Judge Slams Copyright Troll Lawyer John Steele's Latest 'Fishing Expedition'

from the another-one-down dept

The mass infringement lawsuit shakedown plan is looking shakier and shakier these days as more and more courts keep hitting back on these cases. More and more judges (with one notable exception) are recognizing that these lawyers are just using the court system to pressure people into paying up... and they don't seem to like it very much. The latest involves Chicago divorce lawyer-turned-porn P2P shakedown lawyer, John Steele. Steele has already had some trouble with judges buying his arguments. Steele is also the guy trying to set these lawsuits up as reverse class actions -- a strategy that failed miserably the first time around.

However, despite that loss, Steele has tried again for another reverse class action. Earlier, the judge denied Steele's motion for expedited discovery. Expedited discovery is a pretty standard thing that almost every court grants as a matter of course, but we've now seen a few courts in these mass infringement lawsuits refuse, after realizing the only purpose behind expedited discovery is to get the names/addresses of people in order to hit them up with settlement offers. In this case, the judge specifically ordered the court clerk not to issue subpoenas in the case, to stop Steele from getting the info he needed to pressure people into settling. Steele still pushed forward, trying to get the court to approve things so he could send out the subpoenas and get the names.

But the judge is having none of it.

In an incredibly short, but clearly well-thought out response (pdf) to Steele, Judge Harold Baker, makes it clear that he wants no part of this. First, he points out that IP addresses do not match up well with individuals, and even points to the recent story of a home being raided for child porn due to an open WiFi router, to highlight that an IP address does not show who's actually doing the downloading:
Moreover, VPR ignores the fact that IP subscribers are not necessarily copyright infringers. Carolyn Thompson writes in an MSNBC article of a raid by federal agents on a home that was linked to downloaded child pornography. The identity and location of the subscriber were provided by the ISP. The desktop computer, iPhones, and iPads of the homeowner and his wife were seized in the raid. Federal agents returned the equipment after determining that no one at the home had downloaded the illegal material. Agents eventually traced the downloads to a neighbor who had used multiple IP subscribers’ Wi-Fi connections (including a secure connection from the State University of New York). See Carolyn Thompson, Bizarre Pornography Raid Underscores Wi-Fi Privacy Risks (April 25, 2011), http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42740201/ns/technology_and_science-wireless/

The list of IP addresses attached to VPR’s complaint suggests, in at least some instances, a similar disconnect between IP subscriber and copyright infringer. The ISPs include a number of universities, such as Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, and the University of Minnesota, as well as corporations and utility companies. Where an IP address might actually identify an individual subscriber and address the correlation is still far from perfect, as illustrated in the MSNBC article. The infringer might be the subscriber, someone in the subscriber’s household, a visitor with her laptop, a neighbor, or someone parked on the street at any given moment.
But, much more importantly, Judge Baker notes the serious fear of chilling effects from these lawsuits, pressuring people to settle even if they are innocent, and even calls out one of Steele's other cases, where Steele has dropped a bunch of defendants who settled. While that may have been good for Steele at the time, Judge Baker uses it to point out that this appears to be Steele's business model, rather than a real legal situation, and he sees no reason to help Steele out in this fishing expedition to scare people into settling:
In Hard Drive Productions, Inc. v. Does 1 - 1000, counsel sought leave to dismiss more than 100 Doe defendants, stating that some of the Does had “reached a mutually satisfactory resolution of their differences” with the plaintiff.... Orin Kerr, a professor at George Washington University Law School, noted that whether you’re guilty or not, “you look like a suspect.” Could expedited discovery be used to wrest quick settlements, even from people who have done nothing wrong? The embarrassment of public exposure might be too great, the legal system too daunting and expensive, for some to ask whether VPR has competent evidence to prove its case. In its order denying the motion for expedited discovery, the court noted that until at least one person is served, the court lacks personal jurisdiction over anyone. The court has no jurisdiction over any of the Does at this time; the imprimatur of this court will not be used to advance a “fishing expedition by means of a perversion of the purpose and intent” of class actions.
Denied.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Designerfx (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 9:52am

    welp

    just wait until this judge finds out about traffic law. Traffic law is a government authorized fishing expedition.

     

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  2.  
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    Trails (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 10:08am

    Applauso!

    *Standing ovation*

    A judge, judging. Happy day!

     

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  3.  
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    charliebrown (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 10:08am

    haha

    Who says TechDirt is never optimistic?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 10:28am

    "Denied."

    On the other hand, if Steele were a big corporation ...

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 10:29am

    Re: welp

    I think you mean traffic school.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 10:29am

    Re: Re: welp

    (and it's not like anyone actually learns anything from traffic school).

     

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  7.  
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    Designerfx (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 10:49am

    Re: Re: welp

    no, traffic law is the same as copyright - government will sue first (civil court), and people typically settle (not guilty/still fined) in or out of court, while people with a lawyer get the cases dropped almost instantly.

     

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  8.  
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    J Doe (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 11:13am

    IO Group, Inc v. Does 1-244

    I hope for a similar outcome in my case (IO Group, Inc v. Does 1-244). I chose to fight anonymously with a Californian troll, Gill Sperlein. I'm the only one from this case fighting. 5 people caved in and paid settlements even prior to discovery.

    I'm not a lawyer, which clearly manifests itself, but it gives me some freedom in choosing the words. Mr. Sperlein is clearly pissed, and that gives me some comfort regardless of the future case outcome.

    http://www.scribd.com/collections/2997952/Case3-10-cv-03647-Dockets

    If you don't have time to read everything, Docket #25 is where I call troll by its real ugly name.

    Today I'm sending another motion, as harsh as #25, and I will upload it as soon as it is filed.

     

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  9.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 11:14am

    Re:

    Maybe he should start Man of Steele, Inc. He's get more protection form the law than he does now.

     

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  10.  
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    Matt Bennett, May 2nd, 2011 @ 12:20pm

    I received a subpoena (or more accurately, an offer to squash a subpoena) from comcast, regarding Mr. Steele.

    Is it possible that was from one of the illegal subpoenas that should not have been sent out?

     

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  11.  
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    J Doe (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 12:29pm

    Re:

    If it was one of those that should not have been sent out, it would include an offer to squash Mr. Steele, not a subpoena. Who wouldn't accept such an offer?

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 12:32pm

    Where is Captain Hubris now? Oh wait! He will check-in soon, tell us how successful he is. blah blah

    What a dick bag

     

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  13.  
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    J Doe (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 12:37pm

    Is there an official way to oblige a judge (or jury) to watch those copyrighted works in their entirety? Definitely it would strengthen Mr. Steele's standing.

    And in "my" case, which is about sodomy pornography, naturally everyone would benefit from the screenings of those masterpieces.

     

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  14.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re:

    Pretty sure DC (or whoever has the rights to 'Man of Steel') would sue him if he named it that.

     

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  15.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    He could argue parody. After, all, that's all he is.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 1:38pm

    Re:

    If he's so rich, how come he's not smart?

     

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  17.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 1:39pm

    Re:

    I suppose there are worse things to do on a Saturday night.

     

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  18.  
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    Jay (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 1:53pm

    I can hear the naysayers now..

    "But, the judge isn't supposed to use recent news to make a verdict. He has to FOLLOW THE LAW"

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 2:11pm

    Looks like one of his clients, Grooby, has chosen another "takedown service" to protect their content.

    http://www.xbiz.com/news/legal/133557

    How is that software working for you Steele?

     

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  20.  
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    That Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 2:11pm

    to save some time for the other AC's....

    but, but, but.... piracy!

     

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  21.  
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    Donnicton, May 2nd, 2011 @ 2:40pm

    Re: I can hear the naysayers now..

    Follower by someone's best Judge Dredd. "I AM THE LAW!!"

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 3:06pm

    "Reputation is everything" and you sir are an ass....

    That quote comes straight from Mr. Steele's familylawlifeline blog. I'm kinda hoping that Mr. Steele is getting to the point where he has pissed off enough federal judges that the next time one sees his name on a fresh complaint, the judge will say GTFO!

     

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  23.  
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    big al, May 2nd, 2011 @ 3:28pm

    Re: Re:

    The Hurt Locker....????

     

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  24.  
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    john steele, May 2nd, 2011 @ 3:36pm

    Darn, now I'm only 43-4. I love reading this posts, always entertaining.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 3:43pm

    43-4? Did you fail basic math?

     

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  26.  
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    john steele = you are a turd gobbler, May 2nd, 2011 @ 3:44pm

    winning! duh!
    oh wait, you're not!

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 3:57pm

    Re:

    You can't be serious?? You are the MAN!

    What will you do when one of the "does" challenges you in court? There are many IP Attorneys willing to watch you squirm in court.

     

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  28.  
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    TG, May 2nd, 2011 @ 3:59pm

    Re: no

    Your petitions might lead one to believe that you are a corrupt, immortal panty waist, but I always look forward to your ignorant and delusional MB post, which drive the point home! All hale king panty waist. Isn't it time to go pick up your kid at day care and get ready for another day of shake downs? Love your family law post about how you don't represent scumbags. Greed bug bit you much?

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 4:15pm

    Re:

    "This posts"? Did you attend grammar school? I've noticed from the comments on other sites that you seem to stop paying attention to what you are typing when you are pissed off...or scared

     

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  30.  
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    Donnicton, May 2nd, 2011 @ 4:53pm

    Re:

    I'm not remotely a fan of Steele, but to play devil's advocate here, the John Steele that usually posts at least had the mental capacity to capitalize the letters in his own name.

    I'm going to give a modicum of credit here and assume that this probably isn't Steele, as much as I want to jump on the bandwagon.

     

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  31.  
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    Hansmeier Bitch, May 2nd, 2011 @ 5:11pm

    Re: IO Group, Inc v. Does 1-244

    Great job! Glad to see someone who fights the Internet terrorists!

     

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  32.  
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    Any Mouse (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 5:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: welp

    Except that driving isn't a right, it's a privilege, so there's a huge difference, here.

     

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  33.  
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    Any Mouse (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 5:28pm

    Re:

    Perhaps in poor taste, however..

    I think butt piracy is part of Mr Steele's IP.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 6:10pm

    Re: Re:

    Probably, but he did sign a letter with dates from 2006 so I'm not 100% convinced that it isn't him

     

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  35.  
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    b-turd, May 2nd, 2011 @ 6:34pm

    I was sort of thinking the same thing, but then I realized that swamp donkey can't help himself = he MUST post on these boards and defend his delusions of grander. Ego like that and grammatically incorrect postings (of his own name) go hand and hand. Then again, he could be drunk again. Chicken Gumbo any one? Glad the judge had a modicum of common sense. WTF was Steele thinking? AC = genius and funny to boot!

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 9:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: welp

    Actually, I disagree. Driving is a right, we don't need government to drive. But, I do agree with limiting that right to ensure safety.

    On the other hand, copy privileges ...

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 9:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: welp

    (or rather, my right to copy .... there is no reason to limit that).

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 9:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: welp

    No good reason anyways.

     

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  39.  
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    Rick Kulacki Jr., May 3rd, 2011 @ 6:26am

    Anyone else find the idea of a porn lawyer named John Steele funny in a grade-school humor sort of way?

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2011 @ 7:56am

    @Rick I would venture to guess his peers laugh at him as well. Even Marc Randazza laughs at him.

     

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  41.  
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    J Doe (profile), May 3rd, 2011 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re: IO Group, Inc v. Does 1-244

    Thank you. When I compared copyright trolls with terrorists on an ArsTechnica board, people thought it was too extreme. Then I pointed them to the Merriasm-Webster definition:

    terrorism : the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion

    I failed to find any part of this definition that was not applicable to legal extortionists.

     

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  42.  
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    im_howeird, May 3rd, 2011 @ 9:00am

    Steele

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2011 @ 10:41am

    reality check

    Steele hating aside...

    This is a shockingly pro-pirate (and pro-child porn) opinion. The judge just asked Steele to name the account holder associated with an IP address--before he could link the address to a name (impossible without a subpoena). If a child porn trader or a p2p pirate can hide behind an IP address, they are perfectly anonymous and cannot be held accountable for their illegal actions.

    Categorically denying the request to link IP addresses should not be issued for the sake of the few people stupid enough to still have open wireless. True, there is the danger that people will be bullied into settling, but the same thing could be said about every lawsuit. If you sued me for punching your baby I would be "embarrassed" and would be worried about the "daunting and expensive" legal system. Case dismissed?

    If you do not like the state of U.S. copyright law (too much protection, too much litigation, etc.), fine. But that is a different discussion.

    p.s. J Doe is absurd (the forum users at Ars Technica are not stupid). Using the court system to assert rights that are codified in black-letter law is not "terrorism."

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2011 @ 11:05am

    Re: reality check

    Pro-child porn opinion...seriously?? The judge basically stated that Mr. Steele can not try to obtain people's contact info on a wholesale basis. If Mr. Steele feels he has a strong case, then he should identity one specific IP address that he feels has significantly harmed his client, obtain a subpoena, and then file a suit against said individual. As for your statement about a child porn trader or a p2p pirate hiding behind an IP address, that statement holds true even when an innocent individual's IP address is hijacked or piggybacked. If you read the judge's statement, you would have noticed how the child porn trader used people's unsecure wifi accounts as well hacked secure networks. If an attorney fails to make the added effort of confirming the source of the infringement/illegal activity, then he will end up suing the wrong person. The guilty party will not be held accountable and an innocent person will be left to struggle financially.

    As for the point about being embarrassed, find me a list of baby punching lawsuits and I might be willing to take that argument seriously

    This is a different discussion from the state of US copyright law. This is a discussion about a lawyer who is attempting to pervert the purpose of class actions. He is abusing the system to extract cash. The rest of the arguments are too weak to respond to

     

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  45.  
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    That Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2011 @ 11:51am

    Re: reality check

    Punching a baby would not be a civil suit.

    Punching a baby would have much more evidence than a "secret proprietary system".

    Punching a baby would not seek to name thousands or hundreds of people, all of whom will never be in a court room because instead they get a letter offering to "settle" the issue for a few thousand. This letter also would not have the threat of $150,000 in damages, and telling the world your alleged private habits to gain your compliance.

    Punching a baby would be more questionable when if the baby was put on the street with a sign that said punch me. (As some of them like to seed the files they then sue for.)

    Punching a baby would not involve negotiations where they allow you to "settle" for less than the $3,000 demand, only to use your signed letter to say it wasn't enough and pay the rest as you now admitted guilt. (Thanks Randazza)

    But I applaud your attempt to establish the mental link with filesharing and kiddy porn producers. And it is terrorism, they are preying on peoples fears. How else do you explain the Grandmother in MN currently facing trial for having torrented a Hollywood film, despite the fact she does not own a computer. And the lawyers think they need to make an example out of her, and are still pursing the case in an attempt to get her to just pay the "settlement" so others who are innocent of the "crime" might just pay up to avoid the hassle.

    How many innocent people need to be targeted in these cases, before anyone wants to admit their tracking system is flawed?

     

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  46.  
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    J Doe (profile), May 3rd, 2011 @ 12:03pm

    Re: reality check

    I'm not absurd because I'm not a statement. I'm a homo sapiens. If I was born a statement, other statements would call me "hyberbole", "sarcasm" or other names, because statements understand irony, unlike many homo sapienses.

    I also want to add that I recently found a bunch of extremely stupid people, they call themselves "Electronic Frontier Foundation": they advocate using open wireless. What a bunch of idiots!

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/04/open-wireless-movement

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2011 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Re: reality check

    The EFF does some great work. I have to agree with you regarding their stance on open wireless. Someone downloading torrents off of your open wireless is the least of your concerns.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2011 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: reality check

    EFF does great work!?!?

    Look what the most wise and reputable intellectual property lawyers say about this disgraced organization:

    ----------------------------------------------
    Evan Stone of Texas, porn pirate fighter:

    "...the Court appointed a trio of attorneys renowned for defending internet piracy and renowned for their general disregard for intellectual property law."
    (3:10-cv-01900-N)

    ----------------------------------------------
    Gill Sperlein of California, a sodomy porn pirate chaser:

    "He[i.e. me] strings together a series of hearsay discussions from pro-piracy websites...."
    (3:10-cv-03647-WHA)

    ----------------------------------------------
    John L Steele of Illinois, porn pirate chaser:

    "mumbo jumbo, chicken gumbo"

     

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  49.  
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    That Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2011 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: reality check

    The open wifi make sense given the recent raids carried out.

    Had the man, who had a gun pointed at him and his family, had a secured wifi point he would still be in jail.
    Even not finding a single bit of kiddy porn on his computers, the argument would have been made that he HAD to have done it because his WiFi was "secure".

    The average person believes some really questionable things -
    The check is in the mail.
    The government is your friend.
    No baby, I'm clean and condoms feel weird.
    Don't worry I won't *censored for AC's* in your mouth.
    Technology is always right.

    Trying to prove that someone broke into your "protected" system is difficult, and even if you can explain it so the slightly less than techie "get it", they often assume its you just using the tech to confuse them so you must be guilty.

    Showing the court the router was open to anyone within x distance (where x is typical range not accounting for cantennas or other tricks) could have accessed it, you have reasonable doubt. The lack of any kiddy porn on the premises serves to strengthen that claim. They are less likely to assume you have a secret kiddy porn machine you keep hidden elsewhere and bring out sometimes.

     

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  50.  
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    Steven, May 3rd, 2011 @ 5:48pm

    Northern California, Does 1-188

    I've been targeted by these guys and am wondering how this is going to fare in fare in California. Has anyone in California been able to quash their subpoenas?

     

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  51.  
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    That Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2011 @ 7:53pm

    Re: IO Group, Inc v. Does 1-244

    I think I love you....

     

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  52.  
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    J Doe, May 3rd, 2011 @ 8:22pm

    Re: Re: IO Group, Inc v. Does 1-244

    I’m not perfect and I admit that I will be happy watching a troll suffering because of my actions, yet bringing positive emotions to this world makes me much, much happier :)

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2011 @ 8:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: IO Group, Inc v. Does 1-244

    Wow! Reading his faxes to AT&T, he sounds like a 12 year old having a tantrum.

    Good luck!

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2011 @ 8:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: IO Group, Inc v. Does 1-244

    I forgot to add - The judge seems to be getting annoyed with the case.

    "Counsel, however, would be well
    advised to identify all defendants by the June 2 case management conference."

     

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  55.  
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    J Doe, May 3rd, 2011 @ 9:04pm

    Re: Northern California, Does 1-188; IO Group v. Does 1-244

    Steven, who is your plaintiff and his attorney?

    My case (IO Group, Inc. v. Does 1-244) is also in Northern CA, and I have been fighting against Mr. Sperlein (fighting on my own, without an attorney: no attorney agreed to help me without the need for me to effectively identify myself – either by IP or, via a protective order, by city and initials). I looked at other IO Group cases (as well as cases in other states), and it does not look like quashing subpoenas works. The arguments that have worked so far are:

    1) improper joinder (it was the main reason to sever and dismiss all the Does except for one in each of two other IO Group cases – with 19 and 435 Does) and
    2) lack of jurisdiction (Judges in West Virginia were especially vocal about it – look, e.g. at https://www.eff.org/press/archives/2010/12/16 and read the Judge’s “Order in Third World Media v. Does 1-1,243” at https://www.eff.org/cases/west-virginia-copyright-troll-lawsuits ; also worth reading is the article about a Digiprotect case: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110417/22352913929/us-court-dings-digiprotect-mass-lawsuit-filing s-worries-about-pressure-those-sued-to-settle.shtml ).

    These are the two arguments that I have been trying to make in my filings. If you’d like to learn more about my experience, we can discuss it in comments to the page that I created for my case: https://fightcopyrighttrolls.wordpress.com/io-group-inc-v-does-1-244/ Other Does from IO group cases (as well as anyone who is interested) are also welcome to post their comments and questions there. I think it’s very important that Does start talking to each other.

    The most important readings for my case are my Dockets 16 and 25 and plaintiff’s replies to those – Dockets 18 and 26. They can be found at http://www.scribd.com/collections/2997952/Case3-10-cv-03647-Dockets (don’t miss the 2nd page in this list).

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    J Doe, May 3rd, 2011 @ 9:20pm

    Re: Re: Northern California, Does 1-188; IO Group v. Does 1-244

    Today I also sent a new motion to dismiss, I'll upload it as soon as the court files it (tomorrow or on Thursday). I faxed the same new motion to AT&T this morning as well, hope they will use it as an excuse to show another middle finger to the troll.

     

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

  57.  
    identicon
    J Doe, May 3rd, 2011 @ 9:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: IO Group, Inc v. Does 1-244

    Yes, and I like how he thinks that everyone is an idiot:

    "Just give me 243 names, you can omit the anonymous filer's name, so I will not be able to go after him later".

    I'll try to keep my blog fightcopyrighttrolls.wordpress.com updated, I just started it to keep all the documents together and to give this case some publicity. Trolls are afraid of lightning, copyright trolls are afraid of publicity.

     

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

  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2011 @ 2:59pm

    But Steele disagrees

    “The issue isn’t over. There are other mechanisms we’ll use with the appellate courts. People steal stuff and our clients want us to pursue these people,“ Steele said

    http://www.xbiz.com/news/133638

     

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

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2011 @ 7:20pm

    Re: But Steele disagrees

    Unbelievable arrogance. This guy would make a good carrier as a bouncer in a bar: it is critical for that profession to go forward and hit a drunk client without knowing what's in his holster.

     

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

  60.  
    identicon
    John Doe, May 4th, 2011 @ 7:59pm

    Re: But Steele disagrees

    That is up to the Judges. I'd like to see them pursue those who are stealing. That would be great. Why don't they start by going after all the 'tube sites' that offer all kinds of content for free, a good portion of which is on on there without the consent of the owners.

    Hard Drive Productions, one of Steele's clients, was using a host for their branch "Amateur Allure" that hosted the content of other pornographers without their consent. Suddenly, when this was circulated on this site (I think this site) they changed hosts. It's interesting that in changing hosts they acknowledge the problem, yet they continue to purse people who in all likeliness use these sites and are led to believe what is on the sites is free content.

    How are all, or even most of these people intentionally damaging Hard Drive Productions. If the pornographers would stop cannibalizing each other (not to imply HDP is complicit in this) consumers would have a clear picture of what brands belong to what networks, and that by taking a brand from a network that it isn't affiliated with they could be taking content that a brand hasn't released as free.

    But as things are all the tube sites and sites that link to one another, and to downloads not on their networks, including torrent files, can't be distinguished by a casual consumer. The average person clicking around on the internet who decides to follow pornography links will quickly be brought to the vastness of the pornography networks and be presented with a variety of options. If they click on a download that happens to be a torrent (which takes a small program and a few clicks to use) suddenly they stand to be labeled a thief and sued.

    This argument doesn't stand for Movies or Video Games because everyone knows that no company makes a full length film or a full featured video game (with very very few exceptions) and offers it for free in hopes for future business. Pornographers on the other hand do this. And if they don't why are there so many sites full of it. For example ipadporn.com 173.208.160.186 based in the US hosts a vast collection of videos free of charge. The casual viewer isn't likely to pay for a product that is freely available from sites based in the US.

    One must conclude that if they are based in the US, have been around for some time, and are hosting thousands of videos that most likely came from various pornographers who don't seem to care, why would these pornographers target them for downloading (from bittorrent or elsewhere) content that is offered free at countless sites.

    It makes sense that if pornographers want to protect their content they would go after those hosting it first, especially those in the US, and UK (Places where US law can reach them).

    The only reason I can think of for them not doing this rational thing is that they want this whole thing to continue so they can cash in on it. Once consumers see changes in the pornography landscape they will quickly understand the intentions of pornographers. But as things stand, people will continue visiting the big repositories, downloading free content, and not comprehending the double talk of the pornographers. And the ones who happen to use a torrent will threated by the legal system.

    Pornographers, fix your own house first, then pursue the thieves. That is what you're council should be suggesting, unless he's in this for the money.

     

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

  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2011 @ 8:19pm

    Re: Re: But Steele disagrees

    Very well said. You are right on the money. Many of the porn studios upload a portion of a video, let's say ~3 to 5 minutes. Enough to get you interested. Then at the end you are directed to their pay site, with the hopes of you paying to stream the video. The main goal is to convert those clicks to recurring subscriber revenue.

    There is a huge business in just conversion alone. The early tube sites were created for this specific reason. Guess who created, contributed to, and profited from those sites?

    It's kind of humorous that they did this to themselves.

     

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

  62.  
    identicon
    Steven, May 4th, 2011 @ 8:45pm

    Re: Re: Northern California, Does 1-188; IO Group v. Does 1-244

    I posed my reply to your blog. Maybe we can think of some way to fight this. It would be nice if we could persuade ISPs to send letters to those targeted in specific cases to offer them a forum to meet at. If at least half of those being sued (in my case 54 people) agreed to exchange information to share the costs of a lawyer evenly this could go away incredibly fast. Dividing legal fees by 50 or more might even make a counter suit a good option. Why not turn the tables and put them behind the barrels of 50+ guns and see how they like it.

     

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

  63.  
    identicon
    John Doe, May 4th, 2011 @ 9:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: But Steele disagrees

    Agreed. Given many of these brands are complicit with the tube sites which offer more than short clips (ipadporn.com for example) how can it be said that consumers are stealing? I found streaming full length clips from Amateur Allure on some of these sites, and I wouldn't doubt that the clip in question (Samantha Saint) is also somewhere on one of them.

    HDP probably claims they are not in league with the tube sites, but I fail to see how it is justifiable to single out those obtaining the material via torrent or some other means. Some of these sites provide download options as well as streaming options, and sometimes torrent is one of those download options. Granted there is a line between the tube sites that don't regularly provide download options and the ones that use temporary hosts and torrents, but the casual porn surfer isn't going to recognize that the download links offered by temporary hosts are normally used for illegal content, and that torrents are mainly used as an easy way to keep the content available without having to deal with deletions due to copyright infringement.

    I see some validity to the argument that torrents are mainly used by heavy porn consumers (as they relate to porn) to sidestep copyrights and feed their consumption habits, but they can also be used by casual users who don't know about the stigma of torrents, or even that there is any difference between downloading a torrent and streaming from a tube site.

    So all in all I don't have any problem with this if it wasn't for the unlucky ones who happened to entertain a new way of downloading and are now stuck with a lawsuit hanging over their heads. But as for the ones who are initiated and know which of the stuff is offered illegally, let them pay up. But there isn't a big profit in chasing the real crooks individually, only a small one, so I don't think they will be doing that..

     

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

  64.  
    identicon
    J Doe, May 5th, 2011 @ 7:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: But Steele disagrees

    Dear John,
    Here is another fact confirming your conjecture that the trolls want their business model to continue. I wrote in one of my filings (http://www.scribd.com/doc/54298028/310-Cv-03647-WHA-Docket-25-Opposition-to-Motion-to-Strike (Docket 25 , p.7)): “The web site of the technology company (Media Protector) employed by Plaintiff for collecting the IPs of alleged copyright violators claims (See http://www.mediaprotector.de/html/html_en/technologie/frameset.html) that the technology is capable of detecting the initial seeder (the person who knowingly uploads the file to be downloaded by others). Going after these initial seeders would be substantially more efficient for protecting copyright than going after hundreds of P2P network participants, many of whom may have no relation to the alleged infringement.” In his reply (http://www.scribd.com/doc/54298036/310-Cv-03647-WHA-Docket-26-Reply-to-Opposition) my troll did not reply anything to this. This suggests that he does not want to find the initial seeder (one can even suspect that he might have planted this initial seed himself).

    Here is another relevant piece of my filing:
    “Another fact that strikes about these copyright troll cases is the difference in treatment received by corporations and by individuals in alleged infringement situations. Basically, the sites that collect thousands in revenues usually receive the equivalent of cease and desist letters. Private internet users targeted by copyright trolls, on the other hand, receive letters demanding thousands of dollars in order to avoid a federal lawsuit... One discussion participant wrote in a comment to an article discussing the actions of a copyright troll Mr. Steele: “So the webmasters of popular sites got cease and desist letters, while your average computer user gets letters demanding $1000s. Congrats on abusing the little guy, Mr. Steele.”

    I guess that since companies that own web sites employ lawyers, it is too difficult and not really profitable to go after them, so our trolls hope to profit from abusing little guys who are divided (don’t know about each other), don’t have money for litigation, and hence will likely settle out of court. Our response would be to try to unite little guys, like Steven suggested in his comment (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110430/00274114096/judge-slams-copyright-troll-lawyer-john-steel es-latest-fishing-expedition.shtml#c834 ). See more on this at https://fightcopyrighttrolls.wordpress.com/io-group-inc-v-does-1-244/#comment-3 (the 5th paragraph is about uniting the Does).

     

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

  65.  
    identicon
    J Doe, May 5th, 2011 @ 7:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Northern California, Does 1-188; IO Group v. Does 1-244

    I agree, in order to fight efficiently, Does should unite. See more on this at https://fightcopyrighttrolls.wordpress.com/io-group-inc-v-does-1-244/#comment-3

     

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

  66.  
    identicon
    J Doe, May 5th, 2011 @ 8:25pm

    What a US Senator has to say about it

    I have found relevant words by a US Senator about the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA). See at http://indiepropub.com/bittorrent-receives-attention-at-senate-judiciary-committee-hearing/313925/# : Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon … states that COICA is “like using a bunker-busing cluster bomb when what you really need is a precision-guided missile.”
    Senator Wyden asserts that a more-guided attack at the largest offenders may be more effective than trying to destroy the entire market one at a time.

     

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

  67.  
    icon
    J Doe (profile), May 9th, 2011 @ 3:38pm

    As I promised, here is my new motion to dismiss (just filed):
    http://www.scribd.com/collections/2997952/Case3-10-cv-03647-Dockets, #38

     

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

  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2011 @ 4:21pm

    Judge Shadur strikes again

    Steele filed this case, Boy Racer, Inc. vs Does 1-22 on Friday may 6th. It was assigned to The Honorable Milton Shadur.

    Mr John "Hubris" Steele dismissed all Does "with prejuidice."
    Now, why would he have done that?

    Here are some thoughts from Judge Shadur:

    MEMORANDUM ORDER
    It seems that attorney John Steele (“Steele”) might be well
    advised to stay away from Las Vegas or other casinos, because his current filing on behalf of plaintiff Boy Racer, Inc. has--despite odds in the range of 25 to 1--been assigned at random to the calendar of this District Court, which had previously been the recipient of another random assignment of a Steele-filed action (that one being CP Productions, Inc. v. Does 1-300, No. 10 C 6255). This Court had ended up dismissing the CP Productions action for the reasons stated in its February 7, 2011 memorandum order and its February 24, 2011 memorandum opinion and order, which (among other reasons) rejected attorney Steele’s effort to shoot first and identify his targets later.

    As appeared to be true in the CP Productions case, it would
    seem feasible for Steele and his client to pursue the normal path of suing an identifiable (and identified) defendant or defendants rather than a passel of “Does.” Moreover, that practice would also facilitate the determination as to which defendant or defendants is or are amenable to suit here in Illinois, as well as testing the viability of the currently amorphous Count II assertion of a civil conspiracy.

    Accordingly,just as in CP Productions, both the Complaint
    and this action are dismissed without prejudice. As in that
    case, Boy Racer is free to advance its copyright infringement claims against one or more identified defendants on an individual basis or, if appropriate, a plausible conspiracy theory.

     

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

  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2011 @ 10:37am

    Re: Judge Shadur strikes again

    aha!

    He filed another case Monday on behalf of Boy Racer

    1:11-cv-03097 Boy Racer, Inc. v. Does 1-17. Guess who this one was assigned to? Judge Milton Shadur.

    Of course Steele dismissed all seventeen does with prejudice. Again!

    So, if an Attorney has such a great case against the does. Why does he dismiss them when Shadur is assigned the case?

     

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

  70.  
    identicon
    Donnicton, May 10th, 2011 @ 4:10pm

    Re: Re: Judge Shadur strikes again

    Shadur's patience must be wearing thin at this point, he's had quite an amount of time wasted by Steele's shenanigans as it is. I wouldn't be surprised if he started looking into Steele's other cases himself and finds out exactly what Steele has been up to beyond his court.

     

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

  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2011 @ 1:02pm

    I am a little confused here. I am a Doe in the Hard Drive Productions, Inc. v. Does 1 - 1000. Does this mean I have nothing to worry about?

    I just received in the mail a letter from Steele asking for $2900 to settle. What is the worse case scenario, and what is the most realistic scenario I could expect? I really don't want to hire a lawyer, could I just wait it out?

     

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

  72.  
    identicon
    Steele Merda, May 13th, 2011 @ 8:11pm

    Re: John Steele's extortion attempts

    Yes, you can wait it out! Just ignore John Steele's attempts to bluff you into paying up! If you feel harassed you may file a complaint at http://www.iardc.org/

     

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

  73.  
    icon
    johndoe1974 (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 5:46pm

    Re:

    so what was the outcome of this case?

     

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

  74.  
    identicon
    random idea, May 19th, 2011 @ 11:32pm

    What if...

    Anyone involved with these porn lawsuits should have their lawyer sue Steele, and the companies he represents for defamation of character, extortion, and emotional damages. That and in the ransom letter asking for thousands of dollars the man lies multiple times! In the letter he states that there hasn't been a case where IP adresses were dismissed...ahem, then what the hell was the letter above about? The child porn thing too! also the file names that are supposed to be copywrited material have a girls name followed by .wmv (the file extention), the only way to see that the file is copy protected is to download it and view it to see the stamp imprinted in the video image itself, it's in the nature of bittorrents that it automaticaly shares data the entire time you download it and after, unless a user specificly turns off a torrent program or tells the progran to stop sharing it..so by the time a user gets to look at it they may have shared more than they even downloaded in the first place. If the company's goal was to prevent the infringement quickly they would simply had asked the court to send out the stop orders that they sent fellow companies, or direcly ask isps to send the ip adress owners a stop order, however their goal here is to take it to individuals that may be embarrassed and be willing to pay not to have their name associated with such content...this is purely court aided EXTORTION: (The obtaining of property from another induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.)! He also cites the case where someone was the original uploader for several works and agreed to pay $250,000 in damages...he neglects to mention the clause that states the penalty will be reduced if they stop uploading.

     

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

  75.  
    icon
    throwmeaway (profile), Jun 4th, 2011 @ 1:01am

    Re: Northern California, Does 1-188

    Hi,
    Me too. Just today. Would like to know how you are planning to proceed.

    Thanks.

     

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

  76.  
    identicon
    John Steele, Jul 9th, 2011 @ 5:37pm

    Lots of anger here. How come nobody talked about the 70 cases currently in ca, fl, tx, dc, , and others where we are 100 percent? Damn, 3 judges disagree with me, 63 throw out every single motion to quash they see, and we are losing this fight? Time to go back to World of Warcraft boys, leave the legal analysis for the grown ups.

     

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

  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2011 @ 10:05am

    Why don't you go back to divorce court? Douche bag

     

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

  78.  
    identicon
    truth, Jul 15th, 2011 @ 6:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: welp

    Actually driving is neither a defined right nor a privilege. The government has no legal authority to regulate vehicle registration, driver licensure or traffic activity. This inherently returns the act of driving to a right, a right of non government authorized interference.

     

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

  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 3:11pm

    Can the does please explain what is going on in CA? What can I do if I received a letter?

     

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

  80.  
    icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 8:51pm

    Re:

    Look at this FAQ.

     

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

  81.  
    identicon
    lonepoet, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 12:59am

    I got one

    I got one of those letters from at&T... the only video I ever downloaded was amateurallure.com - Trinity... I'ma be pissed if I get in trouble for that... the video wasn't even all that, I don't even think I wacked to it... on top of that I don't even download movies cause I got netflix...

     

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


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