US Piracy Lawsuits Shoot Out Of The 2018 Gates As The Malibu Media 'Coaching Tree' Spreads Its Seeds
from the more-to-write-about? dept
For those of you not interested in professional sports, allow me to educate you on the concept of the “coaching tree.” This concept comes from the common decisions by losing teams to hire junior coaches out from under the head coaches of successful teams, hoping to siphon off some of the genius of more successful organizations. In football, for instance, you will often hear about the “Andy Reid coaching tree” as his assistants get head coaching jobs across the league after serving underneath him.
Sadly, a much more sinister version of this appears to be occurring in the copyright trolling space, with Malibu Media serving as a launching point for legal minds joining other organizations and replicating what they’ve learned from their former employer. The result has been an explosion in copyright lawsuits for the early part of 2018, with most of them coming from the porn-trolling industry.
According to Lex Machina, there were 1,019 file-sharing cases filed in the United States last year, which is an average of 85 per month. More than half of these came from adult entertainment outfit Malibu Media (X-Art), which alone was good for 550 lawsuits.
While those are decent numbers, they could easily be shattered this year. Data collected by TorrentFreak shows that during the first month of 2018, three copyright holders filed a total of 286 lawsuits against alleged pirates. That’s three times more than the monthly average for 2017.
As the TorrentFreak post goes on to note, while Malibu Media is still leading the way in these lawsuits, a company called Strike 3 Holdings is keeping pace with them, 138 lawsuits for the former and 133 for the latter. The rest of the companies that have filed suits against BitTorrent infringers are other porn-related organizations, save for Bodyguard Productions, which sues over the pirating of the Hitman: Bodyguard film. Interestingly, it seems that this significant uptick in the lawsuit rate has been driven by former Malibu Media employees finding new professional landing spots.
While Strike 3 Holdings is a relative newcomer, their cases follow a similar pattern. There are also clear links to Malibu Media, as one of the company’s former lawyers, Emilie Kennedy, now works as in-house counsel at Strike 3.
This comes at the same time that some courts are pushing back on these trolling efforts. Between some courts describing their tactics as harassing to questioning seriously the evidence that the trolls present to the court, this is the exact wrong time for the court system to suddenly be clogged with Malibu Media-trained legal minds hell bent on trolling for settlement dollars.
The only good that might come out of this, should this lawsuit pace continue, is a public recognition that these trolling operations need to be stopped.