US Copyright Group Dumps Two Of Its Lawsuits... But Only To Refile Lawsuits Against Individuals

from the begin-speculation dept

Well, this is interesting. Slyck is reporting that the US Copyright Group has withdrawn its lawsuits in two cases, covering 944 as-yet-unnamed defendants. The two lawsuits, filed on behalf of G2 Entertainment (Uncross the Stars) and World Wide Entertainment (The Gray Man) were the first two lawsuits filed by USCG. Slyck takes a few guesses as to why the lawsuits were dropped, but the main lawyer behind US Copyright Group, Thomas Dunlap has told THREsq (which still seems like Dunlop's favorite "go to" source) that this is just a part of the process. They're going to now file lawsuits against the individual defendants in those two cases. Perhaps some of the lawyers in the audience can explain how this works? Why do they get to file one lawsuit to find out names, and then, rather than just inserting the names into that original lawsuit, instead file a totally different lawsuit? I'm sure there's a perfectly good reason for this, but it does seem strange.


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  1.  
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    Jay (profile), Aug 11th, 2010 @ 7:05am

    Not a lawyer but...

    Perhaps in some way they've found out the names in another process?

     

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    Keith (profile), Aug 11th, 2010 @ 7:08am

    Why individual suits

    Simple:

    944 defendants can share the expenses, thus allowing them to hire top attorneys at a fraction of the individual cost. Given these kinds of cost/benefit, the 944 can stand and fight like an army. They might even be able to counter with a class action lawsuit.

    1 defendant, on the other hand, is in way over his head and is more likely to settle.

     

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  3.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, Aug 11th, 2010 @ 7:13am

    someone needs to create a website for them

    and start collecting donations so they can get that top notch lawyer and fight. WHAT have you to lose? the settlement will already put massive hardship on you anyhow.

     

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  4.  
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    Keith (profile), Aug 11th, 2010 @ 7:17am

    Re: someone needs to create a website for them

    Good point. Since the 944 were initially lumped into two suits before being split out, they may have a leg in court to roll it back into the two lump classes.

     

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  5.  
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    Mike C. (profile), Aug 11th, 2010 @ 7:19am

    With my GED in law...

    As I understood it, once the names were revealed in the existing lawsuits, the plaintiffs had a set amount of time to amend the case with the names AND serve the individuals identified. The plaintiffs asked for and received an extension of time in order to serve the appropriate papers, but that extension has now run out - likely by design. Since the people being sued haven't been properly served within the specified timeframe, they have a valid defense to get the case dismissed, possibly with prejudice. The only logical course of action for the plaintiffs to prevent dismissal with prejudice is to drop the case.

    As for filing again, that's the "beauty" of the US court system. Unless there is a final agreement or adjudication on the first case, they get to file a second one for the same issue against the same person. Unfortunately, depending on the court, sometimes it's not even seen as a second filing. Some plaintiffs have successfully convinced the court that since the first case was against multiple John/Jane Does, it's not the same as a case against an individual named defendant.

    /No GED in law
    //This is not legal advice, just personal opinion.

     

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  6.  
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    darryl, Aug 11th, 2010 @ 7:42am

    Two different lawsuits, for two different functions

    One lawsuit, is a 'discovery' lawsuit, to find information based on probable cause. (similar to a search warrent).

    Once the information is acquired, and probably the names were made available, then the next stage of the process would be specific lawsuits regarding what actually happend.

    Its not that hard, and its not even like the lawsuits are for the same people, one was for the service provider or whoever to give up the names, and obviously the next ones would be lawsuits for those specifically named.

    Lawsuits, are not generic, you dont just get a 'form' lawsuit, that does it all. You have to follow due process.

    I dont see why you would find this the least bit confusing !

    And I dont see why you are even slighly surprised about this, or that you consider this something worthy of reporting on.

    So one lawsuit for discovery and
    One for prosecution..

    If you still dont understand, just ask and I will try to explain further. But the US legal system does not seem all that complex, even for someone not in that country.

     

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  7.  
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    Michael, Aug 11th, 2010 @ 8:08am

    Re: Two different lawsuits, for two different functions

    That being the case - which it probably is - isn't it a fraud against the court to file a lawsuit that you do not intend to actually be a lawsuit?

    I am not a lawyer (some classes in college) but I believe it is illegal to file a lawsuit that you know is without merit. If the original lawsuit was not intended to be a lawsuit, but a means of discovery, is this process even legal?

    I would think they have to claim they intended to follow through on the original suit.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2010 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re: Two different lawsuits, for two different functions

    Lawyers and the court have two definitions of fraud. One when somebody outside the system does it and a completely different one when the system is used by insiders to commit what normal people call fraud.

     

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    nasch (profile), Aug 11th, 2010 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Two different lawsuits, for two different functions

    I'm not a lawyer either, but I don't think you have to sue for damages. I think you can sue for, say, release of information only. I don't know if that's what actually happened in this case.

     

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    TDR, Aug 11th, 2010 @ 10:22am

    Is it possible to sue for the dismantling and eradication of a company, then? Because if so, that might be an interesting countersuit for the defendants to file against USCG.

     

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    Chryss, Aug 11th, 2010 @ 1:07pm

    Re: someone needs to create a website for them

    The thing is that these defendants are going to want to challenge on improper joinder (which many of us believe it is, and courts in some of the RIAA cases have agreed) of these cases. By allowing USCG to get away with lumping all the defendants into one lawsuit, it makes it profitable. If they were forced to file individual suits against each defendant, it makes the profit go right out the window.

     

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    Anonymous Howard, Aug 11th, 2010 @ 5:51pm

    What did Shakespeare say about lawyers?

     

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    average_joe (profile), Aug 12th, 2010 @ 6:10am

    Perhaps some of the lawyers in the audience can explain how this works? Why do they get to file one lawsuit to find out names, and then, rather than just inserting the names into that original lawsuit, instead file a totally different lawsuit? I'm sure there's a perfectly good reason for this, but it does seem strange.

    There's no doubt that they can do this, but it certainly is a bit of a surprise from Dunlap & the Gang.

    The more I think about it, the more brilliant I think it is. (Hat tip to Tommy.) He knows that the defendants are going to be severed, and the cases are going to be moved out of the District.

    Rather than respond to thousands of motions challenging joinder and jurisdiction, he's taking the preemptive step of dismissing, severing, and refiling the cases. This saves him time and money--he's not wasting energy and resources fighting the inevitable.

    They still have the problem of joint liability. Dunlap's filings read like a manifesto of why the defendants should all be held jointly liable. This means that the hundreds or thousands of defendants in a given case would split the damages for one infringement between them.

    I think he's dismissing the defendants and refiling to take the focus off of this problem. If I'm the attorney for an individually named defendant, I'm busting out Dunlap's previous filings and arguing that my client would be jointly liable with all of the Doe defendants from the previous suit.

     

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  14.  
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    darryl, Aug 12th, 2010 @ 9:07am

    Two lawsuits, two groups, two different lawsuit subjects, and not 'dumped' but successful.

    Lawsuits are not issued by companies or lawyers of those companies. They are a court document. Yes they may be written by the company, or individual who wants to take the civil action. But it is the court, that is the authority that is behind the lawsuit.

    The person seeking a lawsuit, will have to go to court and show them they have a viable suit, and the clark of the court, and the Court itself will then sign the lawsuit.

    Not the originating company or complainent.

    Again, this series of lawsuits were for different purposes and for different people.

    Its not a matter of 'just changing the names', as one lawsuit was to find out the names, and the other lawsuits are the actual suits aginst those named..

    So one lawsuit would have been "I want the names of those who downloaded the files".

    ONCE they have the names, they then need to direct the next lawsuits against the particular people.

    A DIFFERENT LAWSUIT,, it would be no good asking those people THESsq named, what the names are of the people !!..

    That would be a far more interesting story, NO, what they are doing is DUE PROCESS, they had to create a lawsuit to get the names, then then they create new lawsuits for those individuals, collectively or individucally.

    Again, its not that hard, its no different to getting a search warrent, the same process has to be gone through basically by the police, they need the courts permission, but issuing of a search warrent is not proof of guilt, and its not the charge that is going to be incurred if they find something illegal in the search.

    No, one lawsuit is with one group (the ISP), and the other is against the actual 'suspects'.

    And its not the company that gets to make up arbitary lawsuits, and do what they like, lawsuits have to comply with the law, and have to be approved by and have the authority of the Court.

    I would also say that the original two lawsuits were not dumped, they were successful, they got the names, the lawsuit did its job.
    Lawsuits only live as long as they are required to do the job intented.

    So if they got the names, the lawsuits were successful, not DUMPED..

    And if you say that the majority will not fight it, I would say then the majority are guilty, because with all lawsuits in the US there is mediation, and if you have a good defense, (ie you did not actually download the files,) you would most certainly defend it.

    I would, and everyone I know would defend themselves if they are innocent..
    I do not know anyone who would just pay up because someone asked me too..
    Unless I was guilty..

    But please explain how the two lawsuits were dumped, if they got the result they were seeking in the lawsuits ?

     

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    nasch (profile), Aug 12th, 2010 @ 10:17am

    Re: Two lawsuits, two groups, two different lawsuit subjects, and not 'dumped' but successful.

    And if you say that the majority will not fight it, I would say then the majority are guilty, because with all lawsuits in the US there is mediation, and if you have a good defense, (ie you did not actually download the files,) you would most certainly defend it.

    I would, and everyone I know would defend themselves if they are innocent..
    I do not know anyone who would just pay up because someone asked me too..
    Unless I was guilty..


    He was actually making sense up to this point. Amazing, usually he goes off the rails within about four words.

     

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  16.  
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    Etienne Duval, Aug 12th, 2010 @ 10:19am

    just a musing outloud @darryl

    From where I'm sitting, your argument may be what is considered acceptable in fact, but as a logic construct, I'm not seeing the sense of it.

    This is what I'm reading :
    "You're proposing that this manoeuvre (the filling and the de-filling once information useful for another case otherwise unavailable is made so) is a.o.k. because the first lawsuit was successful (and so not "dumped") and actually consisted of a different matter altogether."

    Now, this is where I get lost : You're proposing that the suit was a success, even if it was not brought to term (no judgement, etc) because the goals of those who petitioned for it was attained. However, it is accepted that a lawsuit cannot be made frivilously : thus the goals of the petitioners must be those of the lawsuit ("issued" by the Court - as per my understanding). If the lawsuit is not brought to term (judgement, settlement, etc), by the very definition, it did not reach it's goal.

    So the lawsuit is a success for reaching its goal, that wasn't ITS goal, but its petitioners goal... (Glitch number 1)

    (Glitch number 2) The idea that it is like a warrent.
    A warrent's purpose is to get information. If you get information, you achieved the warrents purpose. A lawsuit's purpose is (whatever is stated in its creation).

    If you get the information you wanted from a lawsuit, and that was the lawsuit's legal role, you'd need it to actually grant you right to use said information by actually granting you that right. If you can get information by using a lawsuit to get information but don't actually have to have the lawsuit grant you that information... you see where the glitch lies ?

    i.e. : if you're rich, you can legaly buy information that you have no right to. (just that sentence hurts my brain)

    Anyhow, again, I'm not saying that what you're proposing isn't what is accepted - I'm just not seeing the coherence.

    My 2cp - and sorry for the phrasing/spelling/other forms of language errors : Québécois (english is a second language)

     

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  17.  
    identicon
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