US Copyright Group Sued For Extortion, Conspiracy & Fraud

from the class-action dept

Well, the whole mass automated "pay up or we'll sue" legal business may be getting a bit more interesting as Evan Brown notes that one of the folks sued by US Copyright Group has struck back with a class action lawsuit alleging that the law firm behind USCG, Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver, is engaged in extortion, fraud and conspiracy. The lawsuit looks to include in the class the nearly 5,000 people sued by USCG for sharing the Uwe Boll film Far Cry. The lawsuit highlights -- as we pointed out earlier this year -- many of the alleged infringements happened prior to registration, meaning that there would be no statutory damages available. However, USCG didn't bother to mention that and still used the statutory damages threat in its letters:
This knowing misstatement of material information was made to maximize the damage awards that Defendants could pursue, the claims for Ineligible Remedies they could threaten in demand letters, and the volume and amount of extorted "settlements" that would result.
The lawsuit then uses DGW's own professed "copyright expertise" against it, noting that it clearly was aware of the rules concerning registration and statutory damages, even though it knew that it had no right to statutory damages, and thus, committed fraud and extortion.

Oh yeah... one part of the fraud, according to the lawsuit, is that DGW submitted the Far Cry copyright registration with a false "first date of publication" (which is a key date in whether or not they could go after statutory damages). Thus, the lawsuit claims, DGW/USCG actually committed fraud on the US Copyright Office.

To be honest, I'm guessing that the likelihood of this lawsuit getting very far is slim. Such is the nature of such charges in the past. However, it does appear that this one has a lot more going for it than other similar lawsuits, given the late copyright registration, which really does look bad for USCG. No matter what, this will be an interesting case to watch. The full lawsuit is included after the jump.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    AR (profile), Nov 29th, 2010 @ 11:28am

    US Copyright Group Sued For Extortion, Conspiracy & Fraud

    Its about time someone went after them in a meaningful way. Just need to employ the law firm of Dewy, Screwum, and Howe. I hear they are pretty good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    A Dan (profile), Nov 29th, 2010 @ 11:37am

    Re: US Copyright Group Sued For Extortion, Conspiracy & Fraud

    I've heard more about Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    AR (profile), Nov 29th, 2010 @ 11:46am

    Re: Re: US Copyright Group Sued For Extortion, Conspiracy & Fraud

    I thought thats who the RIAA uses? There might be a conflict of interest there with DC&H.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2010 @ 11:49am

    youtwo, aregayforeachother, and how

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2010 @ 11:51am

    I will explode(please drag me to Guantanamo) if one of them gets jail time LoL

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 29th, 2010 @ 11:57am

    Re:

    U2 are gay for each other? Wait...I guess I kinda knew that....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2010 @ 12:00pm

    I love this filing.

    Hell yes it's RICO.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Pierre Wolff (profile), Nov 29th, 2010 @ 12:07pm

    If I said that this action didn't bring a huge smile to my face, I'd be lying :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    average_joe (profile), Nov 29th, 2010 @ 12:17pm

    Re:

    I love this filing.

    Hell yes it's RICO.


    I love it too. I actually think it has teeth and it's not going away anytime soon. US Copyright Group shouldn't be sending out settlement letters threatening statutory damages if statutory damages aren't on the table. Shame on them. They deserve this one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Russ (profile), Nov 29th, 2010 @ 2:15pm

    Standing

    Doubt if the merits get a hearing. I expect it to be thrown out on standing or invalid class.

    Was there anything in there about an actual plaintiff be represented?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Jake, Nov 29th, 2010 @ 4:06pm

    Who the hell would want an Uwe Boll-directed videogame movie that badly anyway?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Big Al, Nov 29th, 2010 @ 5:07pm

    Re: Re: US Copyright Group Sued For Extortion, Conspiracy & Fraud

    Probably more reliable than Punch's solicitors, Messrs. Sue, Grabbitt and Runne.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Nov 29th, 2010 @ 5:55pm

    Re: Re:

    I'm suprised. I figured you for an end justifies the means sort of person.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    average_joe (profile), Nov 29th, 2010 @ 6:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm suprised. I figured you for an end justifies the means sort of person.

    Nope. I like fair play as much as the next person.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2010 @ 6:25pm

    I hope the mallet hurts the US Copyright Group really bad, they deserve all the pain.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2011 @ 3:10pm

    I was just checking the docket for the Maverick Case @:

    http://archive.recapthelaw.org/dcd/141583/

    and discovered that I was one of the people dismissed without prejudice on 15 April 2011.

    http://www.archive.org/download/gov.uscourts.dcd.141583/gov.uscourts.dcd.141583.97.0.pdf

    However I just received DGWs demand letter today and its dated 26 April 2011. They are trying to scam me into paying on a case they dismissed already?

    Is that legal?
    Should I notify the judge?
    Should I just leave well enough alone???

    What a bunch of scam artists!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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