Copyright Troll Claims Sanctions Against Him Are 'Bulls**t' And He's Going To Keep Sending Questionable Subpoenas

from the good-luck-with-that dept

After losing again for significant ethical lapses in sending subpoenas to identify individuals he was trying to shake down for payments — at the same time the court had ordered him to wait for a fair hearing on whether those individuals could protect their anonymity — Evan Stone apparently still does not realize the seriousness of what he did. In an interview with Ars Technica, he appeared both dismissive and defiant of the ruling against him, for which he owes tens of thousands of dollars:

“They just punted, and said you waived your arguments, so we have to affirm,” he told Ars Friday morning. “I’m ready for someone to take this up, this issue of copyright subpoenas in the Fifth Circuit. That’s really the bigger issue. I’m just going to move on from this whole sanction thing. I think it’s bullshit and I think it shouldn’t have happened. I’d rather move on with my life than be right. That’s what I’m going to do. We’re going to do some more copyright subpoenas, and we’re going to bring them before the district and see if they are accepted or denied and then bring them before the Fifth Circuit.”

This is an interesting revisionist history. First off, that’s not quite what the court said. It did note that, through Stone’s own incompetence as a lawyer, he waived any significant arguments against the sanctions, but that did not minimize the court’s serious concerns about Stone blatantly defying its clearly-stated requirement of first holding a hearing to see if the anonymity of the users could or should be protected. Remember, the appeals court didn’t just “punt,” it also stated:

We conclude, however, that no miscarriage of justice will result from the sanctions imposed as a result of Stone’s flagrant violation of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the district court’s orders. Stone committed those violations as an attempt to repeat his strategy of suing anonymous internet users for allegedly downloading pornography illegally, using the powers of the court to find their identity, then shaming or intimidating them into settling for thousands of dollars–a tactic that he has employed all across the state and that has been replicated by others across the country.

To pretend this is merely punting because of Stone’s own failings as a lawyer underplays both how he screwed up in handling his own appeal, as well as the court’s concerns with Stone’s ethical lapses that resulted in the sanctions in the first place.

That he’s going back to sending out subpoenas and pretending that what just happened to him is no big deal is somewhat stunning. Of course, what’s even more stunning is that anyone would hire Stone to do more copyright trolling. Whatever you think of the practice, Stone has clearly demonstrated — and been told by a court — that he’s not doing it right. Why would anyone hire that guy to do the same thing again?

Stone also apparently tried to pin the blame on Verizon for the mess that he’s in. Again, in his discussion with Cyrus Farivar at Ars:

But beyond his questionable legal tactics, Stone lamented the fact that larger ISPs, like Verizon, (against whom he filed a subpoena in late May 2012 over a pirated work of anime in an ongoing case) fight him “tooth and nail,” while smaller ISPs simply “cough up the user information.”

And, he argues, Verizon isn’t protecting their users out of principle or out of an interest in legal fairness, but rather to protect their highest-paying customers, which, according to Stone, are pirates.

That’s a pretty obnoxious statement and there’s not much support for it in real life. Verizon protecting its users’ privacy against lawyers trying to identify them for a trolling operation isn’t about protecting revenue, it’s about protecting individuals’ basic rights against bogus legal threats and people who abuse the court system as a business model.

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Companies: verizon

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Comments on “Copyright Troll Claims Sanctions Against Him Are 'Bulls**t' And He's Going To Keep Sending Questionable Subpoenas”

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40 Comments
sophisticatedjanedoe says:

Re: Re: Re:

And I agree! Good news is that the matter from the bottom of the barrel, lawyers who don’t care about their reputation or even future, jump on the trolling wagon: quick-and-dirty money was always a magnet for these folks.

As a result, some of them (obviously, not the smartest ones) forget about the troll’s Rule# 1: always fly under the radar. A crook from Michigan, Paul Nikoletti on Friday appealed IL judge Harold Baker’s ruling denying the early discovery. I hope that most of you remember Judge Baker, the author of the “legal meme” IP !=person, a judge who was the first to use the phrase “fishing expedition” referring to trolling cases, a judge who killed Steele’s novel “reverse class action” lawsuit.

Thank you so much, Mr. Nikoletti! Bringing attention of the Circuit Court of Appeal is exactly what your fellow con artists need!

What do you think the outcome of this appeal will be? Your bets, gentleman!

sophisticatedjanedoe says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

On a side note, look at the footnote #3 of the judge’s order: it has a link to my Scribd account: I’m so happy: not for myself ? for the fact that the adversarial voices are heard: in most cases no opposition exists at the moment when judges allow discovery, and this is one of the most predatory features of the trolling lawsuits.

sophisticatedjanedoe says:

Unlike in normal, run-of-the-mill litigation, in trolling business, the client-lawyer relationship is somewhat different, I would say perverted. Therefore saying that “…anyone would hire Stone to do more copyright trolling” is a bit misleading. It should be something along these lines: “…Stone would find anyone willing to use their copyrights and name in the exchange for a small percentage of the shake-down proceeds.”

Maybe I’m being too picky, but general public still thinks that studios hire troll lawyers, and the latter “just doing their job,” “whatever is best for the client.” Many mainstream media outlets, reporting the news sometimes don’t even name lawyers int he articles.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yep. A few bad apples that copyright skeptics (ahem!) can turn to for surefire arguments that the system as a whole is screwed. That’s the point of the countless articles about these few people right? To milk it for all the anti-copyright FUD it’s worth? I mean, this idiot lawyer is just one guy. But I’m sure we’re all supposed to look at him and think the whole system sucks. Of course, you can find idiots in anything. Copyright isn’t special for having a few assholes.

Beech (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Even if he was the ONLY one doing this, it still shows that people are capable of doing it. So he may not be the only one for long. It’s like we’re in a besieged medieval town, and you’re saying, “It’s only ONE member of that visigoth horde that walked through the crack in the wall! You want to repair a whole wall because of one guy?!”

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

One?

While one of the previous commenters has mentioned the few most recent, we could go back years. There’s been a steady stream of completely over the top behavior of copyright lawyers going back at least as far as the RIAA cases 8 or 9 years ago.

Hiring PIs to follow an 8-year-old girl around and trying to trick her into saying her mother downloaded music? Check.

After being told they were suing a dead person, continuing the case against the family, while claiming to be compassioniate by allowing them a few weeks to grieve? Check.

Not dropping cases after being shown that the person they were suing did not own a computer and did not have internet service (only cable TV)? Check.

Refusing to drop cases for months and years after it was blatantly obvious even to them that they had the wrong person? Two or three Checks.

khory (profile) says:

My favorite quote is in the last part of the Ars article-

?There is no commercially available service that can even take advantage of the top-tier bandwidth,? he said. ?You don’t need 50Mbps down to use Hulu, Netflix, iTunes or anything. Who the hell pays for 50Mbps down? P2P file-sharers. That’s who pays. That’s on the Internet side, they’re making profits from those who want to file-share.?

This guy thinks there is no use for a fast internet connection other than illegal file sharing? Really??? So we should artificially keep slow connections because someone might DL some files?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The thing that annoys

The thing that annoys me is that the sanctions don’t seem to be high enough.

Par for the course.

Look at Barclays: 800 trillion dollars riding on Libor. Yeah, not billion, but trillion-with-a-T. Barclays gets rapped on the knuckles for $450 million, less than half-a-B. Less than half of one-thousandth of a T-trillion. A couple executives take early retirement?with their pensions. So what? Eventually, it all blows over?and Barclays will come out ahead. The fines? Just the cost of a profitable business.

That’s how the game works these days.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Oh Evan... come play....

I can only hope his ego gets the best of him and he shows up here.

For nearly 2 years I’ve tracked his asshat’s cases. Waited for a Judge to notice he had unclean hands in many of his cases (he participated fully in swarms he sued). And finally he gets smacked… and he just keeps going.

I’ll just C&P my comment from Ars here in case he decides to show up.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/07/copyright-troll-10000-sanctions-upheld-by-appeals-court-are-bullst/?comments=1&post=23058929#comment-23058929

@efstone – Oy! Troll, back under your bridge. Or shall I recap for our home viewers the comedy that is your career.

Shall I start with your 3rd hand fax machine, that early on was still broadcasting a charities phone number?
Being yelled at by the Judge for using an answering machine to handle calls for your law firm that was in a PO Box?
Ever sue when you didn’t actually have a copyright?
Ever fibbed on dates on applications?
Ever appropriated the trademark of an East India Company?
Ever lie to the media about not doing porn cases again after you told off Hustler?
Ever check the size of the swarm before suggesting your employer acquire the rights to 2 movies and then launch Doe lawsuits before the ink was dry?
Ever have someone participate in a swarm to capture IP addresses, with an unmodified client meaning you had unclean hands as you were making the infringement worse?
Former VP of a cell company does not an investigator make, and its humorous on some level that there is a verizon van in the street view of your home.
Who has the bigger ego you or Michael Lucas of Lucas Entertainment?
Ever regret taking on a website that had me as a member?
Landing Debbie Does Dallas was just for an ego boost wasn’t it?
Do you still have the Xiu Xiu Live DVD available?
Do you regret not purchasing a private registration for your domains, it was fun to mock the ugly couch on streetview.

I’ve been onto you and your scam since September 2010, I’ve laughed every time you stumbled.
I showed people you were not the great and powerful oz but a little man just out to scare them, your failures made it so much easier.
You file paperwork late, you violate the law, and somehow its always someone else’s fault.
You might have felt powerful scaring that teen in the Dallas Observer puff piece, and you say your not a bully.
You are a joke.
You make Steele look competent, do you understand how sad that truly is?
I’ve enjoyed your fall, it took much to long, but like fries… Ding your done.
Troll go down the hole….

I remain
TAC
p.s. Ohai! @sophisticatedjanedoe he annoyed me enough I registered here…

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