Class Action Filed Against Rightscorp For Shaking Down People With Robocalls

from the heading-down,-down,-down... dept

We've written a few times about Rightscorp, the company that has tried to set itself up as a sort of "friendlier" copyright troll, acquiring a bunch of copyrights, sniffing out IP addresses connected to sharing of content associated with that copyright, and then trying to demand payments. The main "difference" with Rightscorp is that it usually demands lower, potentially more palatable sums than traditional copyright trolls, and it's trying to "partner" with ISPs to send notices on its behalf, rather than suing people. Most ISPs, so far, have refused to do this. And so far, Rightscorp has been something of a joke -- thinking it had discovered a subpoena loophole that had been slammed shut by the courts years ago (every few years a new copyright troll thinks it's found this same loophole) and talking about hijacking browsers. The reality is that it's a company with a sketchy past that seems to have reverse-mergered itself into being a public company that has seen its stock drop precipitously and still hasn't shown much ability to actually make any money from shaking down file sharers.

And now, it's facing a class action lawsuit from Morgan Pietz, the lawyer who was one of the main lawyers who helped unravel and bring down Prenda.
The complaint seeks class damages against Rightscorp for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, California’s Rosenthal Act, and Abuse of Process. The complaint alleges unlawful robo-calls, as well as other unfair debt collection practices, and that Rightscorp has abused the legal process by issuing DMCA Section 512(h) subpoenas that it knew were objectively baseless.
Here's the same thing in more detail from the legal filing itself:
Rightscorp is regularly engaged in the business of collecting on alleged obligations of consumers to pay money (i.e., debt collection) for purported copyright infringement claims, such that it is subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq.) (“FDCPA”) and the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1788 et seq.) (“Rosenthal Act”). However, Rightscorp has repeatedly and systematically failed to comply with the provisions of the FDCPA and the Rosenthal Act. Among other wrongful conduct: Rightscorp has engaged in telephone harassment and abuse (15 U.S.C. § 1692d); made various false and misleading representations (15 U.S.C. § 1692e); engaged in unfair collections practices (15 U.S.C. § 1692f); failed to provide validation and required notices relating to the debts (15 U.S.C. § 1692g); and furnished emails and letters knowing they would create false beliefs on the parts of consumers that their Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) were participating in the attempt to collect on the purported debts when in fact the ISPs were not participating (15 U.S.C. § 1692f).

Further, to identify potential consumers to target, Rightscorp has willfully misused this Court’s subpoena power by issuing at least 142 special DMCA subpoenas, per 17 U.S.C. § 512(h), to various Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”). These subpoenas, which were issued on this Court’s authority, but procured outside of an adversarial proceeding and without any judicial review, are so clearly legally invalid as to be a sham and abuse of the legal process. After an ISP moved to quash one of these 142 subpoenas in the Western District of Texas, on September 10, 2014, Rightscorp withdrew that subpoena rather than risk judicial review of its plainly unlawful use of this Court’s subpoena power. See In re Subpoena Issued to Grande Com’n. Net’s., LLC, W.D. Tx. No. 1:14-mc-00848, ECF No. 3, 9/10/14; see also id. at ECF No. 1, 9/5/14 (ISP’s motion to quash). Nevertheless, since then, throughout the later part of September and through until the filing of this action, Rightscorp has continued to issue dozens of new, legally invalid DMCA subpoenas on this Court’s authority (see, e.g., In re Subpoena Issued to US Internet Corp., C.D. Cal. No. 2:14-mc-864-UA, 10/14/14).
Should be an... interesting lawsuit to pay attention to.



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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2014 @ 12:49pm

    C'mon Rightscorp, I need another Prenda Law and Roca Labs article series, I love reading about the downfall of habitual abusers of law

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

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2014 @ 12:52pm

    Issued today, headed Rightscorp Increases Number of Participating Internet Service Providers by Over 33% Read more: http://www.nasdaq.com/press-release/rightscorp-increases-number-of-participating-internet-service-pr oviders-by-over-33-20141124-00161#ixzz3K1Npqf00

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

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2014 @ 12:56pm

    They are so fucked. Run, Rightscorp. Run.

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

  4. icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), 24 Nov 2014 @ 1:07pm

    Re:

    As an ArsTechnica's regular commenter Drakkenmensch reacted to my disbelief when I saw this press release,

    Same kind of bragging Prenda used to do.

    Let the assclownery continue!


    I concur.

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

  5. icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), 24 Nov 2014 @ 1:10pm

    For those who are new to the show, two years ago Prenda tried to pull the exactly same type of asshattery.

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2014 @ 1:41pm

    Re:

    How convenient that they announced this right as their stock has dipped so low. Not suspicious at all.

    In other news, I just gained 33% more friends (on Facebook (who I have never met (and I may have created some of the accounts myself))).

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

  7. icon
    DannyB (profile), 24 Nov 2014 @ 1:59pm

    Re:

    Let's not forget Righthaven. SCO.

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2014 @ 4:55pm

    What a surprise. The only way average_joe and his chucklefuck spamtroll fuckbuddies can "enforce" copyright law is by breaking every other one.

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

  9. icon
    Anon E. Mous (profile), 24 Nov 2014 @ 6:46pm

    Who didn't see this coming, you can only blackmail -er- I mean extort -er- I mean negotiate with those who are willing to pay.

    Rightscorp's whole model is based on the illusion of bad thing's happening, As much as they would like people to believe they the big bad wolf, they are more delusional than anything.

    Maybe if Rightscorp acts now they can snap up a few of Roca Labs ex general counsel's to save the day!

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

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:30am

    When Google doesnt remove thepiratebay from the internet they are the new nazis, but when the MPAA is caught repeatedly working with criminals then its nothing.

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

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 3:33am

    Mike Masnick just hates the enforcement of copyright law.

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

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 4:47pm

    Re:

    average_joe just hates it when due process is enforced. DMCAed!

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

  13. icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 9:19am

    Re:

    Run Rightscorp, run Rightscorp, run, run, run
    Run Rightscorp, run Rightscorp, run, run, run
    Bang, bang, bang, bang goes Mike Masnick's gun
    Run Rightscorp, run Rightscorp, run, run, run, run

    Run Rightscorp, run Rightscorp, run, run, run
    Don't give Mike Masnick his fun, fun, fun
    He'll get by without your IP lies
    So run Rightscorp, run Rightscorp, run, run, run

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


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