Copyright Troll Lawsuit Ends Badly Because Very Dumb Defendant Lied To Court, Destroyed Evidence

from the you-don't-do-that dept

We’ve pointed out before how stupid it was for people like Jammie Thomas and Joel Tenenbaum to fight the copyright infringement lawsuits launched against them. In Tenenbaum’s case it was monumentally stupid, because he flat out lied to the court and then had to admit it in court. You don’t do that. Lying to a court is not only stupid in general, but it completely taints any underlying issues that may actually be important, and predisposes the judge against you. There are often good reasons to fight back against copyright lawsuits, but if you actually infringed and then lied about it that’s a really bad reason to fight back.

Unfortunately, it looks like there was a similar situation in one of the big copyright trolling cases last week. Last fall, we wrote about how Judge Michael Baylson decided to force a group of Malibu Media copyright trolling cases to trial, after it became apparent that Malibu Media didn’t seem particularly interested in going through with a trial (similar to most copyright trolls). Unfortunately, it then came out that one of the “selected” defendants lied, committing perjury, and (on top of that) destroyed the evidence. This is just ridiculously stupid.

In the end, all of the defendants “settled,” but the case still had a sort of sham trial. Yes, there was no reason for the trial, since everyone basically settled, but the lawyer for Malibu, Keith Lipscomb, asked the court to enter a “final judgment.” That basically allowed the judge to rail against the stupid defendant who lied and destroyed evidence (who deserves to be yelled at by the court for his actions), but it also now allows Lipscomb to use the “judgment” of $112,500 to threaten many others who are not in the same situation as the guy who lost. There’s a good summary from lawyer John Whitaker, who found the whole thing baffling.

In sum, all of the defendants stipulated to liability before the trial. Plaintiff had already agreed not to seek damages against two of the three defendants. The third defendant stipulated to liability. Malibu Media and the third defendant asked the judge to enter a finding on damages, even though they had already agreed on what he would pay.

So there was absolutely nothing at issue during the trial. Not liability. Not damages. Nothing.

Then there was the ‘trial’ itself. The only party to actually put on a witness was Malibu Media. None of the defendants even cross-examined a witness. Really?

What kind of trial is it where the defendant doesn’t challenge any of the plaintiff’s witnesses or even put on any witnesses of its own? A sham, that’s what.

So why was there even a trial? I have no idea.

Well, actually, he points out, everyone knows why:

It was all about Malibu Media trying to get Judge Baylson to write a document that Malibu Media could use in all its demand letters from now on. I’ll point out that, to his credit, Judge Baylson had to tell Lipscomb numerous times that he would not be Lipscomb’s advertising spokesman. I think what he said was he wasn’t interested in writing anything that was “commercially valuable” to Malibu Media.

If the goal wasn’t to be “commercially valuable” to Malibu, it looks like it failed. In the aftermath of the ruling, Malibu Media filed dozens of new trolling lawsuits. Yes, the defendant deserved to lose. Infringing by downloading the work, then lying about it to the court and destroying evidence should be punished. But it’s a shame that all it’s doing in this case is enabling more copyright trolling shakedown behavior.

Bad cases make bad law, and this was clearly a bad case, which was made even worse by the actions of that particular defendant. I’m not saying he should have gotten off free, but the end result here is going to lead many others to feel obligated to pay up when they probably shouldn’t.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: malibu media

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Copyright Troll Lawsuit Ends Badly Because Very Dumb Defendant Lied To Court, Destroyed Evidence”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
PopeyeLePoteaux says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”
?Mark Twain

Thats why Mike or me or anyone else dont want to try to have a reasonable debate with you, you are irrational, and debating with irrational people only makes the whole debate irrational.

PopeyeLePoteaux says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“You don’t debate me because you know I mop the floor with you”

“Don?t argue with idiots because they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”
?Greg King

Yeah, you will mop the floor with me in this idiocy contest of yours, you got the experience. 😉

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I prefer these rough versions (don’t recall original quotes):

“Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

“Arguing with a fool is like wrestling with a pig in mud. You with only get dirty and the pig actually enjoys it.”

Both are usually applicable to the trolls here, although I admit to arguing with them anyway sometimes just to point out how wrong/pathologically lying/borderline insane they usually are.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

On this site? I’d like to see a citation that any comments have actually been blocked or removed (no, hiding them one click away at the request of the community doesn’t count).

At worst, there’s been some whining that some comments haven’t show up immediately due to them ending up in the spam filter, but these usually turn up eventually and have real acceptable reasons why the filter would have caught them (several links in an anonymous comment, for example).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Actually, it wouldn’t qualify as censorship even if it really were going on. You see, this is Mike’s site. Mike has control over what does and does not get printed on his site. That is his right, like it or not. Of course, he chooses to let you ‘people’ keep posting your nonsensical attacks, and leaving the hiding of these comments (note, that still doesn’t qualify as censorship) to the rest of the community.

Masnick = Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

At least Mike is man enough to use his own name and not hide behind a cowardly veil of anonymity. You will never have any credibility as an AC. Punk.

Says the idiot using a fake name. I’m anonymous and I can sweep the floor with Mike. He’s such a little chicken shit that he’s too scared to ever try and match wits with me. I don’t even have to log in and everyone knows it’s me. I fucking own Mike. He’s so fucking scared of me he has to block my IP.

David Lowery says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It’s not a fake name idiot. I don’t know why you come here, your incendiary ranting only drives eyeballs to this site. Mike calmly, directly refutes your inane, profane, blathering screeds, making you look like the raving lunatic coward that you are. Do you think you are changing anyone’s mind? You are just a pitiful object of derision.
I, however, look forward to your posts. Because no matter how bad things are for me, at least I’m not you. Apparently you get off on being belittled, hated and ridiculed. If that is what you seek out every day, you are a sad little sociopath. I pity you.

Masnick = Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

When do you ever argue ANYTHING on it’s merits. All I ever read is you whining about Mike not arguing you on the merits. Try forming a cogent argument sometime. You might be surprised. I know I would.

I discuss the merits all the time. See, e.g.,

It’s Mike the Coward that has to block my IP address because he HATES how I can discuss the merits and he can only spread idiotic FUD.

out_of_the_blue says:

I've said MANY times that awards are excessive.

112,000 — though guess we don’t know much defendant actually paid — is too much. Sould be in the range of traffic tickets.

This is the famous “bellweather” case! If you’ll take the link, you’ll see that I wrote there was WITH Mike on view.

But I do have questions here: “Infringing by downloading the work, then lying about it to the court and destroying evidence should be punished.”

1) Should infringement on its own be punished? Not THIS much, but you loaded it with conditions up there, so YES OR NO on just PLAIN infringement?

2) IF Mike answers yes, then a far more serious one for the fanboys: MIKE SUPPORTS COPYRIGHT! What are you pirates doing here?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: I've said MANY times that awards are excessive.

Regarding #1, I’d say yes, but unless someone is literally making money from the infringement(in which case fine them for 150% of how much they made and be done with it), never for more than say 10x as much as the sale price of the item in question(statutory damages of course are right out, prove the damages or like any other crime the charges should be dismissed).

So download an album that sells for $15, max fine would be $150, not the thousands(if you’re lucky) that it currently is.

Put simply, the act of simply downloading a file should not be considered a crime serious enough to financially ruin someone for the rest of their life; people who commit crimes with verifiable harm get off lighter than that.

Regarding #2, yes, he does, so what? What he, and almost everyone here other than the copyright abolitionists are against is not copyright itself, but abuses of it and how insane it has gotten, not the core idea itself.

Pragmatic says:

Re: I've said MANY times that awards are excessive.

Blue, he never said he didn’t, and no amount of ad hominem attacks will make you right about anything. Mike is reasonable, not an all-or-nothing extremist.

Few of us regulars differ with him over his reasonable, fair-minded approach. We just get annoyed when the maximalists go over the top.

NOW do you get it?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

TechDirt – I know you block spam, but, for some reason, you have not blocked this crap.
This AC’s posts are repetitive, not related to the content of the blog, irritating, and irrelevant! They seem to be a very bad personal promotional campaign for for a deranged individual. The posts certainly meet my definition of spam.

Anonymous Coward says:

the end result here is going to lead many others to feel obligated to pay up when they probably shouldn’t

No it isn’t.

It isn’t going to do anything of the sort. You just made that up. No intelligent lifeform is going to pay/admit guilt for something they had no connection to.

If they’re guilty tho, they’ll pay.

And that’s what really upsets you and your paymasters at Google.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So in your world no ones ever been fired from a job based on allegations alone.
No one has ever been terminated for their porn habits.

The burden is on the accused to prove a negative, that they did not infringe. And when lawyers start talking about bothering all of your neighbors asking if they downloaded some of the “high quality art” using your connection… yeah.

You really suck at this. I mean kudos for getting me to respond, but in the end your still just an impotent little man raging as loud as you can about a world you don’t understand.

Anonymous Coward says:

Talking about ending badly.

Glenn Britt’s told in public that they dowright pay or threaten content producers to keep content out of reach of competitors, now the DOJ is apparently looking into the matter, it probably ends with nothing, but it shows you just can’t run your mouth bragging about how anti-competitive you are.

At least not for now, we have fallen a lot but you can’t just say you are a monopolist and will do whatever to stop competition from rising.

Masnick = Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Post away. I love that link. That’s just Mike making excuses. Why won’t Mike answer even the most simple question about his posts or his beliefs? It’s not because of me. It’s because Mike is a total fake and a total coward. He is scared shitless of me. Mike could prove me wrong by having one honest discussion with me where he doesn’t run away and use weasel words. It won’t happen. Ever. Why? Because Mike is incapable of honesty. All he knows how to do is pump out FUD for clicks. He can’t hold his own in a debate with me on the merits. I know it. He knows it. Everyone knows it. It would be so easy to prove me wrong. Yet he doesn’t. Hmm… I love this place. I shit all over Mike right in his own home, calling him out and challenging him, and he’s just too scared to take me on. I love it.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

looks down
Does that sad excuse for a hardon come in the adult size?

I am assuming your the same asswipe who runs around demanding Mike debate you then mocking him because you claim he won’t… but when he challenges you directly and answers things you keep moving the goal posts trying to pretend he isn’t actual paying attention to you.

So other than getting your nut off this evening did you have anything to add or did you just stop by to blow your sad little troll load and fuck off?

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Pathetic troll is pathetic. He thinks “Debate” means “agree with.”

I’d have blocked him ages ago, but as I pointed out on another post, I think Mike lets them roam free here to prove his point: maximalists have no better arguments than the trolls who pop up here making animal noises and spouting tinfoil hat FUD when they’re not dismissing genuine concerns.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

why won’t you admit that you cheat on all of your exams.

You still have not proven that you are not a cheat.

Your understanding of copyright and it’s associated laws suggest that you need your mommy to read them to you. you should get her to explain what it means as well as just read it to you

Bob says:

You're just repeating their lies

Yeah, Mike. The behavior of the defendant would make a lot more sense if you weren’t just parroting the RIAA’s long disproven talking points as a factual version of events, a version of events that’s only ever brought up again by people who believe their million-dollar legal team’s poetic interpretation of the truth.

Rick Smith (profile) says:

Someone needs to investigate...

Given my suspicious nature (which is in overdrive at the moment) I would really make sure that there is not a prior relationship between Malibu Media and this “selected” defendant just to make sure that nothing hinky was going on. The outcome of this was just a little too good for the copyright troll, my experience is that luck like that just doesn’t happen naturally, it usually has help.

sophisticatedjanedoe says:

Re: Someone needs to investigate...

It is always suspicious when such incredible luck strikes a troll (instead of a well-deserved lightning 🙂 … yet since I watched this case carefully, I’m pretty sure there was no foul play. Lipscomb is smarter than Steele, but not smart enough to pull such machination. I read all the Doe 16’s motions (attny Ron Smith) and there is simply no way they could be faked.

Lots and lots of Lipscomb’s douchebaggery took place during these months, and I’m stunned that he emerged unpunished. But we did not forget, and certainly did not forgive.

John Whitaker (profile) says:

Judge's Ruling nails it.

First, thanks for the plug. Second, I think the judge’s ruling today puts a final nail in this puppy. There is basically nothing new in it.

Personally, I guess I’m happy this is finally over. I’m pretty sure this ‘ruling’ is going to be trumpeted by Lipscomb for years to come. Still, it doesn’t mean anything to those of use who understand what actually happened. The problem is, most of the people who receive these threatening letters don’t understand what really happened.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...