Via TorrentFreak, Anti-Piracy Lawyers Sue Dead Person.
This week a letter was returned to the U.S. District Court, indicating that the addressee is no longer alive. Whether the person in question had already passed away at the time of the alleged offense is unknown.
And really, that probably doesn’t matter. Although it’s possible the trustee of the estate might be a more formidable opponent than an . . . → Read More: An Ex-Parrot
Rob Cashman notes that the 6/30 deadline in West Coast Productions has passed, apparently without any new filings or action from . . . → Read More: Deadlines
DGW had a good run going in the DC courts for the last year or so, but it seems like at least one judge has finally lost patience with their abusive tactics. Yesterday, in the case Nu Image v. Does, Judge Robert L. Wilkins issued an order to show cause why venue and joinder is proper for all 23,322 John Doe defendant IP addresses in the case. You can download and read a PDF of the complete order here.
Judge Walton specifically found fault in plaintiff’s arguments that DC is the proper venue for unidentified persons. The judge pointed out that the proper venue statute in copyright cases is 28 U.S.C. $1400(a) , which requires plaintiffs to bring suit in a venue “where the defendant resides or where his agent may be found.” This directly addresses one of the arguments that EFF and other defenders have been making all along: the DC courts are the wrong venue to bring cases involving people who have no contacts at all with the District of Columbia, and the only reason plaintiffs are bringing these cases in DC is because that’s the most convenient location for their lawyers.
Since plaintiffs openly admit that the great majority . . . → Read More: Show-Cause order in Nu Image v. Does, 11-cv-00301
We’re hearing reports of increased contacts related to two newer cases out of DC. These are joint Ken Ford / Dunlap Grubb & Weaver cases, in the mold of the West Coast Productions case. One is Imperial Enterprises, Inc. v. Does 1-3545, 11-cv-000529 and the second is Bryan William Ott v. Does 1-15,551 number 11-cv-00553. Both involve adult . . . → Read More: Increasing Traffic In Three Newer Cases
Torrentfreak reports that DGW has added some 24,583 new John Doe targets to one of the original bittorrent cases filed in the District of Columbia, Voltage Pictures v. Does, 1:10-cv-00873. Disclosure: Steve represents clients who are targets in the Voltage Pictures case.
This new filing might be a sample of the new normal in the DGW cases. Or it might just be audacity on the part of plaintiffs, in response to Judge Howell’s decisions last week that refused to consider any arguments raised by John Does. This new filing raises the question whether Voltage Pictures is allowed to expand its efforts to discover identities of John Doe defendants beyond the list of Doe targets it identified in its initial complaint. Without prompt action by Judge Howell, it seems likely that a new group of people all around the US will be receiving subpoena notice letters from their ISPs.
Torrentfreak has also posted a link to the list of IP addresses that DGW included with that new filing- the PDF runs to 406 pages. Interested readers can check the list in the docket on the bittorrent . . . → Read More: DGW adds 24,000 new John Does to Voltage Pictures case
here’s a link to last week’s opinion from Voltage Pictures:
Recall that similar opinions were entered in many of the DC cases last week, which means that John Doe targets in DC who have already filed motions should probably check with their attorneys.
For the John Does in the Voltage Pictures case, you may want to read this. And if you have recently received a notice in the mail and you are thinking about filing a motion to quash or dismiss, this opinion might change your thinking. Continue reading Opinion and Order from Voltage Pictures v. Does
Major orders out in all of the original DC cases on Thursday 5/12, including Voltage Pictures (Hurt Locker), Achete/Nuente (Far Cry) and others. PDF copies are generally available in the RECAP dockets that are linked from the list published on the Bittorrent Lawsuits page.
Not much to say about this, except it seems like a big loss for anonymous targets.
It seems like the DC courts have decided they will not consider issues of joinder or personal jurisdiction when those flaws are raised by anonymous targets. This is a clear conflict with the course that has been charted by the courts in Texas and West Virginia and at least a few courts . . . → Read More: Court Denies *ALL* Motions To Quash/Dismiss in Many DC Cases
I’ve been seeing a lot of contacts lately from targets in West Coast Productions v. Does 1-5829, which is Case No. 1:11-cv-00057 in the District Court for the District of Columbia. This case could easily be confused with the West Coast Productions cases brought last year by Kenneth Ford in West Virginia, except that all of Ford’s cases have been dismissed. This case is still very active, and it’s backed by the well-known Dunlap Grubb & Weaver, who apparently have taken it on a collaboration with Mr. Ford, because Mr. Ford’s name appears on all of the court filings.
A couple of notes for Doe targets who might be affected in this case:
1. The RECAP docket for this case is linked here:
One caution about RECAP is that it tends to lag the official docket by a couple of days, and not all of the filed documents are immediately available. But if you’re just looking for basic status information, this is better than nothing, and it’s free.
2. The issues in this case are basically identical to the issues in the cases that were dismissed in West Virginia. The problem is, the West Virginia . . . → Read More: Bittorrent Suit Updates – West Coast Productions
One of the challenges facing defendants (and attorneys) in the rash of bittorrent cases is keeping track of what is going on in a particular court. Since these cases are all still in the district courts, there isn’t really any reason to expect that a ruling in one case will have any real impact on cases pending in other courts- but it seems that some patterns are beginning to emerge. For example, the district court in West Virginia was the first to sever all defendants and then dismiss all but one from the cases that were filed there. The Northern District of Texas has just done essentially the same thing with all of Evan Stone’s cases filed there. And ND Illinois has recently dismissed a number of the cases John Steele had filed there.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has compiled a helpful list cases that have recently been dismissed. If they keep this list current, it will be a great resource for defense attorneys and individual targets.
People who have received an ISP notice for a case that has been dismissed may still want to take action to ensure that their ISP does not reveal their name . . . → Read More: List of dismissed cases at EFF
Right from the start, the most obvious problem with these bittorrent cases was that it was clear the courts in DC lacked personal jurisdiction over most (if not all) of the John Doe defendants. When someone pointed this flaw out to the guys at DGW, their response was generally along the lines of, “oh yeah, we know, we’ll eventually just re-file in the proper court but it’s gonna cost you more if you don’t deal with it now.”
The consensus was that they were bluffing. Now it’s not so clear:
The US Copyright Group—also known as the Virginia law firm of Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver—wasn’t bluffing. Stymied by a federal judge overseeing several of its massive lawsuits against file-swappers, the law firm has teamed up with local lawyers around the country to refile its copyright infringement cases in courts closer to each accused defendant.
Note, this is just one more state. They haven’t filed in Oregon yet. But all along, I’ve been telling clients that the worst-case scenario is that we spend the time and money to beat DGW in DC and then they find someone to bring the same claims here. With this case in Minnesota, we’re . . . → Read More: DGW Files New Complaint in Minnesota