number has 5 digits. So, 17-cv-1403 won’t work, while 17-cv-01403 will.
What I am saying is this. If you go to PACER under Western District of Washington, type in 17-cv-01731 just as it is shown in the shared document above, you will not find this information under the case, it is the same case under judge TSZ, yet this information is not in that case any longer. Go try it for yourself in PACER.
The latest response to the motion to compel is full of garbage, making me wonder if Edmo Law is simply going to sit tight and let Judge Zilly explode on his own with the gamesmanship.
” The Court has yet to determine the sufficiency of Defendant’s Amended Counterclaim, nor has Defendant even answered.”, then goes on to say since they dismissed, the counterclaims (which aren’t offensive, and they have moved are legally insufficient) are moot. They then go on to claim discovery was premature because a new 26(f) conference was ordered.
I vote Zilly doesn’t *quite* compel, but sets a deadline nonetheless.
I know I have to write a post — even a short one — about that epic battle.
Bandlow is fucked IMO. He is not even as smart as Steele.
I love when you write posts. I beat Lowe but I still like to follow. Would love to see the guy get embarrassed some more. I watched Lowe at his appeal get torn up but the judges. You would think Lowe must have got smacked in the head with a 2×4 before walking into that appeal hearing, or else he just really is that stupid. I’m no lawyer but it seems his own appeal set up his own future loss of torrent income.
Pingbacks & Trackbacks