Company Behind Adam & Eve Discovers Quickly That Courts Are Now Hip To Copyright Trolling

from the sex-toys-and-copyright-trolling dept

Adam & Eve is a well known purveyor of sex toys, and the company is generally considered somewhat mainstream — as I hear them advertise on all sorts of mainstream-ish podcasts. I had no idea that the company was actually founded back in 1970 as a way to help family planning by selling mail order contraceptives. Amazingly, if Wikipedia is to be believed, the company was actually helped along with a Ford Foundation fellowship. Somewhere along the way, it clearly expanded beyond just selling contraceptives, and eventually got into producing porn itself as well (complementary business lines, apparently). That’s under its corporate parent name, PHE Inc. And, now, it appears that PHE has decided to try expanding its business in the same manner as some other porn providers: by going copyright troll. Except, the company (or its lawyers) apparently didn’t do their homework.

The Torrent Lawyer blog alerts us to the news that PHE Inc. jumped into the copyright trolling game right after Christmas, filing a lawsuit against 105 John Does in Colorado, using lawyer Sanjin Mutic of the “Mile High Law Office.” And… even with New Years, it took just over a week for the court to dump 104 of those John Does from the lawsuit, and to suggest to PHE that the court is no fan of abusing the judicial system as a part of a business model. After noting some cases where judges had found joinder appropriate and many others where it was not, the judge made it clear he agreed with those that said it was not. He then provided a number of other reasons to dismiss all but one John Doe, including the fact that there was little to no benefit to anyone to having them all joined in a single case, especially since each defendant may have very different and very fact specific defenses that would require separate processes. And, then, towards the end, the court made it clear that it knew what these cases are really about:

Finally, the Court is troubled by many aspects of this “swarm joinder” model for copyright litigation. Courts across the country have observed that the companies involved in this type of litigation do not seem interested in actually litigating their copyright claims. Rather, they appear to be using the federal courts only to obtain identifying information for the ISP owners and then attempting to negotiate a quick settlement…. In finding joinder improper in a similar action, one court observed:

The federal courts are not cogs in plaintiff’s copyright enforcement business model. The Court will not idly watch what is essentially an extortion scheme, for a case that plaintiff has no intention of bringing to trial. By requiring Malibu to file separate lawsuits for each of the Doe Defendants, Malibu will have to expend additional resources to obtain a nuisance-value settlement—making this type of litigation less profitable. If Malibu desires to vindicate its copyright rights, it must do it the old-fashioned way and earn it….

…. The Court fully agrees with the concerns expressed by these other judges and finds that this is yet another basis for requiring that Plaintiff litigate its copyright claim against each John Doe Defendant individually.

Oh, and the ultimate bit of irony? The movie in question was “Buffy the Vampire Slayer XXX: A Parody.” Now, we’re all for parodies being protected from being considered infringement, but it really seems to be pushing the irony meter when the movie itself was created by relying on fair use rules to get around being copyright infringement, to then use it go on a copyright trolling binge.

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Companies: adam and eve, mile high law office, phe inc.

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Comments on “Company Behind Adam & Eve Discovers Quickly That Courts Are Now Hip To Copyright Trolling”

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G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

This guy (Sanjic) intrigues me since he allegedly also holds a very niche degree of Bachelors of Science (Medical Physics) that he completed before he did his JD.

This would mean that he understands forensic techniques and therefore has no fallback on not knowing that any IP address he uses for his Does does not in any way shape nor form equate to his opinion that there might of been infringing usage using that specific Ip at that specific time.

There’s a professional ethics problem if I have ever seen one.

And pookie??? “fucknuckle” is my term of choice 😉

New Mexico Mark says:

Re: Re: Re:

I have mixed feelings about this. When people game the system with no regard to the real consequences to real people, it might “bring it home” to have the spotlight turned on them for a while. Roaches really hate that.

Naming and shaming can be a powerful force. The problem is that the Internet can turn this into an amplification attack far out of proportion to the original offense.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I share the mixed feelings, but then I’ve seen first hand how these scum operate.

I know of at least 2 porn outfits who got into trolling and were pretty angry when suddenly their shoot house was outed to the neighborhood.

I think sending a letter to someone saying your guilty and I’m going to get $150,000 unless you pay me now $3-6000 and if you don’t then your name is going to be attached to pron is foul.
They enjoy using the power to embarrass people, to get paid.
If they have a problem with someone associating them with porn and extortion, they might be in the wrong business.
The evidence is slim at best, and these cases are not meant to go to trial, they are about extracting cash from the person who pays a bill, guilty or not. They can NEVER know who actually did it, and don’t care. They just want money and will do what it takes to get paid.

Once upon a time after a national tragedy 1 man stood outside Westboro with a simple sign… Not Today Fred. It did much more than all of the screaming before or after it. Sometimes the best action to take is simple.

One of the John Does says:

So how to best proceed if we get a letter from our ISP?

So I received a letter from my ISP regarding this (Purzel Video GMBH v. Does 1-44) with Lesko as the law firm. The cover letter from my ISP says I can object to the court and .cc the ISP. I’m going to call the ISP to get more information since the letter to me and subpoena to teh ISP was quite generic and didn’t have much specific information in it. But how best to proceed? Object to the court and ISP? Just go to the hearing? Wait and see if it is dismissed before the court date? I don’t think the third alternative is the best one though. The second probbaly isn’t too much better unless I can raise any doubt or confusion into their argument.


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