Copyright Troll In Taiwan Accused Of Uploading Movies Itself To Entice, Sue, And Threaten ‘Pirates’

from the gon'-fishing dept

It’s no secret that copyright trolls have been a scourge on many countries for some time now. The typical method of the copyright troll is quite simple. You buy or acquire the rights to some media, you watch for any of that media to show up on the internet illicitly, and then you attempt to legal-fu the IP addresses out of ISPs or site hosts and then threaten those using those IPs with a lawsuit if they don’t pay a “settlement fee.” This scheme is problematic for any number of reasons: this isn’t how copyright laws were intended to work, IP addresses are not people representing guilty parties, there have been a ton of false positives, etc. etc. etc.

But one of the theories or questions that gets tossed around on occasion is: how do we know that the rightsholders themselves aren’t uploading the content themselves on a settlement fee fishing expedition? Well, one lawyer in Taiwan is accused by authorities of doing exactly that.

Prosecutors in Taiwan have indicted five men for running an operation that uploaded movies to the internet and then extorted cash settlements from the BitTorrent users who downloaded them. One of the men is former ultramarathon runner Kevin Lin, who founded a copyright consultancy company after graduating from law school in 2020.

According to reports, Lin’s company enticed users to download the torrents, tracked their IP addresses, and then filed copyright lawsuits in an effort to profit from cash settlements. Lin said that due to his support for the opposition government and his criticism of its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the investigation against him is politically motivated.

If true, the scheme spanned 18 movie titles. Not content to wait for the films to actually be pirated, Lin is accused of uploading the films. If that is the case, then obviously this is not piracy. The rightsholder appears to have released these films on torrent sites. Anyone downloading them would simply be taking what the rightsholder freely gave, and therefore licensed.

As with so many of these criminal schemes, it appears that Lin and his company may have gotten found out as a result of being simply too greedy and the scheme running too big.

Prosecutors are demanding heavy sentences for Lin and a lawyer identified by the surname Cheng, who played a key role in devising the litigation strategy. The company’s lawsuits overwhelmed the Intellectual Property Police Corps, other police agencies, and prosecutors’ offices, authorities say.

Is this the first time throughout the world this has ever happened? Obviously not. Nor does it excuse copyright infringement generally.

But what it certainly does is demonstrate how the current copyright enforcement mechanisms throughout the world are open for abuse.

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Comments on “Copyright Troll In Taiwan Accused Of Uploading Movies Itself To Entice, Sue, And Threaten ‘Pirates’”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Can't steal what's being freely offered

It’s like putting up a plate of cookies on a ‘Everything here is free’ table and then accusing and extortion money from anyone who grabs one by accusing them of theft.

This is extortion under the guise of ‘copyright’ plain and simple and hopefully they face some hefty penalties for it.

OGquaker says:

Taiwan a signatory since when?

In late 1977 a white limousine pulled up to my driveway, and a group of Taiwanese in white suits offered me $100k/year to come to their country and build R2D2s and C3P0s. I suggested that if… I would never work again in my country. They said no problem, Taiwan did not recognize copyrights.
Disclaimer: I was rebuilding the robots with new electrics, better batteries and US radio control in my garage at the time

Anonymous Coward says:

Few things worth noting, particularly where the parallels with Prenda and Malibu Media are evident.

One, there’s a few subtle differences between Truth and the aforementioned notorious trolls. Prenda was nailed to the wall for uploading their own produced content and failing to inform the court of their vested interests. Malibu was never actually proven to have seeded their own content; they just refused to observe basic protection practices. Truth seems to have taken even fewer precautions than Prenda did considering how quick it took enforcement agencies to uncover their scheme, which is nonetheless important – it sets a precedent that can be leveraged against any copyright enforcers looking for a quick buck.

Second, copyright trolling appears to be far less lucrative in Taiwan – citing the original article, “Since August 2021, Lin’s company filed 937 lawsuits for copyright infringement. In just 25 of those cases, the company managed to “extort” settlements of NT$900,000 (US$29,207)”. The volume of cases filed by Truth is about on par with Malibu Media (7,183 from 2012 to 2018), but if Leonard French’s insider suggestions are anything to go by, Malibu’s litigation campaign managed to net them millions of dollars in settlement money. Props to the Intellectual Property Police Corps at least for nipping these trolls in the bud, though it’s either alarming or funny that Taiwan has its own dedicated IP enforcement arm.

Third, “copyright cockroaches” is a bloody hilarious and appropriate name.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:


It was never proven against MM for 1 simple reason, they cut and run on those cases.

When a movie that has NEVER been made available to the public appears on a torrent site, the uploader comes from a really small group. When that group is actively abusing the copyright law to profit, it might just be an inference but if you are the only guy in town with a hot pink cadillac with bull horns and someone is run down by a hot pink cadillac with bull horns… it deserves a better look.

On several occasions MM content, still not released to the public, was available via torrent.

While Collette will scream super hackers etc etc, beyond her statements (allegedly under oath) there has never been any evidence their website was ever hacked or compromised.

If you had a report from an actual security team confirming a breach & material exfiltrated why would you not offer that up to support the claims rather than run like hell when SJD points out publicly that this isn’t the first time content appeared online before anyone in the public could have gotten a copy.

Tis a pity no court ever decided that these facts deserved a better examination while they turned peoples lives upside down over content, that if the accused had downloaded (because we STILL can’t prove that) was made available by the content owner online with no notice saying no no no don’t download this.

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

“the investigation against him is politically motivated.”

Not only did this asshole steal Pretendas business model, he’s also took the its a political witch hunt excuse to claim innocence when he was caught with his hand in the cookie jar of secrets on 24 camera views, talking about having the secrets from the jar, and his prints on everything.

anon says:

Forget Prenda Law and Malibu Media

What I want to know are two things:
1) the names of the movies that they uploaded
2) the docket number of one of cases they won for each movie they got a conviction for.

This way I can download the movies along with the court documents for the current trial and the earlier trial, making the digital copy of the movie perfectly legal.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

A settlement often happens far far away from a court room.
They don’t have to instantly change the accused from an ip address to the name of the subscriber right away.
So they have this handy window where they know who to bother, who to apply pressure to, and who most likely is going to pony up the cash they want.

Ahh the good old days when courts would let them put 1000 ip addresses in 1 filing & thought nothing of it when not a single person was named in the lawsuit after the subscribers names were delivered to them.

Of course they would NEVER ever stalk these people on FB/Insta/Etc… to see who looked like they had enough money to make it worth their effort to shake them down. I mean you can’t extort thousands from someone who is always posting about how broke they are & asking for new recipes to turn ramen brick meals into something tasty because thats all they could afford for the month.

I mean its not like these extortionists would show up and ask the neighbors if they ever hopped on the targets wifi to grab some questionable porn, and those neighbors would never ever assume that the target MUST be a porn addict they shouldn’t even let the dog be alone around nevermind the children.
Oh wait they did do exactly that and so much worse.
Like when they were suggesting the target might have also dl’ed other’s content as well with titles that imply CSAM & bestiality videos.

Given how people believe the accusations even after you’re proven innocent, its far to risky to try to fight back because you can never ever repair your reputation.

(See the story about the crazy woman in Canada by Kash Hill who tormented people for YEARS and kept posting they were pedophiles and people who had known the target for years felt that well maybe there is some truth because someone wouldn’t say that for no reason.)

I miss making copyright trolls cry.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:


Just as soon as he gives up his rights, comes to America where they’ve already added charges because the foreign national didn’t immediately hop on a plane to defend himself in a court that quite possibly didn’t have jurisdiction for what they did and sent commandos in to terrorize him and his family.

Its like that dissident that got the right to sue the Kingdom for what they had done to him in another country, I’m sure they’ll pay the judgement to him if he just stops by their embassy to pickup the check and sign some papers.

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