Malibu Media Seeks Order Forbidding Defendants From Discussing 'Copyleft' Blog Content

from the cf.-circular-reasoning dept

Copyright troll Malibu Media would prefer the many courtrooms it uses as speculative invoicing middlemen to be free of disparaging statements. To that end, it has filed a motion that specifically asks that certain blogs not be brought up nor discussed nor quoted extensively from by the defendant or his counsel. (h/t to Raul)

The Court should preclude Defendant from referring to copyleft blogs for any purpose, including specifically references to and Plaintiff expects Defendant may attempt to reference these blogs at trial in an effort to introduce unsubstantiated allegations against Plaintiff. The blogs target Plaintiff and its counsel with vitriolic hate speech and contain comments that are biased, slanderous, and prejudicial, and should not be referred to at trial for any purpose. “Many internet blogs commenting on this and related cases ignore the rights of copyright owners to sue for infringement, and inappropriately belittle efforts of copyright owners to seek injunctions and damages.” Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1, 6, 13, 14, 950 F. Supp. 2d 779, 781 (E.D. Pa. 2013).

Yes, we can’t have sites that expose the immoral and illegal activities of copyright trolls exposing the immoral and illegal activities of copyright trolls, can we? We’ll just have to see what the judge has to say about this exclusionary motion. And in support of its allegations about the content of these blogs, Malibu Media cites a friendly footnote from one of its rare wins [p. 2] — a derogatory phrase penned by Judge Michael Baylson and co-opted in its entirety by Dallas Buyers Club for use in its threatening letters to alleged infringers.

Rather hilariously, Malibu Media uses an infrequently-used term to describe these blogs, in an equally-sad attempt to appear evenhanded.

Plaintiff, Malibu Media, LLC (“Plaintiff”) by and through undersigned counsel, hereby moves for the entry of an order precluding Defendant Michael Harrison (“Defendant”) and his counsel from referring to copyleft blogs at trial for any purpose…

Sensing the court may not be familiar with the concept of “copyleft,” it is more fully described in the attached footnote:

“Copyleft” is the polite way of describing an anti-copyright ideology. “Freetards” is the degrading equivalent of “copyright trolls” when used in association with copyright producers.

With this handy guide to the nuances of the copyright debate now on the record, the case can presumably proceed safely. According to Malibu, the blogs that have long tracked its legal efforts have “no probative value” and the mere mention of the forbidden sites may “provoke” jurors into browsing these blogs during their downtime… which obviously won’t win Malibu any new fans favorable jurors.

All in all, it’s pretty much a vindication of the efforts made by Fight Copyright Trolls and Die Troll Die. If these were nothing more than storehouses for hyperbolic statements and woodchipper discussions, it’s highly unlikely Malibu would be attempting to preemptively banish them from court.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: malibu media, xart

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 “Malibu Media Seeks Order Forbidding Defendants From Discussing 'Copyleft' Blog Content”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
John William Nelson (profile) says:

Motions in Limine; not properly used here

A pre-emptive use of a motion in liming (which this is, even if not styled as such) can be useful.

However, a blanket ban on use of this material is not proper. The material should be excluded if it is not relevant or is hearsay (or both), but that determination probably can’t be made until much later in the case.

Christenson says:

Multiple Satisfaction Rule

Hopefully, Harrison just pulls up all the court documents from FCT and DTD…and asks how all those legal filings and settlements comport with the single satisfaction rule!

That way, FCT and DTD’s blogs do lots of damage…by the facts the let the defense access. Defendant doesn’t have to mention that those sites were handy indices!

Oh, and “copyleft” my foot….these are anti-trolls, not copyleftists…I see no GPL on either site!

Hopefully Harrison can also prove the unclean hands part.

Anonymous Coward says:

but I thought IP extremists were in favor of “a discussion involving seemingly incompatible and diametrically opposed views”

HAH!!! That’s why the government protected (ie: via broadcasting and cableco monopolies) mainstream media has always only presented their ridiculously indefensible side of the debate when they think they can get away with it, it’s why pro-IP blogs either restrict comments and I’ve even remember seeing one blog at one time outright delete a comment it doesn’t like because it doesn’t agree with it (though it’s not worth searching for it) while blogs like Techdirt and other blogs that IP extremists hate do allow open comments.

IP extremists resort to subverting the democratic process to get what they want (ie: buying politicians and regulators, secretive meetings where only they are invited) and they are nothing but a bunch of anti-free speech tyrants that we would all be better off without.

retrogamer (profile) says:

By the way, aren’t they implying that Judge Black from OHSD referred to them using a derogatory term if you follow their line of reasoning? A well respected federal judge referring to you in a derogatory manner isn’t exactly something to write home about. I had a feeling Judge Black wasn’t going to let them get by with their shenanigans, even if he didn’t go full Judge Wright, I’m really glad we have him in our district.

John David Galt (profile) says:

I think you are misusing the term "copyleft".

“Copyleft” has nothing to do with copyright trolls (unless you take the extreme position that all content owners are trolls). “Copyleft” refers to Richard Stallman’s philosophy, which more or less expresses his desire to make it impossible for anyone to earn a living from royalties.

By all means, let’s defeat copyright trolls, but let’s not conflate all opposition to them with Stallman’s movement.

And by the way: I notice that Malibu Media’s court motion left out the last “t” in the domain name . So if the court grants the motion, their opponents can still refer to the actual name.

mcinsand (profile) says:

frivolously crying slander should be a form of slander

>>”…comments that are biased, slanderous, and

IANAL, so please help me to understand how this does not give the copyleft sites cause to sue for slander. If Malibu’s assembly actually thought that the comments were slander, well, there are laws against slander. At the very least, I would expect competent lawyers to begin some sort of legal proceedings.

On the other hand, if someone were to be falsely accusing me of slander, I would like to think that a good lawyer could help me to sue for slander, especially if I were not engaging in such.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: frivolously crying slander should be a form of slander

While they could possibly sue for libel/slander, they’d probably have a difficult time winning the case in court. That “The blogs target Plaintiff and its counsel with vitriolic hate speech and contain comments that are biased, slanderous, and prejudicial,” rises to the level of libel.

Plus it would likely be difficult for the blogs to both sue for slander, and remain anonymous. For the blogs in questions, remaining anonymous is fairly desirable. For that matter, I’m not even sure you can slander/libel an anonymous person as far as the courts are concerned. It’s rather difficult to damage the reputation of a person whose identity is unknown.

sophisticatedjanedoe (profile) says:

Re: Re: frivolously crying slander should be a form of slander

What libelslander are you talking about? I think of this motion as a form of flattery and a validation that my humble effort was not in vain.

On a serious note, of course they can inflict a ton of damage by a mere fact of suing me (even if suing critics for defamation is always an uphill battle, to put it charitably), but on the other hand, discovery is a two-way street… Mutual Assured Distraction.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: frivolously crying slander should be a form of slander

Well, unless otherwise barred as a vexatious litigant, anyone can file a lawsuit for anything. In this case, the one bringing the suit would have a very steep hill to climb. The vitriolic statement is certainly unprofessional, but ultimately it’s still an opinion, despite being twisted from Stallman’s intent. Copyleft is a philosophy on copyright licensing while the BSD, GPL, etc. are the actual license names. Copyleft cannot exist without copyright.

GMacGuffin (profile) says:

"Unringing the bell..."

To be fair, the Motion in Limine is just preemptive evidentiary objection — a way to alert the court that opposition may try to introduce prejudicial or otherwise inadmissible evidence. Because if it comes up for the first time before a jury, and the judge rules it inadmissible, then it’s hard to “unring the bell” in the jury’s mind. (They might go look at the blogs, which is improper and grounds for a new trial if discovered anyway.)

And I don’t see how these third-party anti-troll blogs (which I read) would have much in the way of admissible evidence anyway. 1) It would all be hearsay, so likely inadmissible for the truth of the statements in the blogs. 2) Courts generally want the focus on the parties’ acts in this case, not their behavior outside (unless directly relevant). 3) To the extent the blogs reference court rulings, those rulings can admissible as the subject of judicial notice. But a blogger’s take on it would generally not be admissible.

So … not defending Malibu Scumfuck Media in any way, the Motion in Limine is probably a prudent tactical move (assuming there is actually a trial on the horizon).

As noted elsewhere, courts don’t like to operate in a vacuum, and would likely defer any decision until getting more info on potentially proffered evidence.

Stoatwblr (profile) says:

Re: Re: "Unringing the bell..."

“But if you exclude truth and justice from the court room, what’s the point of having a court in the first place?”

Sorry, you are confused.

It’s not a justice system. It never was a justice system.

It’s a LEGAL system. Justice only peripherally enters the frame. This is pretty much the first thing taught in Introductory Law 101

WRT the “slanderous” statements – as far as I can tell those would be the previous judgements quoted on those sites and as such they’re legally protected reports of events in a courtroom (You are immune from defamation proceedings for anything uttered in court or in parliament/congress – yes, really)

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...