Judge Not Impressed By Reverse Class Action Attempt In Mass P2P File Sharing Case

from the fishing-expedition dept

We recently wrote about an attempt by one of the growing number of mass P2P pre-settlement lawsuit lawyers, John Steele, to file a reverse of defendant class action lawsuit to try to get around the issue of misjoinder in combining a bunch of totally unrelated individuals in a single lawsuit. Typically, of course, class action lawsuits involve a class as the "plaintiff" not the defendant. It's not unheard of to have a defendant class action, but it is rare. Either way, the judge doesn't seem to be buying it. In a recent hearing the judge noted that the whole thing felt like a fishing expedition, and barred the court from issuing any subpoenas until an adversarial hearing was held. It's unclear who will represent the still anonymous "class," but hopefully the judge takes a note from another court and brings in experts like Public Citizen and the EFF.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    JustMe (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 3:56am

    Another win for the good guys

    I think judges are realizing that these 'lawsuits' are really shakedowns.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2011 @ 4:07am

      Re: Another win for the good guys

      i think the judges know those are shakedowns, but are giving the plaintiff the benefit of doubt, from what im reading about this case its clear that the judge is shifting the burden of proof on the plaintiff.

      IMHO this is very good this should be a solid case and could be used as precedent in the future.

       

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        btr1701 (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 10:41am

        Re: Re: Another win for the good guys

        > from what im reading about this case its
        > clear that the judge is shifting the burden
        > of proof on the plaintiff.

        Not sure what that means. The burden of proof in a civil case is *always* on the plaintiff.

         

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      Sean T Henry (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 7:47am

      Re: Another win for the good guys

      I hope so.

       

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    xenomancer (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 4:32am

    While I think what he is doing is reprehensible, clearly John Steele is a creative person. He just needs to detach the magnet from his moral compass and do something worthwhile with his life.

     

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    mike allen (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 4:51am

    I still wonder if all "defendants" are in the courts jurisdiction. even in the same country but of course that does not matter any more. I hope John Steele has a large fine for wasting court time.

     

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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 4:57am

    P2P

    One letter. One number.

    How could something so small result in so many poorly formed thoughts and badly written comments?

    You throw the word "lawsuit" in there and it's like somebody hosed down the comment thread with troll pheremone. I'll be back later to see how many metaphors and catchphrases are being mindlessly dry-humped to death.

     

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    JustMe (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 5:12am

    Re: Capitalist Lion Tamer

    Hi there. Were you perhaps responding to a different thread?

    There were exactly four (4) comments submitted before your post so I'd hardly call that 'so many' and I wouldn't classify that as 'hosed down.' Also, there aren't any poorly-formed thoughts or badly-written comments, except perhaps for the one posted by you.

    If I'm off base here let me know, or perhaps Mike's comment response system posted this to the wrong thread (which hasn't happened for a number of years).

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2011 @ 7:04am

      Re: Re: Capitalist Lion Tamer

      .... shhhh..... wait for it....
      its still early for the astroturfers to crawl out of their cage...

      if we sit here quietly we might even seen the rarest of creatures... the lawyer... Steele sometimes comes down from his ivory tower and comments on these cases.

      It was fun blowing him out of the water last time, and I look forward to it again.

      Just sit back, and wait... I can feel the revving up their keyboards.

       

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      Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 7:37am

      Re: Re: Capitalist Lion Tamer

      I'll admit my second line was badly written (and unintentionally disparages the first four commenters), but the rest of it is just a glimpse into the future.

      Hence the "I'll be back later..."

      The barrage hasn't started yet. But I've got to believe it will.

       

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        Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 7:38am

        Re: Re: Re: Capitalist Lion Tamer

        AC @ 7:07 am is testing the waters...

        "hopefully the judge takes a note from another court and brings in experts like Public Citizen and the EFF.

        Two groups which seem to be content to carry the water for copyright violators."

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2011 @ 9:39am

          Re: Re: Re: Re: Capitalist Lion Tamer

          which do you recommend?
          rolled up newspaper or spray bottle?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2011 @ 10:17am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Capitalist Lion Tamer

            Rattling plastic bags throws a scare into 'em sometimes.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2011 @ 8:27pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Capitalist Lion Tamer

              The trolls seem to have given up much to soon this time.
              Maybe Steele was to busy reading the filings to get back to us today.

              Oh well... it was fun eviscerating them while it lasted.

               

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    Overcast (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 7:01am

    He's not impressed because they don't pay judges like lawyers do when they bring up normal class action suits, huh?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2011 @ 7:07am

    hopefully the judge takes a note from another court and brings in experts like Public Citizen and the EFF.

    Two groups which seem to be content to carry the water for copyright violators.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2011 @ 7:34am

      Re:

      or are they two groups making sure that the rights of the people are actually balanced against the demands of companies seeking to cash in without actually proving any violation of the law or real damages beyond we said so.

      Its early... try harder....

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2011 @ 7:54am

        Re: Re:

        Chicken and the egg problem here: You cannot legally prove violation (get a conviction or judgement against) without knowing who you are going after. ISPs work hard to shield their users, making it incredibly difficult to even get information to go forward with a lawsuit.

        I actually hope the plaintiff loses this suit, because it will be just another reason why there need to be clear rules to stop end users from being able to hide behind ISPs and service providers.

         

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          The eejit (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 8:08am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So you'd like to lose your capacity to be anonymous on Techdirt? Good to know.

           

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          Sean T Henry (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 8:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I agree with you in the respect that I hope the plaintiff loses, but we only agree because you misread who the plaintiff is. The defendants are the "class" and I'm thinking that you thought they were the plaintiff.

          "it will be just another reason why there need to be clear rules to stop end users from being able to hide behind ISPs and service providers."

          You also have this wrong it shows why there is a need for more rules to protect users information at the ISP level.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2011 @ 8:32am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Funny with all of the cases they have done, gotten the information for the number of convictions is... 0?

          And they claim they can prove the person using an IP address is the violator, ignoring the factual evidence that this information can be spoofed easily.

          Rather than take these people to court to defend their precious IP, they offer them settlements to avoid having their methods exposed to the light of day. Because they want to do you the favor of not connecting your name to porn, based merely on some numbers on a spreadsheet.

          But then you probably believe that every copy destroys a physical item, that no one shares anything for free, and they are making money and should be forced to pay hundreds of thousands.

          And I hope the plaintiff loses as well.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2011 @ 8:51am

          Re: Re: Re:

          IP address is proof of nothing when it comes to actual responsibility for the act.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2011 @ 8:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          can any of the information ("evidence") they collect from the ISP be used to identify the infringing user?

          the only thing an ISP will be able to give up is the account owner. unless there is a camera monitoring who is sitting in front of the PC, this information is useless.

          there is absolutely no way to identify who committed the crime without a confession.

          http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/06/laser-printers-found-guilty-making-available-cri me


          there are too many ways for this information to be faked/spoofed/whatever.


          Why should any of this burden be on the account owner? ...An account owner that may be a 80 year old woman who doesn't even own a computer.


          http://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2006/02/05/riaa_sues_woman_that_has_no_comp uter


          The industry must adapt or die.


          They do not have a right to make a buck. They can only try.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2011 @ 9:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            because the lawyers seek to create the standard that if it is your account, anything done on it is your fault no matter if it was done with your knowledge or without.

            If someone steals your car and robs a bank, it is never expected that you should face charges of robbing the bank. They will investigate to make sure you truly are uninvolved, but they will not walk up and demand you repay the amount stolen from the bank to avoid being charged, mostly because they would be laughed out of court.

            These lawyers want everyone to presume that every IP address is like a Social Security Number, uniquely assigned to a person for life and always points to only that person.
            This is the problem with identity theft, the person victimized is left to deal with a system that assumes they did it because that number can not possibly be used by someone else.

            In the case of Uwe Bolle and the rest of the stable of USCG clients, they are trying to claim losses because of downloading, not because Uwe makes horrible films no one wants to see. They see this as a golden way to make a bunch of money they feel entitled to, and turn loser of a movie into a win.

            One wonders what is worse, your name associated with porn or a Uwe film. Both are pretty embarrassing.

             

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          btr1701 (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 10:47am

          Re: Re: Re:

          > ISPs work hard to shield their users, making
          > it incredibly difficult to even get information
          > to go forward with a lawsuit.

          That's how most companies behave with respect to their clients and customers. Why should Big Copy be given an end-run around confidentiality laws that no other industry has?

          Oh, I forgot. Copyright! The word that trumps everything these days.

           

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    milrtime83 (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 8:26am

    If they want to call it a class action lawsuit, I hope the result are about the same. Something along the lines of a $10 "reverse" gift certificate that you promise to buy services from that company and may or may not ever use.

     

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    Judge Gweeto, Mar 16th, 2011 @ 2:08pm

    Pay me or it never happened

    Unless the judges get a cut of the profits, I don't see this going anywhere. Only money can buy judges. If they're not getting paid extra, it's not worth their time.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2011 @ 2:58pm

    Do you really believe that all of these judges are on the take? Come on...Really?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2011 @ 8:17am

    So how long do the ISPs retain Ip logs?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2011 @ 10:43am

    Wow...

    Listen to what Steele says

    Steele, however, says that the EFF has an agenda with its role in porn BitTorrent suits that's not very transparent.

    "They have a moneymaking business that is operated by attorneys, and many [porn BitTorrent] defendants end up choosing one of the attorneys involved in EFF suits," he said. "I know for a fact that one of the attorneys has lined up 40 defendants, and he is earning hand over fist in legal fees."

    Link here: http://www.xbiz.com/news/legal/131798

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2011 @ 5:42pm

      Re:

      "I have a moneymaking business that is operated by an attorney, and many [porn BitTorrent] defendants end up choosing to ignore my shakedown letters after reading about the EFF suits," he said. "I know for a fact that one of the attorneys has lined up 40 defendants, and he is earning hand over fist in legal fees, and I am terrified they will counter-sue me and I'll have to cover their legal costs for my shakedown attempts."

      There I fixed it for him.

      xbiz truly is amazing, they report only the sunshine and puppys version of the events and provide coverage for most of the propaganda the extortion mills churn out trying to terrify people into settling.

      It is always a crazed judge stopping them after the EFF fills their head with lies to help the pirates. It never is "well my case was built with tissue paper and some elmers glue and somehow they tore through what I wanted the law to be and explained how the law really works".

      Oh Mr Steele... wouldn't you rather have a nice cheating spouse case right about now instead of trying to find that 1 magic thing that ACS:Law, USCG, Stone, LMH, and the others haven't been able to find to make these cases work?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 3:03pm

        Re: Re:

        He doesn't stay in one forum long does he? He has jumped from Ars to here, to Abovethelaw.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 7:43pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No he more than likely is still looking for a forum with people just willing to accept what he says as truth and not challenge him.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2011 @ 7:26am

    The answer is no it does not have jurisdiction

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2011 @ 1:08pm

     

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