I would think that when someone creates and copyrights a film, the purpose of creating that film is to attract viewers to purchase tickets to view that film either in the theaters, or by selling DVDs of that film.
It boggles my mind that more and more, I am seeing B-rated film companies release garbage films that nobody would watch, and instead of promoting their film to attract viewers, somehow those films are “leaked” onto the internet, only to see the production companies then sue internet users for $150K for each internet user who downloaded their films.
Earlier this week, my kids were watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on PBS, where Fred Rogers was quite a bit older than I remember him being when I was younger. To show them the “Mr. Rogers” I remembered, I searched around and found an older version where his hair was black and he was quite a bit younger. The video was obviously copyrighted, but it was also uploaded and online for all to see. Was I wrong for playing this video for my kids? Or, should I have contacted the Rogers’ Foundation and acquired a license to purchase a copy of this video [noting that there is likely nowhere to purchase this black-and-white video]?
My point is that the copyright laws as they apply to individuals needs to be changed. Production companies should make quality videos THAT SELL TICKETS (and DVDs) rather than trying to cash in on the end user that happened to view that video online without permission. As I mention in my policy letter to lawmakers, if a production company really wanted to police their own copyrights, they are already given a legal remedy, and that remedy is to file a DMCA takedown notice with the website owner — and the unlicensed (“pirated”) video is quickly and effectively taken down by the website owner, or else the website owner can be found liable for copyright infringement himself.
If the Rogers Foundation wanted to stop me and my kids from viewing a 1968 version of Mr. Rogers, then they could have easily sent a one-page takedown request to YouTube.com where that and many other similar videos are hosted. There is no reason for them to come after me, my kids, or any of the other thousand viewers, unless stopping “piracy” for copyright trolls is not the their real intent.
Back to the lawsuits and the new copyright trolls I am discussing in this article. One new copyright troll is Canal Street Films, Inc. (link) who is suing 117 John Doe Defendants in two lawsuits in Washington for the download of their “Scary or Die (2012)” horror film. The attorney suing is David Allen Lowe of Lowe Gram Jones, PLLC (link). The lawsuits are:
CASE FILED BY DAVID LOWE IN THE WASHINGTON EASTERN DISTRICT COURT:
Canal Street Films Inc v. Does 1 – 13 (Case No. 2:13-cv-03001)
CASE FILED BY DAVID LOWE IN THE WASHINGTON WESTERN DISTRICT COURT:
Canal Street Films, Inc. v. Does 1-104 (Case No. 2:13-cv-00007)
Also suing in the Washington Western District Court are new copyright trolls Kintop Pictures, Inc. and their attorney, Richard J. Symmes of the Frontier Law Group. It appears that each lawsuit was for the download of the title, “Tucker & Dale v. Evil (2010)” film (link). The strange thing about these six cases is that they were all filed at the same time in December 2012, and with ZERO explanation, just a few days ago, they were ALL DISMISSED. I wonder if this copyright troll or their attorney grew a conscience, or whether they just needed to get their copyright paperwork in order before they reared their ugly head and started suing defendants again. Nevertheless, because they sued internet users directly using the “bittorrent swarm joinder theory,” I am listing their cases in this site.
CASES FILED BY RICHARD SYMMES IN THE WASHINGTON WESTERN DISTRICT COURT:
Kintop Pictures v. Does 1-78 (Case No. 2:12-cv-02162) [DISMISSED]
Kintop Pictures v. Does 1-26 (Case No. 2:12-cv-02159) [DISMISSED]
Kintop Pictures v. Does 1-37 (Case No. 2:12-cv-02161) [DISMISSED]
Kintop Pictures v. Does 1-40 (Case No. 2:12-cv-02163) [DISMISSED]
Kintop Pictures v. Does 1-79 (Case No. 2:12-cv-02164) [DISMISSED]
Kintop Pictures v. Does 1-70 (Case No. 2:12-cv-02165) [DISMISSED]
Then in the Missouri Eastern District Court, Paul Lesko is still at it filing copyright infringement lawsuits on behalf of his new clients, PHE, Inc. and Purzel Video GMBH, both for the download of pornography titles. The lawsuits are:
CASES FILED BY PAUL LESKO IN THE MISSOURI EASTERN DISTRICT COURT:
Purzel Video GMBH v. Does 1-91 (Case No. 4:12-cv-02292)
PHE, Inc. v. Does 1-96 (Case No. 4:12-cv-02296)
On a side note, I hear that there was some controversy as to whether Lesko was pressured by the president of his alma mater to stop representing porn companies in copyright infringement actions, but apparently the attempts fell on deaf ears. On 12/11/2012, Lesko filed a lawsuit in the Missouri Eastern District Court on behalf of his new client, “Purzel Video GMBH” for the download of their porn video, “Chubby Teens 1.” Then on 12/12/2012, he filed another lawsuit on behalf of PHE, Inc. (the “Adam & Eve” adult sex toy company) for the download of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer XXX: A Parody.” I wrote about PHE, Inc. here in my “Nice try, PHE, Inc. – a failed copyright troll” article. In short, Lesko is still at it.
Lastly, in my own neck of the woods, I saw two cases filed against 400+ defendants by new copyright troll Studio West Productions, Inc. The lawsuit is for the download of the film, “In the Name of the King: Two Worlds (2011)” (link), and even though the copyright troll attorney is John W. Raggio of the Raggio Law Firm, P.C. in Dallas (5 hours away from the court), after some research, it occurred to me that Raggio is merely local counsel to Dunlap Grubb & Weaver, PLLC (now, Dunlap Weaver, PLLC). I am frankly surprised that they are still suing defendants, as they are one of the older copyright trolls out there, but they lost most of their litigation power when their attorney Nicholas Kurtz and a number of their paralegals left the firm after an internal shake-up early last year.
CASES FILED BY JOHN RAGGIO (A.K.A. DUNLAP WEAVER, PLLC) IN THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS:
Studio West Productions Inc. v. Does 1-237 (Case No. 4:12-cv-03690)
Studio West Productions Inc. v. Does 1-205 (Case No. 4:12-cv-03691)
All I have to say about these two cases is that they are in my back yard, so I will be happy to be there at the hearings and report things as they evolve.
As for all the other cases out there, I am still watching out for them, and if I see anything of interest, I will be happy to share what I find. Obviously if anyone has any updates or questions about these cases, you know where to find me.