Congratulations to all Rational Law clients and other John Doe defendants involved with a bittorrent case in the District of New Jersey, including the several cases titled Amselfilm Productions v. Does and Century Media Ltd. v. Does. On Wednesday 10/10/2012 orders were entered in most, if not all, of these cases, severing and dismissing all defendants except Doe #1 and setting heavy burdens for the plaintiffs and their attorneys to carry before they may re-file. Here is a link to one of . . . → Read More: Bittorrent Case Update- New Jersey
I get a lot of calls and emails from potential clients that begin like this:
Potential Client: I got this letter from Comcast. It says I have until next week to file a motion to quash the subpoena. How much do you charge for that?
Steve: … Well, that’s one option, but…
Potential Client: No really, I want to keep my name private.
Continue reading Why I Generally Don’t Recommend Filing MTQs in Bittorrent Cases
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirms Rule 11 sanctions against Evan Stone of Texas.
Stone committed those violations as an attempt to repeat his strategy of suing anonymous internet users for allegedly downloading pornography illegally, using the powers of the court to find their identity, then shaming or intimidating them into settling for thousands of dollars – a tactic that he has employed all across the state and that has been replicated by others across the country.
Copy of the order is here: . . . → Read More: A Bad Day for Evan Stone
The EFF reports that Twitter has filed a motion to quash in People of the State of New York v. Malcom Harris, a case where the state prosecutor is attempting to gain access to records of Mr. Harris’ tweets from a 2001 Occupy protest on the Brooklyn bridge.
In February, we wrote about the New York City District Attorney’s attempts to subpoena information from Twitter regarding the account of Malcolm Harris, one of the 700 people arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge in an October 2011 Occupy Wall Street protest. After Harris challenged the subpoena in court, Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino issued a written opinion (PDF), denying Harris’ motion to quash and ordering Twitter to comply with the subpoena. Yesterday, Twitter filed it’s own motion to quash the subpoena (PDF), arguing that complying would violate the law. And we’re grateful they did, because Judge Sciarrino’s order presents a serious risk to . . . → Read More: Twitter files motion to quash subpoena for Occupy tweets
I’ve been meaning to write about this for a day or two now, but Courthouse News beat me to the punch.
SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A woman claims a pornographic filmmaker tried to coerce her into settling a bogus copyright infringement case – and that even if she did download its porn, which she did not, pornography is not copyrightable, because it is not a science or a useful art.
via Courthouse News Service. Now, I’m not sure the obscenity arguments here have merit- that line of reasoning has been tried and rejected before. But the really interesting thing is the procedural situation is totally flipped by this case.
In a dec judgment action, the plaintiff (who used to be a Jane Doe) spends $350 to file a case in her home court, and then the burden shifts onto Steele and Prenda and Guardelay and the movie studio. She doesn’t have to prove that she didn’t do it- they have to prove she did. If they can’t prove she did it, she wins. And they will have to pay her costs and attorney’s fees.
The complaint itself is interesting (warning, PDF) because it also accuses the porn studio of violating criminal prostitution laws. . . . → Read More: Declaratory Judgment Complaint filed vs. Hard Drive Productions
I am amused by the juxtaposition of this article about the Feds taking down domains for video streaming websites with this article about how one of those sites is up and running at a new domain less than 24 hours later.
The site operators point out that what they are doing is PERFECTLY LEGAL in the place where they are doing it, and that in the future, the US government agencies behind the takedowns might want to find a more useful and effective way to spend taxpayer dollars.
This exact scenario is going to keep happening until the government comes to terms with the fact that the battle is already lost. I don’t expect the content producers to ever admit defeat, but at some point, government policy people will decide to stop tilting at windmills (because it just makes them look silly and ineffective, if for no . . . → Read More: Firstrowsports back online at new domain
There is a new order published in 11-cv-01741 in the District of Columbia. It reverses the guarantee of anonymity that Judge Bates extended to John Does in this case (discussed earlier here) before the case was transferred to another judge. It also states that the court will not consider anonymous motions from John Does, and requires all Does who have already filed a motion to either agree to have their name posted on the public docket or withdraw their motion and remain anonymous. Does with motions already filed have until February 2 to send a response to the court.
This new development isn’t especially surprising, coming as it does from the DC courts. Dunlap Grubb and Weaver have been very successful in obtaining favorable treatment for their clients at the hands of DC federal judges, at least through the early-discovery stage. The initial order from Judge Bates was an outlier, and that’s why we chose to take note of it here. This order from Judge Facciola is simply a reversion to form.
Plaintiff is now required to serve the new order on all of the ISPs it previously sent subpoenas, and then requires those ISPs to forward the order to subscribers. . . . → Read More: Anonymous Motions Blocked By New Judge in Hard Drive Productions 11-cv-01741
Freedom to Tinker has this commentary on the Florida “pure bill of discovery” lawsuits.
… recently, the copyright plaintiffs are turning to the state courts – an odd tactic given that copyright infringement claims may only be asserted in federal court. Remember, though, that these plaintiffs appear to be far more interested in the personally identifiable information of Internet subscribers (and coercing settlements), than in the actual pursuit . . . → Read More: Bills of Discovery
This, of course, would be utter lunacy.
In a statement obtained by CNET that’s scheduled to be delivered [today], the Justice Department argues that it must be able to prosecute violations of Web sites’ often-ignored, always-unintelligible “terms of service” policies.
So let’s have a short thought experiment: Click-wrap agreements are clearly a valid form of contract. Browse-wrap TOS are considered by many courts to be valid contracts as well, so long as the link to the TOS is not entirely hidden from users.
What’s to prevent someone like me from writing TOS that say “Viewers of this page agree that they have gained valuable insight from sharing my thoughts, and therefore those readers all agree to immediately send me $1000.”
Those terms would presumably be “valid,” so long as I didn’t hide them from you. And so you’d have to send me the check, or I could look at your IP address (which is logged for all visitors) and then report you to the FBI, and they would COME AND ARREST YOU AND CHARGE YOU WITH A FEDERAL FELONY.
Utter nonsense. So it can’t work the way DOJ apparently wants to have it. Unless, of course, they are planning only to selectively enforce this power . . . → Read More: DOJ: website TOS violations should be prosecuted