Comcast, Verizon Ordered To ID Subscribers In Copyright Trolling Suit

from the shakedown-city dept

While we've seen plenty of judges recognize that copyright troll outfits suing a bunch of people at once for copyright infringement are really nothing more than a fishing expedition to identify people to be sent demand letters for payment, it appears a few judges still don't recognize how this is a serious abuse of the legal process. toyotabedzrock alerts us to the news that U.S. District Court Judge Alexander Williams in Maryland has ordered Comcast and Verizon to turn over names in two cases involving (of course) porn companies. What's even more ridiculous here is that Judge Williams should clearly recognize that these cases were almost certainly legal shakedowns, rather than actual cases, because one of the companies involved, Patrick Collins Inc, immediately dropped the case against one of the John Does sued because that defendant got himself a lawyer. If that doesn't indicate that the company doesn't actually want to fight these cases in court, but just wants to get the names to send demand letters, it's difficult to know what would convince the judge.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Ninja (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 6:34am

    Successfully bribed judge. I wonder if they offered money or girls for the judge. Or both.

    And on a side note: "Oh, they are at it again?"

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 6:41am

      Re:

      You guys really sound like fucking morons when you jump to the "bribed judge" bullshit. Seriously, Ninja, grow up.

       

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      DannyB (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 6:43am

      Re:

      Bribed the judge? You should be ashamed for even suggesting such a thing.

      I'm sure that these fine upstanding pr0n companies provided many gigabytes of, um, er.... evidence, yeah, that's the word evidence of what was allegedly stolen. I'm sure the judge carefully reviewed all of that evidence. Multiple times. He possibly had to take a several hour break between each legal review session of the evidence.

      The judge probably has never had a big hard di(s)k with so many gigabytes of, um, evidence, without having to pay for it, and without any fear of malware.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 6:46am

      Re:

      It's almost certainly stupidity rather than malfeasance.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 6:48am

      Re:

      It's almost certainly stupidity rather than intentional malfeasance.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 7:15am

      Re:

      I wonder if they offered money or girls for the judge


      “Ex-judge Camp sentenced to 30 days in prison” by Bill Rankin, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 11, 2011
      After telling him he has “a scarlet letter chiseled on his forehead the rest of his life,” a federal judge sentenced disgraced ex-jurist Jack Camp to 30 days in prison for committing repeated crimes with a stripper.

      “He has disgraced his office,” Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan said of Camp, the ex-federal judge from Newnan. “He has denigrated the federal judiciary. He has encouraged disrespect for the law.”

       . . . .

      Camp, 67, was appointed to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. He resigned in November shortly before pleading guilty to drug charges and to giving the stripper his $825 government-issued laptop computer.

      Camp met the exotic dancer at the Goldrush Showbar in May when she did a table dance for him. He was soon paying her for sex and together, they began smoking marijuana and snorting cocaine and a synthetic form of heroin.

       . . . .

       

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      Jay (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 7:36am

      Re:

      I'll make the argument that the porn companies are forum shopping. The judge may not be aware of their actions.

       

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      meddle (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 7:38am

      Re:

      free porn for life

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 6:47am

    If you don't think judges can be bribed and corrupted then maybe you should ask some western PAers about the Kids for Cash case. A judge there was being paid hundred of thousands of dollars over time in kickbacks for all the kids he sentenced to jail time at that privately run prison.

    The only difference here is copyright trolls don't have to restrict themselves to just one district and judge to make money. They just file the same lawsuits everywhere until one place gives them what they want, a list of names to shakedown.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 9:33am

      Re:

      If you think the fact that X is possible is a justification for concluding that X has happened, well, Jesus, I don't know where to start.

       

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      cm, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 11:12am

      Re:

      Wilkes Barre is in EASTERN PA, not western. In western PA the judges would not be able to figure out how to run such a complex scam.

       

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    AJ (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 6:49am

    Hopefully your average Joe will do a bit of research once they get one of these "extortion letters" that are sure to come, and finds that getting a lawyer to send a letter in response, basically saying you are prepared to fight to the bitter end, is significantly cheaper than paying the extortion amount and will usually end in the same result.

    Your always going to have the 1 in a million that may end up in court, but I'm betting it's a fair gamble.

     

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      Prisoner 201, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 7:09am

      Re:

      This could actually be a wonderful new business model!

      You are a lawyer, and you charge a small fee for sending a letter stating that you represent the accused.

      Most of these case will be dropped, so no further expense for the lawyer or the accused. The lawyer can therefor keep the price low, and work in bulk. Sort of a white hat version of what these shakedown artist are doing.

      Note that the lawyer is not comitted at that point. He just get paid to send the letter. Possibly even automated (just fill in a form on the web page).

      If the case moves forward, the accused can then decide if they want full legal support or not. Its even possible that the fees from all the cases that get dropped (while individually small) will cover any cases that does not - and drive more customers to this particular lawyer.

      Market economy at its finest :)

       

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        AJ (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 7:38am

        Re: Re:

        So your thinking an automated form letter for responding to an automated form letter in order to increase the probability that you dodge a lawsuit?

        Sounds like something the patent office would rubber stamp...... hmmmmm...

        Did we just figure out how patent trolls are born!!!????? Fucking Creepy!!!!!

         

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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 7:10am

    Judge Alexander Williams is an asshole! That's all there is to it.

    When is the last time anyone saw a judge in these types of matters that was NOT an asshole? Too stupid or lazy to look into the actual details of the plaintiff's case, and so renders a stupid judgement. Happens all the time, all over the country. Move along now. Nothing more to see here.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 7:37am

      Re: Judge Alexander Williams is an asshole! That's all there is to it.

      Of course the judge is an asshole, because he isn't supporting the Freetard view of the world. If he told the lawyer to pound sand, he would be the smartest judge on the planet.

      Please keep up with the Techdirt playbook already, willya?

       

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        Jay (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 8:17am

        Re: Re: Judge Alexander Williams is an asshole! That's all there is to it.

        By your logic, every judge that has seen through this shoddy plan to make money from settlements must be a freetard.

        The lengths that you go to support businesses that fail to adapt is astounding.

         

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    DARLA ELMER JAYARAO (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 7:38am

    judge should be prosecuted

     

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    Overcast (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 8:45am

    Maybe he's lookin' for some good sites where he can jerk his ego at.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 4:57pm

    While I detest this crap....

    1- The Judge might not be informed on what has happened to over 200,000 people in this country. I dunno how but it is possible.

    2- Not a single one of these Judges has demanded anything beyond the letter from the "expert" that the IP gathering software is perfect. As several of them are spin off firms from one German firm, it looks like a large ecosystem rather than 1 firm hedging against their methods being thrown out and sinking all cases.

    3- While I know its a scam, you know its a scam, the lawyers know its a scam they are still operating within the legal framework, in some cases the Judges are becoming aware but this knowledge does not seem to spread. See Evan Stone sanctions and the upcoming rule 11b smack down in the k-beech case.

    4- Until the DOJ wants to get off their ass and actually look into the extortion being done with the information gathered using the courts, we are screwed. This is the darkside of the copyright cartel. They must be right, they are being robbed blind by these bad people and we should help them out. They are suing 70 yr olds and blind people, FOR PORN... this really should raise some red flags.

    They have almost exhausted these cases here in the US, and now are moving onto Canada and Australia. There are scammer firms setup that are actively seeding files with embedded links to a "DRM server" where some people enter their information in the hopes of free porn and instead get a you stole and we can prove it now pay us $450 V/MC Welcome.

    And if you read TD with any regularity you know there is forthcoming copyright fix. They are trying to give the cartel more power and screw the people that much more. How much longer can this go on until we end up with more Occupy protests. The 1% declared war and now our elected officials at every level are showing who they answer to - See Occupy Oakland. To used tear gas, flash bangs, and injure citizens over fears for "public safety" when your the ones making it unsafe for citizens. One would think a Mayor would remember they can be pulled out of office but the people dumb enough to have put them there.

    But I digress....
    These cases are all still legally "permissible" because no one has managed to establish any case law stopping it. Mainly because Howell ruled Does have no standing until named, and they never name anyone who doesn't admit they did it.

     

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    Will Best, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 1:15am

    Be fair to the judge. A judge has hundreds of cases on his docket, he has status calls on these events every couple of months. In the mean time it isn't even on his radar because he has a bunch of cases that are actually in stages that require more of his focus. And he gets Steele or whoever up in front of him for 5 minutes. He looks down at the file sees that its been on his docket for awhile and asks for the progress.

    Yes there are a few cases where Motions from various does come streaming in, but by and large, the only person telling the Judge anything is the plaintiff attorney. He is obligated by the rules of conduct to not mislead the court.

     

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    lslawpl, Dec 18th, 2011 @ 5:43pm

    Copyright Trolls

     

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