Take Note: Copyright Troll Gets Stiff Response From Someone It Tried To Bully, Immediately Runs Away
from the bully-the-bully dept
It should be well-known by readers of this site that copyright trolls are essentially bullies. They send out their settlement threat letters, hoping to extort money from a public that typically doesn't know better than to be terrified by the legalese claims within the letters. It's a practice fraught with deception, as the evidence referenced in the letters typically amounts to nothing more than an IP address -- which itself may or may not be correct -- while the threats themselves can often times include consequences not remotely plausible. Still, the bullying goes on, because it works enough to make it profitable.
That's why it's important to highlight how these bullies tend to respond when a target decides to stand up to them. Much like the bullies we've had in our personal lives, they tend to run away as quickly as possible. One recent example of this is James Collins, who received a troll letter from LHF Productions, the company behind the movie London Has Fallen. The company accused Collins of both downloading the movie via BitTorrent, as well as then making it available to others via the same means. Rather than acquiescing, however, Collins got himself a lawyer and had him punch back.
In a letter obtained by the troll watchers over at DieTrollDie, Collins’ lawyer J. Christopher Lynch informs LHF lawyer David A. Lowe of this stance in no uncertain terms.
“As Mr. Collins told you in his letter dated October 6, 2016, he is innocent. Mr. Collins was asleep on the date at the time the Amended Complaint accuses him of being ‘observed infringing’,” Lynch writes. “Likewise, Mr. Collins has no secondary liability because he never aided, directed, facilitated, benefitted from, or shared in the proceeds of any violations of the law by anyone. We are optimistic that your client and its foreign representatives will see the wisdom of dismissing Mr. Collins. We recognize this requires ‘taking our word’ that Mr. Collins is wholly innocent, but, believe me, he is, just like he told you he is."
That bit about foreign representatives is important. Many of the companies that send out these threat letters rely on foreign groups to do the IP address tracking on which the threats rely. Any ancillary "evidence" of the infringement is typically also compiled by these foreign groups. That's actually something of a problem for the copyright troll, as the foreign group then becomes the "witness" to the infringement, and witnesses both can be called into court to testify and, in the case of those acting as investigators, face licensing requirements in some areas. Lynch further hammers this home in his letter to LHF Productions.
“Your client’s foreign representatives could have complied with Washington law by hiring a licensed investigator to corroborate the foreign investigation in real time, since the purported location of the entrapped IP addresses is known,” he writes. “But your client’s representatives chose not to invest in compliance with Washington law, and are taking a chance that somehow the foreign witness to the ‘observed infringing’ can testify, and that somehow the entrapped ‘blip’ of the movie in question will be sufficient evidence of U.S. copyright infringement.”
Had everything been done on the level by the copyright troll and its foreign associates, this language ought to have had no impact on the troll's actions. Good evidence and a justifiable case deserves its day in court, after all. That makes it all the more telling what LHF Productions did instead.
As noted by DieTrollDie, that threat proved too much for LHF Productions. The company dismissed the case against Mr Collins in preference to being put under the microscope. There are probably very good reasons for that and ones that other recipients of threatening letters should consider exploring.
Remember, friends, bullies tend to run away when someone stands up to them. If the majority of the public were aware of stories like these, copyright trolling would stop due to its lack of profitability.