Public Citizen & EFF File For Sanctions Against Anti-P2P Lawyer Evan Stone

from the due-process dept

Remember Evan Stone? The anti-P2P lawyer (not the porn actor), who has been filing a ton of mass infringement lawsuits on behalf of porn companies. Like all of these lawsuits, the real intent is to frighten people into paying up prior to any trial. It's using the judicial system as a business model. In one of the lawsuits Stone filed for Mick Haig Productions, the judge wisely asked Public Citizen and EFF to act as counsel for the John Does who had been sued, to represent their interests before allowing Stone to move forward with the discovery process (which would allow him to subpoena ISPs to get the names associated with various IP addresses). Public Citizen and EFF filed motions concerning some of the problems with the overall case and the judge refused to allow discovery while considering those motions. However, Paul Levy at Public Citizen discovered that Stone had gone ahead and sent out subpoenas anyway, and some ISPs had already started turning over the info.

As Levy noted in a letter to Stone, this appeared to be a gross violation of legal ethics. A couple days after receiving this letter, Stone dropped the case with a petulant letter to the judge, blaming the judge for appointing lawyers who actually stood up for their clients' rights, rather than rolling over and allowing discovery. However, in the initial letter, Levy also asked Stone to provide details on all of the subpoenas that he issued, along with the cover letters to ISPs and details of any other communication with those ISPs. Finally, he wanted to know if anyone whose identity had been revealed through these questionable means had paid up and how much they had paid.

It turns out that Stone has refused to respond to these requests (including multiple phone calls to try to reach him), obviously hoping that Public Citizen and EFF would go away. Knowing Paul Levy, he's not the sort of person who gives up easily. Public Citizen and EFF have now filed a motion with the court asking the court to order Stone to provide this info, and then, once the info is provided, to determine whether the fault is Stone's or his clients, and to then either order attorneys' fees, sanctions or both. I've included the motion below, but here's the key part:
Mr. Stone surreptitiously issued unauthorized subpoenas to an unknown number of internet service providers ("ISPs"), demanding the disclosure of the identities of anonymous Defendants so that he could pressure the alleged downloaders of pornography into settlement. Incredibly, months later Mr. Stone participated in the briefing of the very question of whether he should be allowed to issue discovery... all the while allowing ISPs to process the improperly issued subpoenas. Plaintiff's counsel's behavior demonstrates blatant contempt for the rule of law and the authority of this Court.

Moreover, the full extent of Mr. Stone's actions is not yet known because he refuses to meet and confer. Accordingly, rather than requesting a specific form of relief, Defendants instead ask this Court to order Mr. Stone to fully account for his actions so that the Court and Defendants can be made aware of the harm inflicted and so that they may respond accordingly. Once the Court has ascertained the full extent of Mr. Stone's actions, and the extent to which his client should properly bear responsibility for his actions ostensibly performed on his client's behalf, the Court can then decide whether an award of attorney's fees under 17 U.S.C. § 505, discovery sanctions under the Federal Rules, or some other relief is appropriate. Defendants ask this Court to impose some sanction for Mr. Stone's conduct to send a message that should hardly be necessary: abusing the Court's authority to improperly investigate and push settlements onto litigation opponents will not be tolerated.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 4:05pm

    Prediction: Evan Stone is not responding because Evan Stone has been killed by his clients.

    It doesn't take a genius to see that the court will find in favor of the defendant's request and the sanctions will be rather large for both Evan Stone and his clients. Cutting Evan Stone out of the picture is going to be the fastest, most ruthless way to avoid those costs.

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    Coasty (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 4:34pm

    As much of a slimeball that Evan Stone undoubtedly is, one would hope you wrote that with tongue firmly in cheek.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 5:34pm

    Below you will find an interesting article on Evan. As distasteful as I find this whole affair, and as wrong as I (at this point) think Evan is, after reading the article, I am wondering if he is just standing up for what he believes in (however misguided that belief might be). The article alleges that he distinguishes himself from some of the other p2p lawyers, and doesn’t generally approve of their tactics. Any thoughts?

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/02/meet-evan-stone-p2p-pirate-hunter.ars

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 6:29pm

    Re:

    Thoughts: He's a slimeball trying to pretend that he's not.

    He issued subpoenas without the court's approval, and has not once admitted that he was in the wrong. The interview with him did nothing to clarify that matter.

    Basically, he intentionally and KNOWINGLY forged court orders. No amount of "I'm really a good guy" can excuse that.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 7:20pm

    The anti-P2P lawyer (not the porn star).

    "P. Diddy the rapper?"
    "No. P. Diddy the astronaut!"

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Zero, Feb 12th, 2011 @ 12:27am

    We need less Evan Stones in the world

    The world would be more prosperous and better place it had less Evan Stones in it.

     

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

  7.  
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    The eejit (profile), Feb 12th, 2011 @ 4:15am

    Re:

    He used them as a guidebook, not a warning?

     

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  8.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Feb 12th, 2011 @ 6:17am

    Re:

    reading isnt a strong point for you is it...

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2011 @ 6:57am

    Re:

    I lol'ed.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2011 @ 6:59am

    Re:

    I can't see how that article paints him in a different light. He abused the systems, claims that others who have abused it the same way were right, and will keep trying to abuse the system. Article just states what we already know: let's hope he gets disbarred.

     

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

  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2011 @ 9:15am

    Now if only they would be the EFF and Public Citizen involved in his 1337 trolling trip for the anime case.

    In the ars article he notes his method for finding these people was matching the hash of the file. Would anyone like to give the technical reasons why a hash alone is not conclusive proof?

    It also shows us that he has moved away from his secret super tech way of finding them that he developed previously, or his amazing system of I download a regular client and participate in the alleged illegal filesharing facilitating others attempts to get the file.

    If Stone was standing up for what he believed in then he would be aware of the study done in Japan that showed that filesharing gutted the rental market but boosted the retail market of the files they were sharing. If you believe something it is never a good idea to ignore new information and blindly continue on the same path, even the RIAA finally figured that out.

    This seems more like someone who saw what ACS:Law was up to and thought I can do that here. Rather than look at what makes people share files and try to find a way to change it is so much easier to assume that everyone owes you at least 40 times the retail cost if they ever saw any portion of it and try to profit.

    @Zero - I do not think we need less Evan Stones, what we need is laws that actually make sense, and Companies to wake up and understand they are creating half of the problem with filesharing by trying to slice and dice the market into subsections to extract every penny they can. They waste money on FUD reports that only report the sky is falling, rather than on real research on what their customers want.

    Someone "stealing" their work for profit, go ahead a sue. Most people on P2P networks are not turning profits or supporting terrorism or drug runners, or any of the other FUD that gets told to the congresscritters trying to get new overreaching laws passed.

    Evan Stone is just the poster child for what happens when someone gets greedy. He has been abusing the law to make a buck and when caught with his pants down breaking the law he pretends he was not doing anything wrong or that he was justified because he is going after law breakers.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous, Feb 13th, 2011 @ 10:48am

    "Now if only they would be the EFF and Public Citizen involved in his 1337 trolling trip for the anime case."

    I hope EFF & PC step up if Corbin Fisher actually files against the 35,000 people they claim. Because if that huge number of John Does is allowed to be sued together, then the next suit will be 100,000 or more for sure. This method of extortive litigation has to be stopped, now.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    nonanon, Feb 13th, 2011 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Re:

    "reading isnt a strong point for you is it..."

    Humour isnt a strong point for you is it?

     

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

  14.  
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    Brian Schroth (profile), Feb 14th, 2011 @ 6:40am

    Mike, you just liked this article because the motion used the word "blatant".

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2011 @ 11:16am

    Re:

    While several people targeted in the already existing gay porn cases had reached out to EFF, they were told EFF did not have the resources to help.

    But then defending gay porn "pirates" does not play well in the media...

     

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


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