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Zee Germans Are Coming: German Copyright Troll Announces Plans For Anti-Piracy Surge In The UK

from the invasion-of-the-privacy-snatchers dept

I'll give the entertainment and the copyright troll industry this: they sure know how to talk a big game. After the settlement prospecting done by copyright trolls in the UK died down somewhat these past few years, it appears the war is back on. TorrentFreak has the story of one German copyright troll, Maverick Eye, announcing that it is going to step up its efforts in the UK in the coming months.

Framed as one of the largest anti-piracy campaigns in history, Maverick Eye says it teamed up with law firm Hatton & Berkeley and other key players to launch a new wave of settlement demands.

“Since July this year, Hatton & Berkeley and Maverick Eye have been busy working with producers, lawyers, key industry figures, investors, partners, and supporters to develop a program to protect the industry and defend the UK cinema against rampant piracy online,” Maverick Eye says. "The entertainment industry can expect even more from these experts as they continue the fight against piracy in the UK.”
Funny that Maverick Eye should be putting so much weight behind "experts." You see, a review on Maverick Eye's website of the films it is working on protecting includes some familiar names, such as The Cobbler, The Expendables, and Dallas Buyer's Club. If these sound familiar, it's because they were also all films working with German company Guardaley, whose website lists many of the same movie franchises, and Malibu Media, whose ongoing game of hide-the-ball as to who was representing what and which company was actually a shell of company of whom we detailed last year. It all comes back to this German copyright troll traversing the globe to shuttle out settlement notices to individuals it deems have infringed on these movies in an effort to get them to pay up or face time in court. What makes the trotting out of experts hilarious is Guardaley's own internal documents indicate that the experts it relies on are so shaky that they have to hope that courts don't bother to question their qualifications.

Add to that this group's failure to answer as to exactly what technology it is using to identify supposed infringers, and it seems reasonable to expect any kind of court proceedings to turn into the monumental shitshow that Malibu Media made famous. Mixed in with accusations of experts being paid contingency fees based on suit outcomes and the ongoing games this parent group's child-companies engaged in as to who worked where and for whom, and this is expert level shadiness we have here.

And this is the group that entertainment companies want championing their product in public and in court? These are the people announcing a new offensive surge in the UK? This practice of identifying "infringers" using "software" that nobody is sure actually "works" and then shaking down victims is still being allowed to continue? Even though it never actually seems to work? C'mon, entertainment industry. At this point, it's worth at least trying some new ways to do business rather than just putting the mistake track on repeat.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2015 @ 3:07pm

    C'mon, entertainment industry. At this point, it's worth at least trying some new ways to do business rather than just putting the mistake track on repeat.

    Repeats with minor variations is what the entertainment industry does particularly well, especially the adult entertainment part of the industry.

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

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 5 Oct 2015 @ 7:22am

      Re:

      They're not going to stop until they can't get away with it any more. I once received an email from the Copyright Office here in the UK in which I was told that speculative invoicing is legal. Basically, they don't give a damn and unless these conmen do something egregious, they'll turn a blind eye to their shenanigans. We're on our own.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2015 @ 3:09pm

    We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, but we shall sell our citizens to the Gestapo if they download a movie.

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

  • icon
    MadAsASnake (profile), 2 Oct 2015 @ 3:11pm

    Well, a series of lawyers ruined their businesses doing this till ACS took it on having no other business or credibility. ACS crashed and burned in every way possible - Why does Gaurdaley think it'll work?

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

    • identicon
      Christenson, 2 Oct 2015 @ 3:24pm

      Re: Ruined Lawyers

      Just remember, Guardaley rakes in the cash, probably in the millions of dollars, pays nothing as those in court are ruined. Extortion is good business, as long as you are directing it invisibly behind the scenes and staying out of court yourself!

      Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

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

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 2 Oct 2015 @ 3:40pm

      Re:

      ACS burned, but not Andrew Crossley. He walked away, with hardly a dent. His information supplier just moved onto a new name IIRC.

      The germans have been playing hide the expert, filing paper from fictional people, fictional corporations and have yet to face any fallout from that. They will just invent new names and keep playing. Lawyers will fall, but the Germans are forever. Given the sheer number of lawyers the system is churning out, into a market that doesn't need them and isn't paying enough to cover the student loans, there is an endless supply of lawyers who will drink the kool-aid for the income to just put their name on a filing. They are sure they won't end up like those who fell before them, and are shocked when they do... the laughter of the "IHG" ringing in their ears.

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

  • identicon
    Christenson, 2 Oct 2015 @ 3:20pm

    Dallas Buyers Club?? Aren't the original producer's suing the Studio already?

    I think SJD or DieTrollDie had a tweet about this recently. Basically, it was over the Hollywood accounting being given to the original producers of the film, a half-decent organisation also being screwed by the Hollywood out of any accounting of financial activities outside of the US.

    So it makes actual control over the copyright a very interesting subject.

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

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 2 Oct 2015 @ 3:42pm

      Re: Dallas Buyers Club?? Aren't the original producer's suing the Studio already?

      There was no accounting of the income from the lawsuits, and much bad blood exposed in the filings of a lawsuit to get the information. One gets a feeling that the returns promised aren't that awesome. Its almost like 1 ass is trying to keep the money for himself, while screaming how he is getting ripped off while he does it to others.

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

      • identicon
        Waldo Trumbull, 2 Oct 2015 @ 6:04pm

        Re: Re: Dallas Buyers Club?? Aren't the original producer's suing the Studio already?

        Is there no morality left in this world?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2015 @ 7:47am

          Re: Re: Re: Dallas Buyers Club?? Aren't the original producer's suing the Studio already?

          When you're the IP extremists and bought politicians responsible for the ridiculous nature of our current IP laws then the answer is no.

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

    • icon
      sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), 3 Oct 2015 @ 12:17pm

      Re: Dallas Buyers Club?? Aren't the original producer's suing the Studio already?

      Yep: the troll plunders both alleged file-sharers AND actual rightsholders.

      https://fightcopyrighttrolls.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/newscomb.png

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

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 2 Oct 2015 @ 3:33pm

    Not a David Cameron Reference

    Despite all the problems with their business model and litigation history, I have no doubt they'll find some way to put lipstick on the pig.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 2 Oct 2015 @ 3:33pm

    Why do they keep sending millions of defective notices in the US?
    Because it is about the optics.
    Oh piracy is so terrible, we have to hire all of these outside firms, give us stronger laws!

    The imaginary lost billions of dollars that are always bandied about, do not fucking exist.
    The problem with piracy isn't what they claim, "no one" (there is always some asshole) is downloading these films and making a fortune to support terrorism. Hell IIRC there was some idiot who was selling counterfeit DVDs he downloaded and created, and he got lighter sentences than we see from people not doing it for profit.

    The simple fact they have to use questionable experts to fight this, should raise more questions about is this problem real or did is it caused by business models that still refuse to adapt to the modern times. This is now a viable revenue stream, using courts who could care less to funnel cash from the accused (but rarely proven to be guilty) to studios to make shitty films profitable.

    We need reform of copyright laws, to stop rewarding them for not participating in the market. We need the laws to reflect reality, not imagined trillion dollar losses from 1 person seeing a shitty film without paying. If the shitty film was available at the price the market wanted, and was obtainable without 4000 hoops & restrictions, people would opt for the legal methods.

    Imagine how much better the market would be if they stopped spending money on these stupid window dressing "solutions" and dealt with the real issues.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2015 @ 5:40pm

    Don't buy their shit.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2015 @ 6:27pm

    Show some compassion

    The copyright guys have a hard time in Germany after a rather good decade or at least they took a hard hit recently. Because a copyright company met a judge who knew the stuff he was judging because he worked as a network/sys admin before.

    If you are wondering how this turned out well... the copyright troll wanted €500 because that guy downloaded something and because something that copy is worth €500. Well, the judge kind of disagreed and gave them the huge amount of ~€2 in licencing fees.

    Story on German:
    https://www.lawblog.de/index.php/archives/2015/10/01/richter-gibt-richtern-nachhilfe/

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

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 2 Oct 2015 @ 7:05pm

    If at first you don't succeed, troll, troll, again.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2015 @ 8:49am

    Creating a world of Corporations rights VS the individual right

    Instead of adapting, their bludgeoning

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

  • icon
    tqk (profile), 4 Oct 2015 @ 12:45pm

    Lawyers. :-P

    Framed as one of the largest anti-piracy campaigns in history ...

    Doesn't that sound a lot to you like the Viking invasions? "There's booty to be had! Har harrrr!" Who's the pirates again?

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

  • icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), 4 Oct 2015 @ 1:31pm

    Note that the original Torrenfreak article changed its title to include quote marks around "Anti-piracy." Indeed, a business cannot be "anti" phenomenon it depends on.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Oct 2015 @ 7:25am

    >"Since July this year, Hatton & Berkeley and Maverick Eye have been busy working with producers, lawyers, key industry figures, investors, partners, and supporters to develop a program to protect the industry and defend the UK cinema against rampant piracy online.."

    Or, instead of being lazy sacks of shit, content creators could be working with distribution models to reach those who pirate. Hah who am I kidding.

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

  • identicon
    Clark Roberts, 5 Oct 2015 @ 8:20pm

    Substantial efforts combined

    The MaverickEye and Hatton&Berkeley partnership somehow makes me worry for some of my friends who are still torrent downloaders. Well, we can't really know or expect what's going to happen in the coming months or years but for me, this move has huge potential.

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

    • identicon
      Grey Akerman, 8 Oct 2015 @ 3:23am

      Re: Substantial efforts combined

      We all should worry Clark! Remember they are targeting the UK where the government is considering a 10-year imprisonment as maximum penalty for copyright infringement. A 2-hour movie is not worth some years spent in prison. I'm just saying.

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


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