ISPs Ask Judge To Reconsider Order Allowing Copyright Trolling To Move Forward

from the time-to-reconsider dept

There have been a bunch of rulings in a variety of district courts around the country rejecting a variety of ways in which copyright trolling operations have been seeking to use the judicial system as a part of their business model — not to actually take anyone to court, but merely to (a) identify people they can threaten and (b) threaten them with the possibility of a lawsuit if they don’t pay up. Thankfully, an increasing number of judges have been calling the trolls out on this, and saying they won’t be a part of this. Usually this comes in the form of rejecting a request for expedited discovery (which would allow the trolls to subpoena subscriber info from ISPs) or arguing that lumping together so many users into a single case was improper.

However, there has been one major exception to these rejections: the case in the DC district court by Judge Beryl Howell… who just happens to have been a former RIAA lobbyist, who only recently left that job to take a seat on the bench. The Howell ruling is regularly cited by trolls as proof that there’s nothing wrong with the way in which they pursue these lawsuits — ignoring a massive number of rulings that say otherwise.

The ISPs in that original case, though, filed by AF Holdings, represented by Prenda Law (which, you may recall, is connected to John Steele), are asking Judge Howell to reconsider (especially in light of all those other rulings). On top of that, they’re saying that if she won’t reconsider, they’d like to take the issue up to the appeals court before proceeding with the rest of the case. That could become important, as it would be the first time an appeals court weighs in on this. Some public interest groups, including the ACLU and EFF, have filed an amicus brief as well, asking Judge Howell to change her decision concerning discovery.

The hearing on this is today, and we’ll let you know what happens.

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Companies: af holdings

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Comments on “ISPs Ask Judge To Reconsider Order Allowing Copyright Trolling To Move Forward”

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Shillstar says:

Days of the freetard are over!

Don’t worry, Judge Howell will rule correctly. The days of the unlawful wild west internet will come to an end, and all you basement dwelling “technologist” troglodytes will have to go get real jobs like mining or farming or gelding horses! Unless of course you’re caught in the coming purges and sentenced to a rehabilitation camp for nerds and cyberdorks!

Busk up, you’ll get lots of fresh air in the gulag.

Thomas (profile) says:


it amazes me that so many judges ignore conflict of interest and simply rule in favor of their former employers. The same thing happens to attorneys – they work for the RIAA/MPAA, then get jobs in the DOJ, and of course the DOJ starts to become simply an enforcement arm for the RIAA/MPAA. We’ve totally lost touch of something called morals. The right wing thinks that morals only involve whether or not you are in favor/opposed to abortion, and not to dealing with people.

Mike C. (profile) says:

the case in the DC district court by Judge Beryl Howell... who just happens to have been a former RIAA lobbyist

It should but I’m betting that since the case is about a movie and not music the judge said otherwise.

To be honest, I suspect that if you went by the strict letter of the rules, it’s not a conflict. However, there’s something to be said for following the spirit of the rule to prevent the appearance of impropriety. Failing to do so just leads people to lose confidence that you will do anything but game the system for your own personal gain.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Prenda is going down in flames...

Lying to a Judge in CA about the number of cases they have filed. It is now part of the official record that they have filed around 118 cases, and taken 0 does to court.

When a Doe gets unmasked and fights back they quickly move to drop them from the case. This tactic has failed them recently. Steele still has time to troll the boards talking about how amazing he is, as his cases go boom over and over.

Reading the EFF info on this case, this is forum shopping.
There is little doubt that there is only a tiny number of people Howell would have jurisdiction over but she wants to just hand over 1000 names across the country from her court room.

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