Take Note: Copyright Troll Gets Stiff Response From Someone It Tried To Bully, Immediately Runs Away

from the bully-the-bully dept

It should be well-known by readers of this site that copyright trolls are essentially bullies. They send out their settlement threat letters, hoping to extort money from a public that typically doesn’t know better than to be terrified by the legalese claims within the letters. It’s a practice fraught with deception, as the evidence referenced in the letters typically amounts to nothing more than an IP address — which itself may or may not be correct — while the threats themselves can often times include consequences not remotely plausible. Still, the bullying goes on, because it works enough to make it profitable.

That’s why it’s important to highlight how these bullies tend to respond when a target decides to stand up to them. Much like the bullies we’ve had in our personal lives, they tend to run away as quickly as possible. One recent example of this is James Collins, who received a troll letter from LHF Productions, the company behind the movie London Has Fallen. The company accused Collins of both downloading the movie via BitTorrent, as well as then making it available to others via the same means. Rather than acquiescing, however, Collins got himself a lawyer and had him punch back.

In a letter obtained by the troll watchers over at DieTrollDie, Collins’ lawyer J. Christopher Lynch informs LHF lawyer David A. Lowe of this stance in no uncertain terms.

“As Mr. Collins told you in his letter dated October 6, 2016, he is innocent. Mr. Collins was asleep on the date at the time the Amended Complaint accuses him of being ‘observed infringing’,” Lynch writes. “Likewise, Mr. Collins has no secondary liability because he never aided, directed, facilitated, benefitted from, or shared in the proceeds of any violations of the law by anyone. We are optimistic that your client and its foreign representatives will see the wisdom of dismissing Mr. Collins. We recognize this requires ‘taking our word’ that Mr. Collins is wholly innocent, but, believe me, he is, just like he told you he is.”

That bit about foreign representatives is important. Many of the companies that send out these threat letters rely on foreign groups to do the IP address tracking on which the threats rely. Any ancillary “evidence” of the infringement is typically also compiled by these foreign groups. That’s actually something of a problem for the copyright troll, as the foreign group then becomes the “witness” to the infringement, and witnesses both can be called into court to testify and, in the case of those acting as investigators, face licensing requirements in some areas. Lynch further hammers this home in his letter to LHF Productions.

“Your client’s foreign representatives could have complied with Washington law by hiring a licensed investigator to corroborate the foreign investigation in real time, since the purported location of the entrapped IP addresses is known,” he writes. “But your client’s representatives chose not to invest in compliance with Washington law, and are taking a chance that somehow the foreign witness to the ‘observed infringing’ can testify, and that somehow the entrapped ‘blip’ of the movie in question will be sufficient evidence of U.S. copyright infringement.”

Had everything been done on the level by the copyright troll and its foreign associates, this language ought to have had no impact on the troll’s actions. Good evidence and a justifiable case deserves its day in court, after all. That makes it all the more telling what LHF Productions did instead.

As noted by DieTrollDie, that threat proved too much for LHF Productions. The company dismissed the case against Mr Collins in preference to being put under the microscope. There are probably very good reasons for that and ones that other recipients of threatening letters should consider exploring.

Remember, friends, bullies tend to run away when someone stands up to them. If the majority of the public were aware of stories like these, copyright trolling would stop due to its lack of profitability.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: lhf productions

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 “Take Note: Copyright Troll Gets Stiff Response From Someone It Tried To Bully, Immediately Runs Away”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Imagine my total shock…
the only thing missing now is other stakeholders in London Has Fallen asking about the income from this endeavor, and being lead on & lied to about any of it.

Of course one will also have to wonder his the empty holding company shell bringing the case actually a. exists & b. holds any rights to the film in question (some people think they can still hand off the right to sue)

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: "bullies tend to run away when someone stands up to them"

Which is why the final sentence in the article is, and will remain, nothing more than a pleasant pipe-dream for the foreseeable future.

Sure standing up to the parasites, making it clear that if they take it to court they will be forced to present their ‘evidence’ is almost certain to send them packing and looking for easier marks the vast majority of the time, but most of the marks they target can’t afford to fight back like that, to put aside a hefty chunk of money just in case or even just to hire a lawyer to take the case and send the letter in the first place. The parasites know this full well which is why they’re so confident in sending out extortion letters(because let’s be honest, that’s what they are) en-mass.

No, instead of expecting the marks to be able to do something most can’t do, the better solution would be to hit the parasites directly. Sending out extortion letters shouldn’t get a pass just because ‘copyright’ is slapped somewhere on the letter. If someone wouldn’t get a blind-eye(if not flat out *encouragement) by the legal system for indiscriminately sending out letters accusing people of breaking the law and demanding payment to ‘make the problem go away’, then simply pretending it’s about ‘copyright enforcement’ shouldn’t suddenly make it acceptable to do.

First idea that comes to mind: Make it so that it’s easy to file for declaratory judgement on such cases, such that the parasite cannot just duck out, and is required to pay all legal costs. Make it actually risky for them to operate, and hit the parasites, not the victims.

OldMugwump (profile) says:

Re: "bullies tend to run away when someone stands up to them"

It does not require a lawyer to send a letter. Just a stamp.

The necessary text is a Google search away – TechDirt is a good source, as is dietrolldie.com and similar sites.

If you want to have rights, you need to be willing to defend them. Rights that aren’t exercised and defended quickly cease to exist.

Grow some balls.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: "bullies tend to run away when someone stands up to them"

True or false: Someone else using your wireless means you’re liable for what they’ve done.

True or False: If your IP address is ‘involved’ in copyright infringement you have to prove that you didn’t do it.

True or False: There exists technology sufficiently advanced and accurate enough that they can determine who is involved in copyright infringement based upon IP address.

True or False: The penalties for copyright infringement for one song or one movie can reach up to $150,000.

True or False: Ripping a CD, or buying a song and sending a copy to a friend/family member to listen to is sufficient to invoke the above penalty.

True of False: Going to court is a costly affair whether you win or lose, and ‘winning’ against a charge of copyright infringement is (by design) going to cost just slightly more than simply paying the demand.

It’s easy to say ‘grow some balls’ when you’re…

1) Not the one on the receiving end of a threat for bankruptcy-level penalties(not to mention possible legal fees)…

2) Familiar with just how incredibly weak the ‘evidence’ of the trolls tends to be, and how little legal standing/chance they actually have in court…

and 3) Familiar with their standard practice of cutting and running when the target fights back.

For those not so ‘blessed’ their first reaction upon being presented with what appears to be a very legal document talking about evidence sufficient for a finding of guilt in court, and the insane penalties that finding of guilt(or more often ‘guilt’) could have on them is not going to be ‘Oh, this is clearly bogus, I’ll just look for a response letter online and shoot it back and the problem will be over with’, it’s going to be more along the lines of ‘Oh shit, even if I win this because I know I’m innocent I’m still going to be out a ton of money’.

Compare it to a ‘game’ of russian roulette. Those familiar with the extortion con may be aware that the gun/threats are empty, but those not so in the know are being told that it is loaded and if they fight back rather than pay up they will be forced to put it to their head and pull the trigger, unless they pay in which case they can forget it was ever mentioned. It’s easy to be ‘brave’ when you know the gun isn’t loaded, not so easy when as far as you know it’s loaded and it’s your life(financial or literal) on the line.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: "bullies tend to run away when someone stands up to them"

False – That tugboat has sailed.
False – Seriously?
False – The super secret magic black boxes aren’t real tech.
Trueish – They can request a reward of $150K, but that closes the door to filing more cases. They get a $150K once per work. They show this number more so to scare people into paying a few thousand.
Trueish – winning against a copyright troll is difficult because they have made a practice of dropping the case when things look bad so they can deny their target of being the winner & eligible for recovering their costs. They figure a few thousand will entice most people into just paying them to go away & avoid the nightmare of Trolls harassing you.

But then I’ve been doing this for a VERY long time & advising people to calm the hell down & understand whats happening and make the decision that works for them.

We have lawyers offering “package” deals to handle some of the trolls. They understand not everyone has spare thousands, and the trolls cases are cookie cutter so why not respond with cookie cutter replies?

We have people who for their own reasons opt to settle, still like them to use a lawyer to make sure they don’t get screwed in the future.

Bullies don’t always run away, sometimes they sue you in 3 jurisdictions but are so stupid they destroy their own cases before any evidence can be heard.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 "bullies tend to run away when someone stands up to them"

Yeah, the T/F questions were more posed as something the trolls would present or at least insinuate as fact in order to scare people into paying.

For example if they can get people to think that yes they absolutely can accurately identify someone engaged in copyright infringement, and yes if someone uses your wireless you are on the hook even someone who knows without a doubt that they didn’t download something might be scared into paying because someone might have used their wireless to do so.

The questions were less ‘these are the facts’, and more ‘these are the kinds of things the trolls would present as facts in order to frighten someone into paying.’ People who follow what sort of things the trolls do, their tactics and how they get slapped down when they get pinned down would know better, but for those not in the know the law is so screwed up(copyright more so than most) that for all they know all of those are true.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 "bullies tend to run away when someone stands up to them"

It is a force of habit for me.
I see the misleading, and I have to clear it up.

Another thing is that you have no ‘duty’ to secure your wifi, or to offer up every possible person it could be. (Because if they are willing to make you give up someone as the target, they will totally try to get you for contributing to it).

When I started fighting against trolls it was way more fun.
They were very stupid & thought they could out-think me.
Now you get the 4th coming of the trolls who think they are totally smarter than the last generation, using the same arguments & threats you’ve been exposing as lies…

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 "bullies tend to run away when someone stands up to them"

No worries, I can understand how my comment might come across that way, especially as I was deliberately coaching it in a confusing/misleading fashion so as to match the tactics employed by the parasites, to better highlight how they prey on the ignorance of their targets.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: "bullies tend to run away when someone stands up to them"

Exactly this.

I’ve responded to various legal threats for other reasons, as well as taken a number of companies to the small claims court, I’m in the UK, with great success.

It just takes a bit of time to do the proper research and you’d be amazed at the response you’ll get from a well written and legal sounding letter you’ve written yourself.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: "bullies tend to run away when someone stands up to them"

Pardon me but…

DTD, SJD, Myself and anyone else who battles copyright trolls never tell people to go it alone. Actual lawsuits are way different than shakedown letters from CEGTEK & RIGHTSCORP.

We let them know why this is a scam, & remind them to calm down. Trolls want you so upset that you just cave.

The trolls will use every trick possible, & if you don’t have a lawyer saying shut up you can fall into 100s of traps & end up screwing yourself.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It is out dated sadly.
Courts sort of woke up to trolling being a scam, but a majority of the time still go through the legal motions.
Rare is the Judge (although a few recently) who asks how the hell milliseconds of recorded data proves the accused did it, they actually got the full file, and in some cases why allowing them to invade someones life when the absence of evidence supporting the claims will be used to claim they must have done it and hid it really well.
And then they drop the case without prejudice to avoid having to pay legal fees for those they accused based on a millisecond.

anonymous coward says:

"bullies tend to run away when someone stands up to them"

This is an urban myth. Sometimes bullies run away when confronted.

Not infrequently, they go get one or more cronies to help. Bullies know that numbers are an advantage. Two (or more) can overwhelm opposition. Typically they either split the proceeds or it becomes a matter of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”. Other times, they pull out weaponry.

Don’t believe this myth. Be careful of bullies, sometimes they run, other times they can be damn dangerous. ALWAYS, be prepared to fight for you life when confronting bullies.

Remember too, the most vicious bullies are the part of authorities. Bullying with a badge is why bullies join the authorities.

Been there (the target), done that. AC.

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...