Ira Siegel’s response to Judge Bernard Zimmerman’s post-hearing order came a day late, and some would say it was “a dollar short,” in its content. Based on the overall response, I don’t see what took him so long. Some are of the opinion that the late response and the failure to adequately answer the questions from the Judge is a move by Mr. Siegel to get the case thrown out without have to disclose the answers to the judge’s questions. 63062293-10-Cv-04472-BZ-Document-57-Post-Hearing-Order63757160-10-Cv-04472-BZ-Document-59-Reply-to-Order
Lets take a look at the response. First off, Mr. Siegel starts off complaining about the wonderful Blog of Sophisticatedjanedoe (fightcopyrighttrolls.com), instead of answering the questions in the order. I can’t see the relevance of this whining to the questions. Mr. Siegel tries to get the point on page 3 when he claims he is trying to show what type of people they are dealing with –
“people pirating copyrighted works and otherwise engaging in tortious activity behind what they hope is the shield of anonymous IP addresses…”
The issue is not that the defendants are anonymous; it is that they have brought up valid points to the court. The court has decided to test these claims and directed Mr. Siegel to answer some questions. It allows the judge to make a sound decision.
Next Mr. Siegel asks the court not to judge the case on the “relatively few, if any, potentially EXCEPTIONAL situations.” He goes on to tell the court that one of the exceptional situations may have been one of the movants who said the infringement was caused by an adult relative they provide supervisory care – if they were actually telling the truth. He then states the following:
“Further, for all we know, that adult relative may be allowed to visit malls or even drive an automobile. Are we supposed to be willing victims of that adult relative’s stealing goods from stores or committing vehicular battery just because that relative purportedly must be under the supervision of the movant?”
No “We” as a society should not be liable to for the actions of that adult relative, BUT neither should the IP owner; the individual is responsible. The reason you will not even bother to investigate this claim, is that it is not a win-win for you. The IP owner is probably better off financially and you can possibly get money out of them by claiming they are liable.
He goes on to make a Biblical reference and enjoins the court not to base its decision of the exceptional instances (if they exist). He states that the truth will only come out after the movants are named and they can be examined. How are you going to examine the movants? You do no other investigative efforts than gather IP addresses from BitTorrent. The only efforts you have made are to try to get people to settle under the fear of being named in a law suit and having to pay out more money than your “fair” offer.
When Mr. Siegel gets around to answering the questions, we get the following:
- Daniel Staub Raw Released on 9 June 2010
- Copies of this film sold: To be filed under seal
- Copyright Enforcement Group hired for this film on 21 May 2010
- Total amount received from Does that settled: He objected
- Provide a copy of the letters sent to Does: He objected
First thing I have to wonder about is why the employment date of CEG is before the release of the film. I would love to hear the answer.
Mr. Siegel objected to providing the total amount of funds received from all the settling Does, based on the confidentiality contract between him and the Does. If you read the order from the judge, he only asks for the TOTAL amount received, not the details on each settlement. So I don’t think that his objection is very strong.
As far as not providing a copy of the settlement letters, I’m still trying to figure that one out. He cites Rule 408 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. Reading the last part of Rule 408 and I find an example of permitted use, to include proving a witnesses bias or prejudice. I think reading the settlement letter would go directly to proving OR disproving the bias or prejudice of Mr. Siegel.
In closing remarks, Mr. Siegel goes on to say that sophisticatedjanedoe and others who hope to
“escape the tyranny of paying for their entertainment, there is no “extortion” here and the only known victim is the Plaintiff whose copyright has been infringed. Stated another way, just because a whole group of people, even thousands of people, engage in similar actions and try to self-apply the labels of victim and virtuosity upon themselves, that does not mean that they are not actually committing a wrong.”
Well Mr. Siegel, neither does it mean that they are all guilty.
By your reasoning, since a large number are guilty of infringement, everyone else you accuse is guilty until they can prove they are innocent. There may be a lesser burden of proof requirement in civil matters, but you still have to prove your case. Having an IP address and obtaining subscriber information isn’t proof – it is only a start. More work needs to be done. You have no intention of taking additional steps, as it will cost you more money than want to spend. You just have to make it financially advantageous to settle and not fight; and make such settlements a confidential contract. Great business model, even if it is sleazy.
P.S. Please keep responding to all the judges like you did on this order. :)