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Copyright Troll Claims Sanctions Against Him Are 'Bulls**t' And He's Going To Keep Sending Questionable Subpoenas

from the good-luck-with-that dept

After losing again for significant ethical lapses in sending subpoenas to identify individuals he was trying to shake down for payments -- at the same time the court had ordered him to wait for a fair hearing on whether those individuals could protect their anonymity -- Evan Stone apparently still does not realize the seriousness of what he did. In an interview with Ars Technica, he appeared both dismissive and defiant of the ruling against him, for which he owes tens of thousands of dollars:
“They just punted, and said you waived your arguments, so we have to affirm,” he told Ars Friday morning. “I'm ready for someone to take this up, this issue of copyright subpoenas in the Fifth Circuit. That's really the bigger issue. I'm just going to move on from this whole sanction thing. I think it's bullshit and I think it shouldn't have happened. I’d rather move on with my life than be right. That's what I’m going to do. We're going to do some more copyright subpoenas, and we're going to bring them before the district and see if they are accepted or denied and then bring them before the Fifth Circuit.”
This is an interesting revisionist history. First off, that's not quite what the court said. It did note that, through Stone's own incompetence as a lawyer, he waived any significant arguments against the sanctions, but that did not minimize the court's serious concerns about Stone blatantly defying its clearly-stated requirement of first holding a hearing to see if the anonymity of the users could or should be protected. Remember, the appeals court didn't just "punt," it also stated:
We conclude, however, that no miscarriage of justice will result from the sanctions imposed as a result of Stone’s flagrant violation of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the district court’s orders. Stone committed those violations as an attempt to repeat his strategy of suing anonymous internet users for allegedly downloading pornography illegally, using the powers of the court to find their identity, then shaming or intimidating them into settling for thousands of dollars--a tactic that he has employed all across the state and that has been replicated by others across the country.
To pretend this is merely punting because of Stone's own failings as a lawyer underplays both how he screwed up in handling his own appeal, as well as the court's concerns with Stone's ethical lapses that resulted in the sanctions in the first place.

That he's going back to sending out subpoenas and pretending that what just happened to him is no big deal is somewhat stunning. Of course, what's even more stunning is that anyone would hire Stone to do more copyright trolling. Whatever you think of the practice, Stone has clearly demonstrated -- and been told by a court -- that he's not doing it right. Why would anyone hire that guy to do the same thing again?

Stone also apparently tried to pin the blame on Verizon for the mess that he's in. Again, in his discussion with Cyrus Farivar at Ars:
But beyond his questionable legal tactics, Stone lamented the fact that larger ISPs, like Verizon, (against whom he filed a subpoena in late May 2012 over a pirated work of anime in an ongoing case) fight him “tooth and nail,” while smaller ISPs simply “cough up the user information.”

And, he argues, Verizon isn’t protecting their users out of principle or out of an interest in legal fairness, but rather to protect their highest-paying customers, which, according to Stone, are pirates.
That's a pretty obnoxious statement and there's not much support for it in real life. Verizon protecting its users' privacy against lawyers trying to identify them for a trolling operation isn't about protecting revenue, it's about protecting individuals' basic rights against bogus legal threats and people who abuse the court system as a business model.

Filed Under: copyright troll, ethics, evan stone, sanctions
Companies: verizon

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 2012 @ 12:23pm

    In all fairness, Verizon's stance is TOTALLY about protecting revenue, and any statement otherwise is silly... They just realize that ignoring the civil rights of all of their customers would seriously reduce that revenue.

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