Mass P2P Porn Lawyer Tries Filing A Class Action Lawsuit... In Reverse

from the against-the-class? dept

Wow. We've noted that the various lawyers who have jumped on the mass copyright infringement shakedown bandwagon (mostly for clients in the porn business) have been running into some serious problems on the issue of "joinder" -- tying all of those defendants into a single group. You're only supposed to be able to do that if they were all involved together in breaking the law. So far, the courts haven't been buying it for the most part. However, it appears one of the lawyers involved in these cases, John Steele, is trying a bit of a novel strategy: a class action lawsuit in reverse.

Normally, a class action lawsuit involves a "class" of related people as the plaintiffs. Steele is arguing that you can lump all of the defendants into a class as well:
This Court has personal jurisdiction over the Class because the putative named class representative Defendants are residents of Illinois. This Court has in personam jurisdiction over absent class members because due process is satisfied by providing them with best practicable notice, an opportunity to opt-out, and adequate representation. In addition, the Court may exercise personal jurisdiction over individual Defendants because their infringing activity should have reasonably been anticipated to violate the Copyright Act in this jurisdiction. Therefore, due process is satisfied because any person engaged in such activity could reasonably anticipate being haled into this jurisdiction where he or she violated the Copyright Act.
Now, there have been a few examples of such defendant class action lawsuits in the past, but they're very rare, and usually require a pretty damn good reason. I'd be surprised if the judge grants it here. As in other cases like this, judges have pointed out that the mass group of defendants sued are not really comparable, as they each may have extremely different defenses, and were not really connected to each other in any way at all.

On a totally separate note, what is it with the lawyers bringing these mass P2P porn cases all having names out of some bad novel? Evan Stone. John Steele. Ken Ford. Is there some rule that you need a forceful, single syllable last name to be one of these lawyers?

Filed Under: class action, defendant class action, file sharing, john steele, p2p, pre-settlement, reverse class action


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Feb 2011 @ 10:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Could invoke a law change

    There could be an open wifi behind that IP, and the responsible party isn't aware of how to lock down their router.

    Each of those is a defense, but one that is starting to strain crediblity. Even more so when they seize the drives out of their computers and find all the files and the P2P software installed.

    The issue is that companies like Comcast are very reluctant to provide customer information even for a lawsuit, effectively giving the end user a shield. Some here on TD have suggested that the entire copyright case be tried without naming the plaintiff, to convict "nobody" before the ISP should give up the information. That is terrible.

    At the end of the day, the ISP should not be allowed to argue anything in court, they should be required (as the phone company is required) to release phone records on a court order, warrant, or summons, and to do so in a timely manner. There should be no simple way to users to hide behind their internet providers.

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