Malibu Media Seeks Order Forbidding Defendants From Discussing 'Copyleft' Blog Content

from the cf.-circular-reasoning dept

Copyright troll Malibu Media would prefer the many courtrooms it uses as speculative invoicing middlemen to be free of disparaging statements. To that end, it has filed a motion that specifically asks that certain blogs not be brought up nor discussed nor quoted extensively from by the defendant or his counsel. (h/t to Raul)

The Court should preclude Defendant from referring to copyleft blogs for any purpose, including specifically references to fightcopyrightrolls.com and dietrolldie.com. Plaintiff expects Defendant may attempt to reference these blogs at trial in an effort to introduce unsubstantiated allegations against Plaintiff. The blogs target Plaintiff and its counsel with vitriolic hate speech and contain comments that are biased, slanderous, and prejudicial, and should not be referred to at trial for any purpose. “Many internet blogs commenting on this and related cases ignore the rights of copyright owners to sue for infringement, and inappropriately belittle efforts of copyright owners to seek injunctions and damages.” Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1, 6, 13, 14, 950 F. Supp. 2d 779, 781 (E.D. Pa. 2013).
Yes, we can't have sites that expose the immoral and illegal activities of copyright trolls exposing the immoral and illegal activities of copyright trolls, can we? We'll just have to see what the judge has to say about this exclusionary motion. And in support of its allegations about the content of these blogs, Malibu Media cites a friendly footnote from one of its rare wins [p. 2] -- a derogatory phrase penned by Judge Michael Baylson and co-opted in its entirety by Dallas Buyers Club for use in its threatening letters to alleged infringers.

Rather hilariously, Malibu Media uses an infrequently-used term to describe these blogs, in an equally-sad attempt to appear evenhanded.
Plaintiff, Malibu Media, LLC (“Plaintiff”) by and through undersigned counsel, hereby moves for the entry of an order precluding Defendant Michael Harrison (“Defendant”) and his counsel from referring to copyleft blogs at trial for any purpose...
Sensing the court may not be familiar with the concept of "copyleft," it is more fully described in the attached footnote:
“Copyleft” is the polite way of describing an anti-copyright ideology. “Freetards” is the degrading equivalent of “copyright trolls” when used in association with copyright producers.
With this handy guide to the nuances of the copyright debate now on the record, the case can presumably proceed safely. According to Malibu, the blogs that have long tracked its legal efforts have "no probative value" and the mere mention of the forbidden sites may "provoke" jurors into browsing these blogs during their downtime... which obviously won't win Malibu any new fans favorable jurors.

All in all, it's pretty much a vindication of the efforts made by Fight Copyright Trolls and Die Troll Die. If these were nothing more than storehouses for hyperbolic statements and woodchipper discussions, it's highly unlikely Malibu would be attempting to preemptively banish them from court.

Filed Under: copyleft, copyright trolls, courts, freetard
Companies: malibu media, xart


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 7:02am

    Holy legal filling, Batman! I never thought I'd see the word freetard mentioned in court documents! I didn't know average joe worked for Malibu.

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

  • icon
    John William Nelson (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 8:39am

    Motions in Limine; not properly used here

    A pre-emptive use of a motion in liming (which this is, even if not styled as such) can be useful.

    However, a blanket ban on use of this material is not proper. The material should be excluded if it is not relevant or is hearsay (or both), but that determination probably can't be made until much later in the case.

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

  • identicon
    Sunhawk, 24 Jul 2015 @ 8:54am

    "Slanderous", eh?

    ... I wonder if using that term in a court filing might be problematic for Malibu Media.

    Not in a "is it lawsuits tiem nao?" way, but in the judge doing a bit of investigating on their own...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2015 @ 9:17am

      Re:

      Techdirt is committing blasphemy just by questioning IP laws. HOW DARE THEY!!! Everyone knows, without question and doubt, that more IP is always always good no matter what. How dare someone ever ask for evidence!!!

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

  • icon
    retrogamer (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 8:56am

    I seem to remember John Steele loved the word freetards, too.

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

  • identicon
    Christenson, 24 Jul 2015 @ 9:00am

    Multiple Satisfaction Rule

    Hopefully, Harrison just pulls up all the court documents from FCT and DTD...and asks how all those legal filings and settlements comport with the single satisfaction rule!

    That way, FCT and DTD's blogs do lots of damage...by the facts the let the defense access. Defendant doesn't have to mention that those sites were handy indices!

    Oh, and "copyleft" my foot....these are anti-trolls, not copyleftists...I see no GPL on either site!

    Hopefully Harrison can also prove the unclean hands part.

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

  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 9:02am

    So what they are saying is they are Copyright trolls.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2015 @ 9:10am

    but I thought IP extremists were in favor of "a discussion involving seemingly incompatible and diametrically opposed views"

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150719/07183731689/if-uk-wants-people-to-respect-copyright -outlawing-ripping-cds-is-probably-not-helping.shtml#c351

    HAH!!! That's why the government protected (ie: via broadcasting and cableco monopolies) mainstream media has always only presented their ridiculously indefensible side of the debate when they think they can get away with it, it's why pro-IP blogs either restrict comments and I've even remember seeing one blog at one time outright delete a comment it doesn't like because it doesn't agree with it (though it's not worth searching for it) while blogs like Techdirt and other blogs that IP extremists hate do allow open comments.

    IP extremists resort to subverting the democratic process to get what they want (ie: buying politicians and regulators, secretive meetings where only they are invited) and they are nothing but a bunch of anti-free speech tyrants that we would all be better off without.

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

  • icon
    retrogamer (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 9:31am

    By the way, aren't they implying that Judge Black from OHSD referred to them using a derogatory term if you follow their line of reasoning? A well respected federal judge referring to you in a derogatory manner isn't exactly something to write home about. I had a feeling Judge Black wasn't going to let them get by with their shenanigans, even if he didn't go full Judge Wright, I'm really glad we have him in our district.

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

  • icon
    John David Galt (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 10:01am

    I think you are misusing the term "copyleft".

    "Copyleft" has nothing to do with copyright trolls (unless you take the extreme position that all content owners are trolls). "Copyleft" refers to Richard Stallman's philosophy, which more or less expresses his desire to make it impossible for anyone to earn a living from royalties.

    By all means, let's defeat copyright trolls, but let's not conflate all opposition to them with Stallman's movement.

    And by the way: I notice that Malibu Media's court motion left out the last "t" in the domain name fightcopyrighttrolls.com . So if the court grants the motion, their opponents can still refer to the actual name.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2015 @ 10:19am

      Re: I think you are misusing the term "copyleft".

      Copyrighting rolls is just wrong. Even copyrighting bread is highly questionable.

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

    • icon
      sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 10:36am

      Re: I think you are misusing the term "copyleft".

      Good catch! This misspelling could be deliberate: someone typosquatted my domain name a while ago (which I regard as a flattery), redirecting fightcopyrightrolls (with one "t") to a copyright maximalist blog Trichordist.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2015 @ 10:48am

        Re: Re: I think you are misusing the term "copyleft".

        The same Trichordist run by one of the trolls who at least at one time liked to lurk here...

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2015 @ 9:52am

          Re: Re: Re: I think you are misusing the term "copyleft".

          We sent that "digital idiot" (his own term, misapplied to Mike Masnick, and at the time, so deliciously ironically, more appropriately applied to DCL than anyone at Techdirt) back to his hidey hole.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2015 @ 10:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I think you are misusing the term "copyleft".

            I'm still waiting for Phil and googlypants' magical sleeping giant artist friends to wake up.

            It's been five years...

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

  • identicon
    mcinsand, 24 Jul 2015 @ 10:29am

    frivolously crying slander should be a form of slander

    >>"...comments that are biased, slanderous, and
    >>prejudicial,..."

    IANAL, so please help me to understand how this does not give the copyleft sites cause to sue for slander. If Malibu's assembly actually thought that the comments were slander, well, there are laws against slander. At the very least, I would expect competent lawyers to begin some sort of legal proceedings.

    On the other hand, if someone were to be falsely accusing me of slander, I would like to think that a good lawyer could help me to sue for slander, especially if I were not engaging in such.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2015 @ 11:13am

      Re: frivolously crying slander should be a form of slander

      While they could possibly sue for libel/slander, they'd probably have a difficult time winning the case in court. That "The blogs target Plaintiff and its counsel with vitriolic hate speech and contain comments that are biased, slanderous, and prejudicial," rises to the level of libel.

      Plus it would likely be difficult for the blogs to both sue for slander, and remain anonymous. For the blogs in questions, remaining anonymous is fairly desirable. For that matter, I'm not even sure you can slander/libel an anonymous person as far as the courts are concerned. It's rather difficult to damage the reputation of a person whose identity is unknown.

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

      • icon
        sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 11:40am

        Re: Re: frivolously crying slander should be a form of slander

        What libelslander are you talking about? I think of this motion as a form of flattery and a validation that my humble effort was not in vain.

        On a serious note, of course they can inflict a ton of damage by a mere fact of suing me (even if suing critics for defamation is always an uphill battle, to put it charitably), but on the other hand, discovery is a two-way street... Mutual Assured Distraction.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2015 @ 1:11pm

        Re: Re: frivolously crying slander should be a form of slander

        Well, unless otherwise barred as a vexatious litigant, anyone can file a lawsuit for anything. In this case, the one bringing the suit would have a very steep hill to climb. The vitriolic statement is certainly unprofessional, but ultimately it's still an opinion, despite being twisted from Stallman's intent. Copyleft is a philosophy on copyright licensing while the BSD, GPL, etc. are the actual license names. Copyleft cannot exist without copyright.

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

  • icon
    GMacGuffin (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 10:36am

    "Unringing the bell..."

    To be fair, the Motion in Limine is just preemptive evidentiary objection -- a way to alert the court that opposition may try to introduce prejudicial or otherwise inadmissible evidence. Because if it comes up for the first time before a jury, and the judge rules it inadmissible, then it's hard to "unring the bell" in the jury's mind. (They might go look at the blogs, which is improper and grounds for a new trial if discovered anyway.)

    And I don't see how these third-party anti-troll blogs (which I read) would have much in the way of admissible evidence anyway. 1) It would all be hearsay, so likely inadmissible for the truth of the statements in the blogs. 2) Courts generally want the focus on the parties' acts in this case, not their behavior outside (unless directly relevant). 3) To the extent the blogs reference court rulings, those rulings can admissible as the subject of judicial notice. But a blogger's take on it would generally not be admissible.

    So ... not defending Malibu Scumfuck Media in any way, the Motion in Limine is probably a prudent tactical move (assuming there is actually a trial on the horizon).

    As noted elsewhere, courts don't like to operate in a vacuum, and would likely defer any decision until getting more info on potentially proffered evidence.

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

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 25 Jul 2015 @ 7:45pm

      Re: "Unringing the bell..."

      Truth and justice are always detrimental to the dishonest.

      I dare say they're even prejudicial, in the sense that knowing the truth makes lies harder to believe.

      But if you exclude truth and justice from the court room, what's the point of having a court in the first place?

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

      • icon
        Stoatwblr (profile), 15 Aug 2015 @ 4:17pm

        Re: Re: "Unringing the bell..."

        "But if you exclude truth and justice from the court room, what's the point of having a court in the first place?"

        Sorry, you are confused.

        It's not a justice system. It never was a justice system.

        It's a LEGAL system. Justice only peripherally enters the frame. This is pretty much the first thing taught in Introductory Law 101


        WRT the "slanderous" statements - as far as I can tell those would be the previous judgements quoted on those sites and as such they're legally protected reports of events in a courtroom (You are immune from defamation proceedings for anything uttered in court or in parliament/congress - yes, really)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2015 @ 7:07pm

    Looking at the first italicized paragraph it looks like Malibu Media are basically quoting themselves when talking about Fightcopyrighttrolls and DieTrollDie.

    Really? That's your plan? "My opponents are asshats. Here's a quote that proves it, completely credible. It was said by me!"

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

  • identicon
    ddpalmer, 25 Jul 2015 @ 6:51am

    Slander

    If, as their filing claims, these blogs include slander against Malibu Media then why hasn't Malibu Media filed suit against the blogs for this slander?

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

  • identicon
    Richard Stallman, 26 Jul 2015 @ 1:05am

    Copyleft

    Copyleft is a technique for using copyright law to ensure that all copies of all versions of a certain work come with freedom to use, study, and change that work, and to redistribute copies with or without copies. I invented the technique in 1985.

    See gnu.org/copyleft and gnu.org/licenses.

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


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