Articles Posted in File Sharing

MR2-300x168Hammond, Indiana – ME2 Productions Inc. of Carson City, Nevada filed an additional lawsuit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging copyright infringement of the action thriller Mechanic: Resurrection.

The lawsuit lists nine anonymous “Doe” Defendants, accusing them of infringing the copyright of the movie, which has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office under Registration No. PA-1-998-057.  Plaintiff contends that the Doe Defendants illegally distributed a “screener copy” of the film via BitTorrent, a file-sharing protocol.  Plaintiff further asserted that this was done “in a collective and interdependent manner with other Defendants via the Internet for the unlawful purpose of reproducing, exchanging, and distributing copyrighted material.”

The movie, which is the sequel to the 2011 action film Resurrection, stars Jason Statham, Jessica Alba and Tommy Lee Jones. Plaintiff contends that the Doe Defendants are Indiana residents, stating that it determined through the use of geolocation technology that each had an Indiana Internet Protocol address.

This litigation, filed by a copyright lawyer for ME2 Productions, lists a single count – copyright infringement – and asks the court to award injunctive relief, damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Cook Productions, LLC of Los Angeles, California filed a lawsuit accusing unnamed Doe Defendants of copyright infringement.  The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of Indiana, mirrors another lawsuit filed by Cook Productions in the Northern District of Indiana.Untitled-5-192x300

The copyrighted work at issue is the motion picture “Mr. Church,” which features Eddie Murphy and Britt Robertson.  The movie has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office under Registration No. PA 2-002-851.

In this litigation, filed by a copyright lawyer for Plaintiff, the ten unnamed Doe Defendants are accused of having participated in a BitTorrent swarm to disseminate illegal copies of the movie.  Plaintiff states that it used geolocation technology to trace Defendants to the Southern District of Indiana.

Untitled-6-210x300South Bend, Indiana – Plaintiff Cook Productions, LLC of Los Angeles, California sued 11 unnamed “Doe” Defendants in the Northern District of Indiana for infringing the copyrighted motion picture “Mr. Church.”

The movie, which features Eddie Murphy and Britt Robertson, tells the story of a lifelong friendship that began when a cook agreed to help a little girl and her dying mother.  It was registered with the U.S. Copyright Office on August 29, 2016 under Registration No. PA 2-002-851.

In this Indiana lawsuit, a copyright attorney for Plaintiff contends that Mr. Church was unlawfully released on the internet and shared, potentially worldwide, using the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol.  Defendants in this litigation are accused of having participated as part of a BitTorrent “swarm,” in which each Defendant shared portions of the movie with other Defendants, ultimately resulting in each Defendant obtaining a complete copy.  Plaintiff asserts that it used geolocation technology to trace the Internet Protocol addresses of each Defendant to a point of origin within the Northern District of Indiana and that, consequently, jurisdiction in Indiana is proper.

Hammond and Indianapolis, Indiana – A copyright litigator for Plaintiff ME2 Productions, Inc. of Carson City, Nevada filed three new complaints in Indiana federal courts alleging copyright infringement.

Plaintiff asserts that a total of 25 as-yet-unknown Defendants infringed the copyrighted movie “Mechanic: Resurrection,” which stars Jason Statham, Jessica Alba and Tommy Lee Jones.  The movie has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office under Registration No. PA-1-998-057.

In its complaints, Plaintiff contends that Defendants were traced to Internet Protocol addresses in Indiana using geolocation technology.  Two lawsuits were filed in the Northern District of Indiana; one was filed in the Southern District of Indiana.

Indianapolis, Indiana – A copyright lawyer for Plaintiff ME2 Productions, Inc. of Carson City, Nevada filed two new lawsuits in Indiana federal court alleging copyright infringement.

As with two prior Indiana lawsuits, filed by Plaintiff’s copyright lawyer last week in the Northern District of Indiana, these complaints allege infringement by multiple unknown “Doe” Defendants. Specifically, these lawsuits assert that a “screener copy” of the movie “Mechanic: Resurrection” was leaked and distributed illegally using BitTorrent, a file-sharing protocol. These latest lawsuits were filed in the Southern District of Indiana,

Defendants in each of the two lawsuits have been sued as a group, as Plaintiff contends that the Doe Defendants participated “in a collective and interdependent manner with other Defendants via the Internet for the unlawful purpose of reproducing, exchanging, and distributing copyrighted material” that was unique to their BitTorrent swarm.

The movie, which stars Jason Statham, Jessica Alba and Tommy Lee Jones, has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office under Registration No. PA-1-998-057.

Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, statutory damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.

Complaint by pauloverhauser on Scribd

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Northern District of Indiana – A trial attorney for Plaintiff ME2 Productions, Inc. of Carson City, Nevada filed two lawsuits in the Northern District of Indiana alleging copyright infringement of the action thriller “Mechanic: Resurrection.” One lawsuit was filed with the district court in Hammond while the other was filed in Fort Wayne.

Plaintiff contends that a “screener copy” of the movie was leaked and subsequently distributed illegally using BitTorrent, a file-sharing protocol. In each of the lawsuits, multiple unknown “Doe” Defendants are listed. They are accused of committing copyright infringement by participating “in a collective and interdependent manner with other Defendants via the Internet for the unlawful purpose of reproducing, exchanging, and distributing copyrighted material.” Plaintiff states that it has traced these Defendants to Indiana through the use of geolocation technology, which was used to determine the Internet Protocol (“IP”) addresses of each Defendant.

The movie, which is the sequel to the 2011 action film “Resurrection,” stars Jason Statham, Jessica Alba and Tommy Lee Jones. It has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office under Registration No. PA-1-998-057.

Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief along with damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.

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Chicago, IllinoisMagistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown of the Northern District of Illinois granted the motion for summary judgment of John Doe, the anonymous Defendant sued by pornographer Malibu Media LLC (“Malibu”) on allegations of copyright infringement.

Plaintiff alleged that, between May 2013 and July 2013, Defendant infringed Malibu’s copyright in 24 movies by downloading them from the internet using file-sharing software known as BitTorrent. Copyright attorneys for Malibu filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Defendant, stating that Defendant had been identified by the internet protocol (“IP”) address that had been used to infringe. Defendant was permitted to litigate anonymously as “John Doe” (“Doe”).

Malibu submitted various pieces of evidence to support its contentions that Doe had infringed the copyrights on Malibu’s works, including a declaration by the founder of Malibu and declarations of various experts, such as forensic investigators. Doe denied Plaintiff’s claims and contested its method of proof.

The court evaluated Malibu’s evidence, noting that some of it was simply pro forma and included no relevant and particularized statements about the copyright infringement that Malibu alleged had been committed by Doe. The court stated that at least one pleading was described by Malibu as containing attached materials that had not, in fact, been attached. Other material was described by Malibu as having been sent to the court, while the court indicated that it had never been received.

The court also reproached Malibu’s attorneys for misrepresenting to the court the court’s earlier statements regarding the relevant evidentiary requirements to prove Doe’s liability. It further noted that Malibu had failed to adhere to required procedures, such as the serving of several disclosures under Rule 26(a)(2). Because those disclosures had not been made, and because the court held that the failure to disclose was evidence of at least willfulness, if not bad faith, two of Malibu’s declarations were stricken in their entirety as were portions of a third declaration. All of Malibu’s statements of fact that relied upon the stricken material were also excluded from evidence.

The court subsequently concluded that “Malibu has no evidence that any of its works were ever on Doe’s computer or storage device,” stating that Malibu’s contention that Doe had used visualization software to infringe Malibu’s works was merely speculation:

Malibu admits that there is no evidence of visualization software on Doe’s computer, and not even any evidence of the deletion of visualization software. Malibu says that is “beyond fishy,” and speculates that Doe must have deleted visualization software from his computer in some way that hides the fact that it was deleted, and then extends the speculation to suggest that Doe must have done that deletion to hide his infringement of Malibu’s works. That is not evidence that Doe copied or distributed Malibu’s works.

The court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, which asked the court to conclude that Doe had infringed its copyrighted works, was denied.

Practice Tip #1: Malibu has filed a multitude of virtually identical lawsuits around the country. According to a recent case in New York, “Malibu is a prolific litigant: between January and May 2014, for example, Malibu was responsible for 38% of copyright lawsuits filed in the United States.” Malibu Media, LLC v. Doe, No 15 Civ. 4369 (AKH), 2015 WL 4092417, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. July 6, 2015).

Practice Tip #2: We have blogged about Malibu Media’s litigation exploits before. Some recent posts include:

Magistrate Rejects Malibu Media’s Request for Fees and Sanctions
Malibu Media Sues Nine Additional “John Does” Asserting Copyright Infringement
Fourteen New Lawsuits Asserting Copyright Infringement Filed by Malibu Media
Malibu Media Alleges Infringement of Thirty Copyrighted Works

Another John Doe Sued by Malibu Media on Allegations of Copyright Infringement

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New Albany, Indiana – Intellectual property attorneys for DISH Network L.L.C., EchoStar Technologies L.L.C., and NagraStar L.L.C., all of Englewood, Colorado (collectively, “DISH Network”), filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Danny Abner of Paris Crossing, Indiana illegally intercepted, decrypted and viewed DISH Network satellite programming.

Defendant Abner has been accused by DISH Network of “circumventing DISH Network’s security system and receiving DISH Network’s satellite broadcasts of copyrighted television programming without payment of the required subscription fee.” This intellectual property lawsuit, brought in the Southern District of Indiana, claims Abner violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 1201 et seq., the Federal Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. § 605 et seq., and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2511 et seq.

According to DISH Network, Abner’s piracy occurred via the use of Nfusion Private Server (“NFPS”), a television-pirating service. Francis Philip, a/k/a Vgiddy, sold subscriptions to the NFPS service. Philip provided DISH Network with copies of his business records pertaining to Abner, which showed that Abner had purchased one or more subscriptions to the piracy service in 2012.

Through the NFPS piracy service, Abner allegedly obtained DISH Network’s digital “keys,” which he used to decrypt and view DISH Network programming. The type of piracy of which Abner is accused, Internet key sharing, is still possible despite DISH Network’s latest generation of security technology.

In the complaint, filed by intellectual property lawyers for DISH Network, the following counts are alleged:

• Count I: Circumventing an Access Control Measure in Violation of the Digital     Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1)
• Count II: Receiving Satellite Signals Without Authorization in Violation of the Federal Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. § 605(a)

• Count III: Intercepting Satellite Signals in Violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2511(1)(a) and 2520

DISH Network seeks injunctive relief, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and reimbursement for DISH Network’s costs, attorneys’ fees, and investigative expenses.

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San Francisco, California – A lawyer for Prenda Law argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and was heard by Judges Harry Pregerson, Richard Tallman and Jacqueline Nguyen. The appeal focused on the rulings of U.S. District Court Judge Otis Wright II.

The intellectual property attorney representing Prenda Law, the now-infamous copyright trolling law firm, squared off with the judges of the Ninth Circuit recently. In a hearing before the appellate court, he contended that the district court had denied due process to the Prenda Law parties. He noted that Judge Wright had threatened incarceration argued and, in doing so, Judge Wright had indirectly initiated a criminal contempt proceeding.

“The entire proceeding was tainted. Mark Lutz, the CEO of Ingenuity 13, was not allowed to testify. As soon as they asserted their Fifth Amendment rights, the judge stopped the proceeding,” Prenda Law’s lawyer said. “He can’t use that against them,” he continued, arguing that Judge Wright had punished the Prenda Law parties for invoking their Fifth Amendment rights against self incrimination.

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Indianapolis, IndianaMagistrate Judge Mark J. Dinsmore recommended that Judge William T. Lawrence deny Malibu Media’s motion for fees and sanctions against two Defendants and copyright lawyer Jonathan Phillips.

This Indiana federal lawsuit involves allegations of the use of BitTorrent to illegally download copyrighted adult films. Plaintiff Malibu Media, LLC of Malibu, California initiated copyright litigation in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Charles and Kelley Tashiro, husband and wife, violated its intellectual property rights by downloading copyrighted videos without authorization.

On the morning of a scheduled evidentiary hearing in the matter, attorney Phillips, who at the time represented both husband and wife, learned of Mr. Tashiro’s intent to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights to avoid testifying about certain matters. The defense attorney for the Tashiros advised the court that, as a result, a conflict of interest between husband and wife had arisen and that he would be withdrawing as the defense attorney for Mr. Tashiro. As a result, the court postponed that day’s hearing.

Malibu Media subsequently filed a motion asking the court for sanctions, seeking to hold Mr. Tashiro and his copyright attorney jointly and severally liable for the costs and fees incurred in its preparations for the postponed hearing. Malibu Media contended that the defense lawyer’s failure to recognize the conflict of interest between the two Defendants in a timely manner had required Malibu Media to incur unnecessary expenses for the evidentiary hearing. More specifically, Malibu Media contended that it incurred several thousand dollars in unnecessary fees, travel expenses, and other costs. It sought to recover those fees, expenses, and costs 1) under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37; 2) under 28 U.S.C. § 1927; 3) through an exercise of the court’s inherent authority; and 4) under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16.

Magistrate Judge Dinsmore first concluded that FRCP 37 was inapplicable, as it was generally appropriate for “disputes or misconduct during discovery” and the delay of the evidentiary hearing had not resulted from discovery misconduct.

Plaintiff’s claim under 28 U.S.C. § 1927 was also rejected. That section provides that the court may order costs, expenses, and attorneys’ fees incurred as a result of an attorney’s unreasonable or vexatious expansion of the proceedings in litigation.

Malibu Media asserted that this section applied because the copyright attorney’s failure to timely recognize a conflict of interest between the husband-and-wife Defendants failed to meet the standard of care required of attorneys. The court disagreed, stating that the case had involved no incompatibility of the copyright Defendants’ positions, as both had steadfastly asserted that neither had infringed any of Malibu Media’s copyrighted material and that no evidence had been destroyed. Consequently, the defense attorney’s belief that he could provide concurrent representation to both Defendants was neither unreasonable nor vexatious and, thus, relief under 28 U.S.C. § 1927 was unavailable.

Moreover, the court explained, even had § 1927 applied, it provided recompense only for the excess costs and fees incurred – those that would not have been otherwise necessary. Because much of the material prepared by intellectual property counsel for Malibu Media would likely prove useful later in the litigation, those costs and fees had not been incurred unnecessarily.

Magistrate Judge Dinsmore also rejected Malibu Media’s argument that the court should sanction Mr. Tashiro and the defense attorney under the inherent authority that the court holds to manage its affairs through the sanctioning of a party that has abused the judicial process. The court had already determined during its analysis under § 1927 that the defense attorney had acted neither unreasonably nor vexatiously. Thus, a sanction against the defense attorney for abuse of process was similarly found to be improper. The court also declined to hold that Mr. Tashiro’s decision to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights was an abuse of judicial process.

The court then addressed Malibu Media’s contention that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16 authorized sanctions in this case. It concluded that, as the rule authorized the imposition of sanctions only in matters regarding scheduling conferences or other pre-trial conferences, it did not apply to the evidentiary hearing at issue in this request for sanctions.

Finally, Magistrate Judge Dinsmore recommended to Judge Lawrence that Malibu Media’s motion, which had been filed without the required statement showing that Plaintiff’s attorney made reasonable efforts to confer with opposing counsel prior to filing the motion for sanctions, be denied for failure to comply with Local Rule 7-1(g).

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