ISPs Ask Judge To Reconsider Order Allowing Copyright Trolling To Move Forward

from the time-to-reconsider dept

There have been a bunch of rulings in a variety of district courts around the country rejecting a variety of ways in which copyright trolling operations have been seeking to use the judicial system as a part of their business model -- not to actually take anyone to court, but merely to (a) identify people they can threaten and (b) threaten them with the possibility of a lawsuit if they don't pay up. Thankfully, an increasing number of judges have been calling the trolls out on this, and saying they won't be a part of this. Usually this comes in the form of rejecting a request for expedited discovery (which would allow the trolls to subpoena subscriber info from ISPs) or arguing that lumping together so many users into a single case was improper.

However, there has been one major exception to these rejections: the case in the DC district court by Judge Beryl Howell... who just happens to have been a former RIAA lobbyist, who only recently left that job to take a seat on the bench. The Howell ruling is regularly cited by trolls as proof that there's nothing wrong with the way in which they pursue these lawsuits -- ignoring a massive number of rulings that say otherwise.

The ISPs in that original case, though, filed by AF Holdings, represented by Prenda Law (which, you may recall, is connected to John Steele), are asking Judge Howell to reconsider (especially in light of all those other rulings). On top of that, they're saying that if she won't reconsider, they'd like to take the issue up to the appeals court before proceeding with the rest of the case. That could become important, as it would be the first time an appeals court weighs in on this. Some public interest groups, including the ACLU and EFF, have filed an amicus brief as well, asking Judge Howell to change her decision concerning discovery.

The hearing on this is today, and we'll let you know what happens.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 9:14am

    the case in the DC district court by Judge Beryl Howell... who just happens to have been a former RIAA lobbyist

    Shouldn't that disqualify her from even hearing the case?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      MrWilson, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 9:39am

      Re: the case in the DC district court by Judge Beryl Howell... who just happens to have been a former RIAA lobbyist

      Silly judge thought a "conflict of interest" was when you negotiated rates on a loan...

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 9:54am

        Re: Re: the case in the DC district court by Judge Beryl Howell... who just happens to have been a former RIAA lobbyist

        Or maybe she's thinking of it in terms of war buffs, as in "The Boer War, a conflict of interest to South Africans..."

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      DannyB (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 10:31am

      Re: the case in the DC district court by Judge Beryl Howell... who just happens to have been a former RIAA lobbyist

      Stop being a whining freetard communist. What's wrong with the RIAA exercising their property ownership rights in the judicial system and getting all of the justice they have paid for?

      < / sarcasm >

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike C. (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 12:30pm

      Re: the case in the DC district court by Judge Beryl Howell... who just happens to have been a former RIAA lobbyist

      It should but I'm betting that since the case is about a movie and not music the judge said otherwise.

      To be honest, I suspect that if you went by the strict letter of the rules, it's not a conflict. However, there's something to be said for following the spirit of the rule to prevent the appearance of impropriety. Failing to do so just leads people to lose confidence that you will do anything but game the system for your own personal gain.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 1:56pm

        Re: Re: the case in the DC district court by Judge Beryl Howell... who just happens to have been a former RIAA lobbyist

        I like the way you state "lose confidence", like there was any there in the first place...

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 9:17am

    dont know what's wrong with you people. anyone would think that Howell was biased!! obviously, her former connection to the entertainment industries is just as irrelevant as that of the judge in TPB trial. yeah, right!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 9:19am

    At the very least continuing to fight is making it more expensive for the trolls

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Shillstar, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 10:08am

    Days of the freetard are over!

    Don't worry, Judge Howell will rule correctly. The days of the unlawful wild west internet will come to an end, and all you basement dwelling "technologist" troglodytes will have to go get real jobs like mining or farming or gelding horses! Unless of course you're caught in the coming purges and sentenced to a rehabilitation camp for nerds and cyberdorks!

    Busk up, you'll get lots of fresh air in the gulag.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Thomas (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 10:15am

    A ruling..

    from a judge who used to be a RIAA lobbyist is guaranteed to be in favor of copyright trolls. Often ex-lobbyists still get some form of compensation anyway, and they are not going to make any ruling that will cause them to lose that extra money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Thomas (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 10:18am

    Still..

    it amazes me that so many judges ignore conflict of interest and simply rule in favor of their former employers. The same thing happens to attorneys - they work for the RIAA/MPAA, then get jobs in the DOJ, and of course the DOJ starts to become simply an enforcement arm for the RIAA/MPAA. We've totally lost touch of something called morals. The right wing thinks that morals only involve whether or not you are in favor/opposed to abortion, and not to dealing with people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Dr. Evil, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 12:13pm

    price list

    If I was an ISP, I would provide all the information requested by court order, of course, it would be $1000 per IP address, payable before delivery to the troll...

    hugs y'all

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 12:58pm

    Prenda is going down in flames...

    Lying to a Judge in CA about the number of cases they have filed. It is now part of the official record that they have filed around 118 cases, and taken 0 does to court.

    When a Doe gets unmasked and fights back they quickly move to drop them from the case. This tactic has failed them recently. Steele still has time to troll the boards talking about how amazing he is, as his cases go boom over and over.

    Reading the EFF info on this case, this is forum shopping.
    There is little doubt that there is only a tiny number of people Howell would have jurisdiction over but she wants to just hand over 1000 names across the country from her court room.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 2:10pm

    so what was the outcome then? did she do as expected and rule on the side of her former employers?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This