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houstonlawy3r:

I am horrified by reading Sophisticated Jane Doe (SJD)’s story about the Copyright Law Enforcement Agency. Quite frankly, I was already of the opinion that some of the copyright trolls needed to be disbarred and some needed some jail time for the fraudulent activities they appear to have taken part in, and this was when they were filing CIVIL COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT lawsuits in federal court. Reading this story, I am offended by the activities of this group, and no doubt the FBI and other law enforcement agencies will take note of their actions. In my opinion, this kind of activity raises to the levels of Ransomware and other flat-out illegal activities, and I have no doubt they will be shut down by law enforcement agencies just as fast as I am typing this comment.

For these reasons, I am not writing my own separate article on this topic, but I am merely re-posting SJD’s article below.

Originally posted on Fight Copyright Trolls:

2/22/2013 Update: this fraud is seemingly grounded shortly after it took off (scroll to the bottom of the post).

Over the last couple of days, I started receiving disturbing reports about a new copyright extortion outfit, “Internet Copyright Law Enforcement Agency.” The con artists behind this “company” have been mass-sending demand letters threatening that those who won’t pay $495 by a certain date, “will be fingerprinted, photographed, and held in jail until you are arraigned in court.”

Internet Copyright Law Enforcement Agency

 

According to confidential reports, the IP addresses and file titles (this scam deals with music, not films) are not made-up (to the extent of the reliability of collection methods, of course). Therefore, either the crooks indeed work with an IP monitoring company or use home-brewed methods (can be as simple as running an out-of-box Bittorent client and analyzing logs). Collusion between former owners of the file sharing sites and…

View original 1,739 more words

This is a rather tricky article to write, especially since I am setting some copyright trolls apart from others, and I am unsure whether this is a good idea or not.

It is my opinion that the “Six Strikes” System which has recently gone into effect will ultimately kill Copyright Enforcement Group’s (CEG-TEK)’s “CopyrightSettlements.com” settlement system. In short, their selling point of attracting new copyright holders (the production companies) with the promise of big profits through volume settlements (from you, the internet users) by the sending of DMCA scare letters directly to internet subscribers via their ISPs will fail. I am concerned that the production companies / copyright holders might decide to start once again suing defendants in copyright infringement lawsuits.

Copyright trolls take two forms — the “copyright troll” lawyer, and the production company who embraces the concept of extorting settlements from so-called “infringers” rather than selling their copyrighted product on the marketplace.  There is one entity often missing from our blog’s focus on lawyers and their clients — the “IP enforcement company” (“IP” = intellectual property) who is working behind the scenes to 1) acquire clients for their firm, 2) track the peer-to-peer / bittorrent downloads and torrent swarms, 3) hire and maintain one or more attorneys capable of suing, and 4) converting their tracking efforts into CASH [in terms of $$$ settlements from accused downloaders].

This explains why whether you are sued by Patrick Collins, K-Beech, or Malibu Media, you’ll be contacted by someone on the Lipscomb & Eisenberg law firm’s collection team. Similarly, if the production company is Digital Sin, Zero Tolerance, Girls Gone Wild, etc., then your IP enforcement company is the Copyright Enforcement Group (CEG-TEK) and you will be sent DMCA letters suggesting that you settle their claims against you or else they may sue you (so far, this has not been the rule, but the exception). Yet, if your plaintiff is AF Holdings, Hard Drive Productions, Openmind Solutions, or any of the others connected with Prenda Law Inc. or the new Anti-Piracy Law Group, your IP enforcement company is one of John Steele’s entities. In other words, every copyright troll plaintiff is a client of a particular IP enforcement company, and that IP enforcement company has one or more lawyers on their team (or more often then not, as with John Steele and Ira Siegel — very different entities) — the lawyers themselves appear to own an ownership interest in the IP enforcement companies they run and work on behalf of.

It is my understanding that an enterprising attorney (or members of his IP enforcement company’s sales team) will often attend annual pornography conventions, and they will rub shoulders with production companies who end up being the copyright holders in these lawsuits.

The traditional IP enforcement companies (Lipscomb, Steele, etc.) will tell them, “I am aware of your company’s piracy problem, and I have a solution. Look at all our data as to the piracy of your videos.  Our team of experts can track the piracy of your copyrighted content, and our team of “expert” lawyers will sue defendants on your behalf. Instead of defending themselves, the accused internet user will be shamed with a lawsuit and will settle with us for thousands of dollars (average asking price: $3,400), we’ll take our commission, and we’ll both be millionaires. And, we’ll cut down on piracy in the process.

CEG-TEK (the Copyright Enforcement Group) and Ira Siegel has a different approach, and I believe the Six Strikes System will be the achilles heel of their “out-of-court pre-lawsuit settlement” approach.

The Copyright Enforcement Group was essentially formed because Ira Siegel didn’t like the idea of suing defendants and having all of his settlement activities monitored by a federal judge who can ask him uncomfortable questions about his activities. Rather, he has been paying ISPs to send out “DMCA” settlement letters (invoking and in my opinion, misusing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) in order to scare defendants into settling cases before they are filed in federal court. Settlements average $200 per accused title, but I have seen a few $500 per-title settlements as well.

It is my understanding that the way CEG-TEK acquires new clients — their “unique selling proposition,” if you will — is that they tell production companies, “we can track and sue the downloaders if we want — we have attorneys in a number of states who can sue defendants, and possibly get a $3,400 settlement from a few of them [once in a while]. However, if you come on board with us, we will send DMCA settlement letters out to the internet user directly via his ISP, and that letter will point them to our Copyright Settlements (www.copyrightsettlements.com) website where they can enter their unique username and password and privately pay their settlement fee. The settlement fee will be $200 and not $3,400, but the quantity of users who will pay us our small fee and move on will be significantly higher than those who will settle a federal copyright infringement lawsuit. We’ll all make millions!”

The reason I think CEG-TEK’s business model of sending DMCA letters will ultimately fail is because the Six Strikes System has undermined CEG-TEK’s abilities to contact so many internet users. In short, instead of sending the DMCA letters directly to the ISP subscribers as Charter and a number of smaller ISPs do, the big ISPs have banded together and formed something called the “Six Strikes System” which essentially gives six warnings to their subscribers before giving copyright holders access to their subscriber’s contact information for the purposes of suing for copyright infringement or sending DMCA threat letters as CEG-TEK does every day.

In other words, anyone who has Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, etc. as their ISP will no longer receive CEG-TEK’s DMCA letters. Instead, they receive a notice such as “we have received a complaint of copyright infringement from your account; stop this activity.” But with ISP members of the Six Strikes Program, CEG-TEK’s DMCA LETTERS ARE NO LONGER FORWARDED OVER TO THE SUBSCRIBERS! What this means is that let’s say 75% of the market share of internet users (I’m using this number merely as a hypothetical) will no longer go online and settle CEG-TEK’s claims against them. Or in other words, the http://www.CopyrightSettlements.com website as of a week or so ago [the plan went into effect roughly a week or so ago] will have experienced a 75% drop in settlements.

Knowing the production companies who signed on with CEG-TEK with the sole purpose of making millions in settlements from these DMCA letters, I suspect that they are starting to get upset and impatient because CEG-TEK’s promise of directing would-be defendants to their website is no longer the money-making machine they thought it would be. As a result, I am concerned that the production companies who signed on with CEG-TEK might start opt for suing defendants once again en masse.

PERSONAL NOTE: I obviously don’t want to scare anyone because I am very far from screaming “the sky is falling.” We have been defending clients in countless cases filed in federal courts across the U.S., and in recent months, there has been a clear change in the level of education of the judges and their feelings towards “copyright troll” plaintiffs. Possibly with the help of our POLICY LETTER (or simply our phone calls and faxes to a judge’s chambers when one is assigned to a copyright infringement case).  Judges are now educated as to the copyright trolling problem, and it is much more difficult to go after defendants because our collective arguments (such as, “an IP address is not a person,” and “just because you can prove an IP address snapshot was involved in a download does not mean that copyright infringement occurred,” etc.) are starting to take plant themselves deeply in the federal court system. In other words, if they start suing, we are very prepared, and they are almost a year-and-a-half behind.

Many things just happened in the Central District of California which no doubt will affect many (if not all of the Ingenuity 13 LLC cases, along with all of the Guava cases, and the AF Holdings LLC) cases. In short, California is no longer a troll-friendly place to sue defendants for copyright infringement.

Looking at Judge Otis Wright’s order yesterday in the Ingenuity 13 LLC v. John Doe (Case No. 2:12-cv-08333) case in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, we learn many new things about “the law of bittorrent use.” I’ll go over these in separate headers.

RULE 1. IN ORDER TO SUE A DEFENDANT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT, YOU MUST PROVE THAT THE DEFENDANT DOWNLOADED THE ENTIRE COPYRIGHTED VIDEO.

I’ve always dumbed copyright infringement down into two elements: 1) “Access” to the copyrighted file, and 2) “SUBSTANTIAL SIMILARITY” to the copyrighted work.

Here according to the judge, a plaintiff catching a downloader in the act of downloading a file is no evidence that the file was actually downloaded. According to yesterday’s ruling, even a downloader downloading a viewable portion (e.g., a few second snippet of a copyrighted video) would still NOT be guilty of copyright infringement until the amount of the file downloaded rises to a “substantial similarity” to the original copyrighted work. In traditional copyright law, this means that copyright infringement happens when the downloaded file becomes substantially a “copy” of the entire original work.

Us lawyers have been bouncing around ideas as to what we think a judge might rule constitutes copyright infringement with regard to internet downloading and bittorrent use, and so we have been playing with the possibility that maybe having a viewable portion of the file downloaded might be sufficient, but NO. Sticking to black-and-white copyright law, the “substantial similarity” element applies in copyright law to bittorrent downloads as well (at least now in California federal courts), and according to this ruling, a plaintiff needs to demonstrate that the entire copyrighted video (not a fragment, a snippet, or a snapshot) was downloaded. This would absolve roughly 99% of accused downloaders across the U.S. who started to download a file, decided not to complete the download, and who got sued anyway.

RULE 2. A “SNAPSHOT OBSERVATION” OF AN IP ADDRESS ENGAGED IN DOWNLOADING AT THAT MOMENT IS INSUFFICIENT PROOF OF COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

Here, all the evidence a copyright troll plaintiff has on a suspected defendant is that at a particular date and time (a “timestamp”), that particular IP address was engaged in the downloading of a particular copyrighted file.

Here, a “snapshot” of an IP address correlated with evidence from the subscriber’s internet service provider (“ISP”) [that it was the subscriber who was leased that IP address during the date and time the alleged activity took place] is insufficient proof that the download actually took place. The defendant could have merely entered the swarm and could be in queue to download his first byte of data. The defendant could be 10% done with the download and could have in his possession an unviewable fragment of the copyrighted video — hardly enough to rise to the level of “SUBSTANTIAL SIMILARITY” that is required in order to find a defendant guilty of copyright infringement. And, yet at the same time, that same snapshot could refer to a defendant having a download which is 99% complete.  A snapshot of an IP address in a bittorrent swarm is simply not conclusive that the downloader infringed the copyright.

The analogy the judge gives is taking a “snapshot” of a child reaching for a candy bar. In order to find someone guilty of copyright infringement, a plaintiff needs to prove that it is “more likely than not” that activity rising to the level of copyright infringement occurred. A snapshot places the defendant at the “scene of the crime.” It does not convict him for the unlawful act itself, and usually this is all the evidence a plaintiff copyright troll compiles when tracking a bittorrent swarm.

RULE 3. BEFORE SUING A DEFENDANT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT, YOU MUST DO A “REASONABLE INVESTIGATION” TO DETERMINE THAT IT WAS THE NAMED DEFENDANT WHO DID THE DOWNLOAD, AND NOT SOMEONE ELSE WITH ACCESS TO HIS INTERNET CONNECTION.

We have known for a while that the Prenda Law Inc. model of naming defendants is 1) find out who lives in the household, 2) name the prepubescent male member of the family as the defendant. I am sad to say that the Malibu Media, LLC and the Lipscomb cases appear to be following the same trend with their exculpatory letter “scare” strategy.  I am very happy to see a judge object to this tactic.

I want to point out that EVERY LAWSUIT ACROSS THE U.S. where the copyright troll (plaintiff) has named the ISP subscriber as the defendant with no further investigation suffers from this same flaw. We have been saying for months that being an ISP subscriber (and coincidentally the one implicated as the defendant in these cases) does not mean that you were the one who did the download (nor were you responsible for all activities that took place on your internet connection).

The judge described steps a plaintiff could take to rule out the possibility that it was not someone other than the defendant who did the download. For example, the plaintiff could drive up to the defendant’s house and see if there is wireless access (to eliminate the defense that it was a neighbor); they could track multiple instances of downloading and correlate them with times and dates the defendant was home; etc. etc. etc.

There is so much more on this topic that I could discuss that in my opinion could kill every copyright troll lawsuit out there. In sum, merely citing that an IP address assigned to the alleged infringer was engaged in an unlawful act does not mean that it was the ISP subscriber (the one paying the bills) who was engaged in that unlawful act. Failing to take that extra step of “putting the ISP subscriber at the keyboard at the time of the download” (or offering evidence to prove that it was the ISP subscriber himself who did the download, and not a neighbor or someone else in his household) would be fatal to any lawsuit.

IN SUM, this was a great decision, and I look forward to it being adopted by federal courts across the country. But, before everyone starts calling and assuming that this is “the law,” I want to point out that in 99% of the states across the U.S., what exactly constitutes copyright infringement when it comes to internet downloading via peer-to-peer networks is still largely undefined.

As of yesterday, this order is now considered “the law” or more accurately “case law” which is binding in the California federal courts. However, as to the federal courts of other states, this ruling is merely “persuasive” (which effectively means “suggestive”). A judge of any other state can read this ruling and agree, or disagree. Obviously my hope is that judges in other states will read this opinion and adopt the ruling in their own cases, but it is not “the law” until 1) Congress passes a statute which the Senate ratifies, and the President signs it into law, or 2) judges in each state rule in accordance with this opinion, making this “case law” one state at a time.

For more on this topic, Sophisticated Jane Doe wrote a great write-up on this case in her “Judge Otis Wright is fed up with Brett Gibbs’ and Prenda’s frauds, hints at incarceration” article. Anyone associated with the AF Holdings, LLC cases (or any of the others filed by Prenda Law Inc. [or their new "Anti-Piracy Law Group" entity]) should take notice of this ruling, and should file in their own cases what is known as a “JUDICIAL NOTICE” informing each judge of this order.

Lastly, no doubt Brett Gibbs might be in some serious legal trouble, and he might even face jail time for his actions in these cases for fraud upon the court. But, I hope the court recognizes that Brett Gibbs (as destructive as he has been to thousands of families over the past 2+ years) is merely local counsel to the larger “Prenda Law Inc.” entity who is run by players such as John Steele and his partners in his former Steele|Hansmeier PLLC firm.

houstonlawy3r:

I am posting the following article entitled “Lipscomb Fishing Co., or “Exculpatory Evidence Request” to my website because many individuals are sending me inquiries and e-mails which in my opinion this article answers wonderfully. In short, with any of Lipscomb’s lawsuits, you do need a lawyer. However, to allay some of your fears with regard to the so-called “exculpatory evidence requests” that you are receiving, I think this article will be helpful. Obviously not legal advice.

Originally posted on DieTrollDie:

KLFC128 Feb 13 – Update

I have been getting a few request for ideas on how to respond to the exculpatory evidence request letters lately.  As previously stated, there is NO legal requirement to reply to the request.

Saying that, I’m of the opinion it could be good to respond on your own terms.  As I have previously cautioned everyone – don’t make any false statements if you do respond.  Also do not provide the Troll any of the information he is asking for.  The type of response I’m suggesting is an adapted Richard Pryor Response.  Take a look at the example and tell me what you think.  If you decide to make such a response, please edit the letter to fit your situation.  So if you have a Linux OS that comes with BitTorrent installed, please remove that corresponding part from the letter.    DearTroll

DieTrollDie :)

————————————–

Keith…

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The Divide - New Copyright TrollsThe first time I wrote about R & D Film 1, LLC was in July, 2012 (see,”‘The Divide’ — Copyrighted Bait, New Copyright Trolls“).  In that article, R&D Film 1, LLC was suing John Doe Defendants for the alleged download of their “C-RATED” movie, “The Divide” (my version of the image is above indicating that a copyright troll was overseeing the production of the film). After six months of collecting settlements from accused defendants, it appears as if they are at it again suing new defendants, and this time, they are doing it using local counsel Richard Symmes.

If you don’t remember my post about Richard Symmes (see, “More and More Trolls“).  Richard is the one who filed six (6) lawsuits against a total of 330 defendants on behalf of Kintop Pictures, Inc. The funny about the Kintop Pictures cases is that without explanation, Symmes dismissed ALL OF THE CASES. We at the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC thought his law firm had grown a conscience and that they came to the understanding that suing individual defendants for the download of their client’s flick was immoral. I guess we were the ones who were naive. Here are his new lawsuits:

CASES FILED BY RICHARD SYMMES IN THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON:
R & D Film 1 LLC v. Does 1-46 (Case No. 2:13-cv-00050)
R & D Film 1 LLC v. Does 1-45 (Case No. 2:13-cv-00051)
R & D Film 1 LLC v. Does 1-41 (Case No. 2:13-cv-00052)
R & D Film 1 LLC v. Does 1-22 (Case No. 2:13-cv-00053)
R & D Film 1 LLC v. Does 1-51 (Case No. 2:13-cv-00054)
R & D Film 1 LLC v. Does 1-50 (Case No. 2:13-cv-00055)
R & D Film 1 LLC v. Does 1-44 (Case No. 2:13-cv-00056)
R & D Film 1 LLC v. Does 1-16 (Case No. 2:13-cv-00057)

In total, on January 8th, 2013, Richard Symmes sued a total of 315 John Doe Defendants, all apparently living in Washington.

What annoys me about the R & D Film 1, LLC lawsuits is that they have been suing defendants for SIX MONTHS NOW for the SAME MOVIE. In each of their new lawsuits, they specifically state the specific title of bittorrent file was allegedly downloaded. If they have had SIX MONTHS to ponder the so-called “piracy” of the films, don’t you think they had enough time to send at least one DMCA “takedown” notice to the bittorrent website(s) who are hosting these same torrent files? Or, do you think that they are LOVING this “sue my customer” strategy? Quite frankly, a judge should have them show proof that they have taken steps to police their copyrights by filing the DMCA “takedown” letters with the websites hosting the torrents containing the pirated content, and if they cannot offer this proof, in my opinion, the judge should dismiss the case.

“By the way, if you are downloading “The Divide” on bittorrent and you can see those seeding the files to you in your bittorrent swarm, tell R & D Film 1, LLC that I say hello.”

URGENT UPDATE: Bait Productions apparently did not like having all of their cases consolidated into one case, so they decided to file their own individual cases against named defendants. In the past two days, they have named 9+ defendants. Will they name all 1,536?

Here are a list of defendants named in the past 48 hours:
Bait Productions Pty Ltd. v. Langston M.
Bait Productions Pty Ltd. v. Brad C.
Bait Productions Pty Ltd. v. Steven F.
Bait Productions Pty Ltd. v. Peggy B.
Bait Productions Pty Ltd. v. Charlene V.
Bait Productions Pty Ltd. v. Ana V.
Bait Productions Pty Ltd. v. Francisco V.
Bait Productions Pty Ltd. v. Steve W.
Bait Productions Pty Ltd. v. Ruxter L.
Bait Productions Pty Ltd. v. Doe 1

Now obviously, it is apparent that they are immediately suing and naming defendants from their original 25+ cases AS SOON AS THEY RECEIVE THE NAMES OF THE ALLEGED DOWNLOADERS FROM THE ISPs. What is concerning to me is that I know that a number of ISP deadlines were right around the corner, maybe even yesterday or today. For this reason, if you were implicated in any of the Bait Productions lawsuits, then contact an attorney ASAP (it doesn’t matter if it is me or anyone else).  I certainly have a lot to say about your next steps, what your options are (e.g., whether or not to file a motion to quash, etc.), and regardless of what path you choose to take (whether you retain our firm or not), what the expected result would be and the likelihood of each result.

I hate to sound like I’m asking people to call me, but quite frankly, Bait Productions’ actions of turning around and immediately naming defendants changes the game, and I cannot rely on slowly writing blog articles about their cases and waiting for accused defendants to figure out what is going on and educate themselves because maybe many months later what I write about might become relevant to them. This is happening TODAY.

As far as appointments go, when you contact me, you’ll immediately notice that there are not a lot of appointment time slots available. Just e-mail me, and let me know what date your ISP will be handing out your information, and I will prioritize my calls to you based on who’s information is going out soonest.

FYI, below is [for now, an incomplete] list of Bait Productions’ lawsuits before the consolidation:

The consolidated Bait Productions Pty Ltd. case can be found in the Florida Middle District Court under case 6:12-cv-01779.  It applies to the following cases:

Bait Productions Pty Ltd. v. Does 1-81 (6:12-cv-01779)
Bait Productions Pty Ltd. v. Does 1-96 (6:12-cv-01780)
Bait Productions Pty Ltd. v. Does 1-40 (5:12-cv-00644)
Bait Productions Pty Ltd. v. Does 1-36 (5:12-cv-00645)
Bait Productions Pty Ltd. v. Does 1-82 (8:12-cv-02643)
Bait Productions Pty. Ltd. v. Does 1-95 (8:12-cv-02642)
Bait Productions Pty. Ltd. v. John Does 1-26 (2:12-cv-00628)
Bait Productions Pty. Ltd. v. Does 1-78 (3:12-cv-01274)
Bait Productions Pty. Ltd. v. Does 1-44 (2:12-cv-00629)
Bait Productions Pty. Ltd. v. Does 1-71 (3:12-cv-01252)
Bait Productions Pty. Ltd. v. Does 1-31 (6:12-cv-01721)
Bait Productions Pty. Ltd. v. Does 1-73 (8:12-cv-02554)
Bait Productions Pty. Ltd. v. Does 1-41 (8:12-cv-02555)
Bait Productions Pty. Ltd. v. Does 1-52 (8:12-cv-02556)
Bait Productions Pty. Ltd. v. Does 1-66 (3:12-cv-01204)
Bait Productions Pty. Ltd. v. Does 1-73 (6:12-cv-01637)
Bait Productions Pty. Ltd. v. Does 1-42 (3:12-cv-01205)
Bait Productions Pty Ltd. v. Does 1-70 (8:12-cv-02466)
Bait Productions Pty Ltd. v. Does 1-54 (8:12-cv-02468)
Bait Productions Pty. Ltd. v. Does 1-72 (8:12-cv-02470)
Bait Productions Pty. Ltd. v. Does 1-36 (8:12-cv-02464)

[NOTE TO READERS: I AM POSTING THIS AS IS, AND I SUGGEST THAT SJD & DTD ALSO PUBLICIZE WHAT HAS HAPPENED. I WILL UPDATE THE BLOG AS THINGS HAPPEN.]

As a follow-up to the “Sunshine State: No longer a “Happy” place for copyright trolls” article I wrote on Tuesday, I was surprised to see that one of Dunlap Weaver, PLLC’s cases — this one having 3,932 John Doe Defendants — survived UNSCATHED. It blows my mind that this case is still alive!

Nu Image, Inc. v. Does 1-3,932 (Case No. 2:11-cv-00545) in the Middle District of Florida was filed back in September, 2011, and our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC has been tracking the case since its inception. Jeffrey Weaver of Dunlap Grubb & Weaver, PLLC (“DGW”) filed this lawsuit after his lead attorney, Nicholas Kurtz left the firm to do who-knows-what.  Having a copyright troll / mass bittorrent extortion outfit with no lead attorney to fight the cases must have been a disaster for the firm, and so DGW partner Jeffrey Weaver took the case.

Now, over two years and 293 docket entries later (yes, watching this docket will max out your PACER payment every time you load the page), the case hangs in limbo.  On December 26th, 2012, Judge Sheri Polster Chappell denied Nu Image, Inc. more time to name and serve defendants.  We would think this would be the death nail for the case, but for some reason, the judge has not yet dismissed it.  (I can only assume this means that she is giving Weaver one last chance to prove that he is not a copyright troll, meaning that he actually has an interest in protecting his client Nu Image’s interests and going after the accused defendants.)  I have seen this firm name defendants before (even out of spite or vengeance when a certain attorney insulted them publicly [no, that wasn't me that time]), so while I wouldn’t be surprised if they pull out an “Ace” and name hundreds of defendants, I really don’t think this will happen for the following reason:

DUNLAP WEAVER, PLLC is lacking local counsel across the country.  While many of us attorneys have been building our local counsel networks across the U.S. (both on the defense side and on the plaintiff copyright trolls’ side), this law firm appears to have been stagnant, perhaps suffering from a bad economy and a failed copyright trolling business model.  They were the first, the biggest, and the oldest copyright trolls, but when they fired a number of paralegals who [unbeknownst to the partners at Dunlap Grubb & Weaver, PLLC] were doing most of the “scare” work and settlement negotiations for them, and when their lead attorney jumped ship, I expect they received an unexpected dip in their settlement rates (more like a fall-off-a-cliff wake-up call).

As a result of lacking a significant local counsel network of attorneys, they cannot sue the 3,000+ defendants in their home states.  And, of the 3,000+ defendants, very few of them live in Florida.  Thus, they are no doubt experiencing some legal logistical issues.  This doesn’t mean that they cannot go after defendants.  It simply means that they haven’t gotten their act together to do so, and that they may never get organized in time to do so.

As a funny side note, I wanted to point out that “John Steele” is the U.S. District Judge for this case.  Not the same John Steele that we know from Prenda Law Inc., but another John Steele.

In sum, I am watching this case carefully because I would like to see it go bust like the others.  I am dumbfounded why this case wasn’t killed with the others.

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