COMCAST Is Starting To Get Fed Up With The Trolls – AF Holdings LLC, v. Does 1-1058, case 1:12-cv-00048-BAH (DC)

*** 14 Mar 12 Update —

On 13 March 2011, the EFF filed an Amicus Brief in support of a Motion to Quash the ISP subpoena (third-party) in AF Holdings LLC, v. Does 1-1058, case 1:12-cv-00048-BAH (DC).  The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation and the ACLU of the Nation’s Capitol joined EFF in the amicus brief.  12cv00048BAH.Amici_.Brief_  Only 20 Does in this case live in the DC court jurisdiction.  Imagine that – I’m shocked.   The EFF goes on to tell the court:

  • Plaintiff Has Not and Cannot Demonstrate Personal Jurisdiction Over Most Of The
    Defendants
  • Venue Is Improper As To Most Of The Defendants
  • Plaintiff Has Improperly Joined Thousands of Individual Defendants Based on Entirely
    Disparate Alleged Acts
  • Plaintiff Has Not Met Its Burden Under the First Amendment
  • If The Court Declines To Quash The Subpoenas, Immediate Appeal Is Appropriate

I still have to give it a good read and review, but here is the conclusion.

CONCLUSION
While a rightful copyright owner may certainly seek legal redress for alleged infringement, this plaintiff has failed to comply with fundamental due process. Subpoenas to the ISPs are not required to show what AF Holdings could have determined readily and inexpensively before filing suit, namely that it cannot maintain an action against approximately 1,038 of the 1,058 Doe defendants in this Court, and should never have included them. Nor will the subpoenas and identification of the defendants cure the fundamental venue and joinder problems of this lawsuit. The Court should exercise its supervisory role over discovery to quash the subpoenas and prevent these due process problems from arising. If it chooses not to do so, given the importance of the issues raised here and the wide divergence of opinion both in this District and around the country, as well as the likelihood that appellate review would result in the termination of the litigation due to the fundamental due process violations upon which it is premised, amici urge the Court to certify this matter for immediate appeal.

===============================================================

I came across this document while seeing if my last torpedo (declaration) was filed in the Prenda Law (AKA Steele Hansmeier) case AF Holdings LLC, v. Does 1-1058, case 1:12-cv-00048, District of Columbia.  I didn’t have too much hope it would stand in the DC court, but what the hell.  Here is the text of the declaration – please feel free to use any and all parts of it to support your motions/declarations, etc.  (DTD_Unsigned_00048_DC, Exhibit_A, Exhibit_B).  The main focus of this declaration was to refute the declaration of Peter Hansmeier, the “technician” for 6881 Forensics LLC (6881 post).  The declaration of these technicians is key to the court granting them the subpoena for ISP subscriber information.  Right now the court believes the Trolls are showing prima facie evidence that infringement occurred and that it has been tracked back to the public IP addresses they obtained with their proprietary forensic software.

While looking for any new documents filed on this case, I came across a “Motion to Compel Compliance With Subpoena,” from Paul Duffy, Prenda Law, filed on 17 Feb 12.  (Motion_to_Compel_00048 - SCRIBD below – Also been uploaded to RECAP)

Duffy (Prenda) appears to be having some problems with COMCAST.

“On February 2, 2012, AF Holdings served the Subpoena on Comcast. Fourteen days later, on February 16, 2012, Comcast objected to the Subpoena on four separate grounds: inadequate time for compliance, inadequate assurance of payment, improper joinder and lack of personal jurisdiction. After a good faith meet-and-confer conference on the same day, Comcast agreed to withdraw its objection regarding assurance of payment, but indicated it would stand on its remaining objections.”

On 16 Feb 12, Duffy and COMCAST held a telephonic conference and tried to resolve the issues.  The only thing they were able to resolve was an assurance of COMCAST getting paid for it efforts.  COMCAST would not budge on the issues of inadequate time for compliance, improper joinder, and lack of personal jurisdiction. 

Duffy goes on to whine to the court that COMCAST is wrong in the standard Prenda/Steele way, stating that their views are erroneous, unavailing, premature, as well as factually baseless.  It is the same old Prenda view that seems to be working for them in the DC court.

What is more interesting is the COMCAST objection letter – skip to page 35 of the motion.  It appears COMCAST hired a DC law firm to assist them in this matter – Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Washington DC (DWT Site).  I don’t know this firm, but maybe one of our legal readers can comment on this.  They list offices in Nine different location; looks like a big firm.

In the letter, John D. Seiver, tells Duffy that until a valid and specific court order is issued, they (COMCAST) will not produce the subscriber information.  Seiver goes on to tell Duffy that in Northern CA and other locations, these cases have been dismissed and due to improper joinder and lack of jurisdiction.  Seiver tells Duffy that the time frame to accomplish this effort is too short and it will not give their subscribers enough time to respond and file motions.  One funny thing in the letter is that Seiver mentions that he knows of the name changes from one firm to another (Steele Hansmeier to Prenda).  COMCAST did state they would preserve the subscriber information for 90 days.

This will be an interesting one to follow.  I’m sure there is more to come.  The DC courts may be more on the side of the Trolls, but COMCAST has finally realized that this is not going away and the Trolls are going to abuse the S#$%! out of them.  It is time for COMCAST to jump into the fight!  I know the interests of COMCAST are strictly financial, but if we can both help each other, so much the better.  If you are a Doe in this case, please file a motion to quash; this will help COMCAST fight this.

*** BTW – Here is a link a Doe passed to me on how COMCAST deals with various legal requests for information.  COMCAST Law Enforcement Handbook 2007   *** 

Sorry but I haven’t done a full analysis, I wanted to get it out.  Please review and provide comments – Yes you to John.  ;)  Guess what firm I’m going to call right now?

DieTrollDie :)

About John Doe (DieTrollDie)

I'm one of the many 'John Does' (200,000+ & growing in the US) who Copyright Trolls have threatened with a civil law suit unless they are paid off. What is a Copyright Troll? Check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation link - http://www.eff.org/issues/copyright-trolls
This entry was posted in 1:12-cv-00048, COMCAST, Paul Duffy, Peter Hansmeier, Prenda Law Inc. and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to COMCAST Is Starting To Get Fed Up With The Trolls – AF Holdings LLC, v. Does 1-1058, case 1:12-cv-00048-BAH (DC)

  1. Anonymous says:

    I suspect the DC courts have only been “on the side of Trolls” insofar as there is probably a natural tendency for people who are part of the legal system to give the benefit of the doubt to other members of the legal profession compared to (in the case of John Does) people who are literally nameless and faceless. I’m sure judges generally expect attorneys to be acting in good faith and not just running extortion scams as well.

    I think a national corporation, represented by a decent-sized law firm, will be taken seriously.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Oh and Seiver also cites “anticipated motion(s) to quash,” so so much for those being pointless.

  3. johndoe says:

    Hello everyone!!

    Just sitting here with a nice pale ale, enjoying the various blog posts and thinking of how to better fight piracy. Feeling pretty good about this issue and enjoy exploring the finer points of this litigation with the very distinguished jurists in DC, with whom I have the utmost respect.

    I think you guys should just stick to picking on the Hashmis and Stones of the world. After all, not many articles out there about how a certain Miami firm is having any problems with the courts. I guess we will see.

    BTW, what firm are you going to call DTD? After all, we have seen your legal mind in all its glory Next time, don’t embarrass yourself, at least ask a law student for help.

    “DAMN THE TORPEDOS, FULL SPEED AHEAD!!”

    • DieTrollDie says:

      Hitting the bottle a bit early on a Monday? I see your ego got you to respond pretty fast. Thank you John Steele. You still haven’t figured out that each time you post, you only help us. Yes a law firm against the Does, that is impressive. Can’t wait to see how you fair against DWT. And John, please stop it with the “Fight Piracy” bit, nobody buys that claim. It is more accurate to say you were thinking of new ways to make money off unsuspecting new Does. Go ahead and make fun of my efforts; it comes across as protesting too much. Claim you firm is untouchable; that will only make the fall that much funnier.

      DTD :)

    • DJ says:

      Seems like John Steele checks this blog more often than I do!

    • anonymous says:

      Johnny Boy,

      What makes you think your (notice the proper use) is successful? Using an archaic and outdated bill of discovery law in Florida? Look at the yahoo Gibbs in California that you employ, he is comical at best.

      If you were even close to being a successful IP Attorney, you would have the balls to litigate a case.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, never ever winning a case is a very strange measure of success… Unless of course you have a scam that depends on never needing to win a case.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why you gotta hate John? We hear Paul’s wife loves to party with Evan Stone. I hope your public attempts to distance yourself don’t make things too awkward the next time you guys hang out.

      I knew you guys would scramble to throw each other under the bus once thing started to turn. There’s no honor among thieves, eh?

  4. trolltrash says:

    I like the interaction. At least it puts a “human like” appearance to Mr. Steele, but if he really wanted to fight piracy he would buy a missile destroyer and move to Somalia.

    The more he pisses people off in Miami the bigger the white circle with the red dot gets.
    50%+ being wrongfully accused will soon get the wrong doe or group of does. Some good attorneys are now getting involved. We may be near the peak for profits for trolls.

  5. another troll slayer says:

    still can’t wait for the US AG or other US Attorney to peel back that small thin layer that these trolls are hiding behind and properly hit them with criminal extortion charges. RICO wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for their actions either. We all know the so-called settlement letters are criminal in nature, meet all the necessary criminal extortion definitions, and would be a real slam-dunk for any US Attorney, US AG, or even a state AG, if they would put in a little effort. I’m sure the scum-sucking criminal-extortionist-trolls would make some llike-minded felon cellmate a nice little girlfriend for a few years. Its coming Johnny boy!!! Maybe the trolls would like being raped as much and as hard as they are raping those they are currently victimizing with their extortion scheme.
    If any of these trolls don’t think that it’s not already being looked into, they better think a little harder…..its too big not to notice nowadays. But then the trolls would need something besides shit-for-brains to do that much thinking.

  6. anon says:

    Where is a US Attorney or Attorney General with some balls when you need one? Charge the trolls with extortion, fine them until they are crawling back to their troll-holes, then imprison them with the rest of the felons. With a little law in the background, do I really need to start quoting Fed as well as state CRIMINAL statutes regarding extortion? Civil suits would slam the door (to the prison cell….) shut on these trolls as well.

  7. Raul says:

    Having defended a convicted felon in a subsequent, after he got out of prison, civil RICO suit to strip him of all his assets and, regrettably lost, I do not think that a civil RICO lawsuit would be too much of a stretch against these trolls and their clients . This is because the largest hurdle is proving an “enterprise” of unlawful/criminal activity between the attorneys and their clients which the extortion business model is largely premised upon- threatened claims that might be impossible to prove in a court of law (i.e. statutory damages for alleged preregistration infringement)

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget no-registration infringement. That’s a popular option with these guys too, especially Hard Drive Productions, Inc.

      That’s why Johnny has gotten better about registering the works before filing these cases; he senses how much trouble those past indiscretions might bring. But don’t worry John, we’ve already taken note of how sloppy you guys were and will be making sure you pay for it.

  8. John Dough says:

    I contacted Rick Germano thru this link in mid November. http://www.comcast.com/Corporate/Customers/RickGCustCare.html?SCRedirect=true
    I calmly explained the issue to him and asked if he was aware of it. I mentioned that Comcast two biggest competitors (ATT, Verizon) stepped up to the plate and were protecting the privacy of their customers and that even though I have been a Comcast customer for 35+ years, I would throw them overboard for a company that would protect my privacy till the case reached my local juristiction.

    I may have mentioned that I worked with Sheldon Boniface for 10 years at Duane and it might buff up his star if he made Sheldon aware of this.
    http://www.comcast.com/corporate/about/pressroom/corporateoverview/boardofdirectors/sheldonbonovitz.html?SCRedirect=true

    Comcast is about the money, If your a Comcast customer, email Rick and thank him that they are finally getting into the fight.

    • no dough for you says:

      Looks like you are misinformed and wait until your information gets handed over to trolls by Comcast, you will never think twice by ending your relationship with them. Those thinking about “thanking” them do not bother. If you think Comcast has any loyalty to their customers then you are clearly living under a rock. They have whored themselves out to other trolls and it is no secret. Duffy is a noob at this game and clearly Comcast has responded with a preverbal: “show me the money” or else.

      • DieTrollDie says:

        Not misinformed. I know that COMCAST is only thinking of its bottom line – profit. The fact that Prenda is not smart enough to share their gains with them, says so much. Greed Greed Greed. I can only hope Prenda tries to fight this and COMCAST actually fights them. Either way, this helps get the information out about the Trolls.

        DTD :)

      • no dough for you says:

        @DTD: My response above was to @John Dough, not to dismiss what you said in the post at all. No doubt Pretenda is about greed but if they are too cheap to pay off Comcast then they will push back. An IP lookup does not cost as much as they state but it is overblown like government budgeting of “$20,000 on a hammer, $30,000 on a toilet seat.”

        Thanks for putting this MTC out, so now we know how it looks behind the smoke and mirrors.

      • DieTrollDie says:

        No problem. I can only hope they keep fighting with COMCAST. DTD :)

  9. Jim Bolins says:

    I was recently contacted by my ISP that my information will soon be revealed same old story. I have since come across two articles http://www.zdnet.com/blog/networking/court-rules-internet-ip-addresses-are-not-people/1022 and another from http://torrentlawyer.wordpress.com/ . The first states that IP addresses are not equivalent to individual names. The second in summary states that if you are being subpoenaed by a court in oh say The District of Columbia (as my personal case is) and you don’t reside there (which I don’t) the law office has no jurisdiction over you and they would have to refile in a local court if they so wish. So my question is how do I use these articles to stop my ISP from giving out my personal info and or get this ridiculous case thrown out??? Thanks for the responses in advance.

    • TrollTarget says:

      Do you live close to the District of Columbia? I read in one of the judges’ rulings that the DC court’s jurisdiction in these matters extends about a 35 mile radius around DC. So for example if you’re in Arlington, VA, it’s going to be tough to argue the court has no jurisdiction. I’m not a lawyer, this is my own assessment based on reading many of the judges’ rulings from the DC court in these copyright troll cases.

      If you live say, in Philadelphia, you could file a motion to quash claiming improper joinder due to the jurisdiction issues… I think. Someone better-educated than I on legal matters should weigh in on this as well. There are many precedents in district courts across the country for defendants being dismissed WITHOUT PREJUDICE in such cases due to jurisdiction issues.

      What’s the risk? Well, you can’t file an anonymous motion to quash in DC. Your name is going to be emblazoned on a publicly-accessible court document showing that you filed a motion to quash. This is one reason why these cases are so hideous. If you are legitimately innocent, do you want your name in some google-able index linking you to downloading some horrible sounding pornographic film? The trolls know this. Look at the titles of the films they troll over. They’re generally the most vile titles imaginable. Therefore I have absolutely no doubt that numerous innocent people have settled these cases by paying the $2500-ish to the trolls to save face.

      You are right — an IP address is not a name. The trolls admit this. The trolls further admit that even if the Internet service account is in your name, that you may not be the one who committed the alleged act of infringement. They know that in reality, most people won’t take the time and spend the money on a legal defense to fight these allegations. Most people either settle or ignore these cases and the cases fade away or are squashed after some time by the judge.

      I was a john doe in a case too. I know how it feels, and you have the support of those here and elsewhere on the ‘net who are experiencing the same. The government needs to stop the flagrant abuse of the legal system that these trolls are committing. It is extortion and nothing more. The trolls are proud of their little cash cow. It’s trite to say that “the bigger they are the harder they fall,” but they will fall in time, they will be humbled in their personal or professional lives and at some point will regret their arrogant abuse of justice.

      • 1911 says:

        Hey thanks a lot for your response. I live in XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX so I’m quite sure I’m out of the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia. I have an appointment to see a lawyer today and will discuss this with him and I will post on here for anyone who may find themselves in the same situation I am.

  10. Jim Bolins says:

    Guess I’m not allowed to say the state I live in. Regardless I am hundreds of miles from the District of Columbia

  11. CTVic says:

    I see you note that Comcast’s interest is primarily financial – and that’s entirely true. However, I think that Comcast’s finally woken up to the fact that what’s bad for their customers is bad for their bottom line.
    Rolling over on a few customers wasn’t a big deal at the end of 2010/beginning of 2011 … however it’s not just one or two guys going after a few hundred Comcast subscribers any more. The rest of the sharks have smelled the blood in the water, and Comcast is about to have a feeding frenzy on their hands. What started out as a few sacrificial lambs is now starting to threaten the flock in its entirety.

  12. Anonymous says:

    http://ia700806.us.archive.org/25/items/gov.uscourts.dcd.152214/gov.uscourts.dcd.152214.docket.html

    Bunch of interesting-sounding stuff went up in this case. The ISPs have collectively filed a motion to quash, along with about 125 pages of total supporting documentation. Not ready to eat the PACER hit on all that, I’ve done my share recently, but maybe somebody else will.
    4 ISPs filing MTQ should be newsworthy in its own right though. Hopefully John will pop in and tell us how useless they are, we miss him.

  13. Anon says:

    A person I talked to has an interesting case against this law firm and its client open mind. So open mind runs a porn site. Now, it is very likely that among these thousands of names are children that have seen this porn thus the company could be charged for illegal distribution to minors is he correct? I don’t think he is but wanted to discuss with some of you.

    • Raul says:

      Only if you could prove the pornographer or his agents uploaded the porn initially. But, hey, why on earth would they possibly want to do that?

      • Anon says:

        The person’s argument is that they do initially put the content up and leave it unprotected. He was talking about water marking as something they could do if they really wanted but since they don’t they would be guilty for allowing it to fall into underage childrens’ hands. Honestly I think he’s wrong but it was an interesting conversation.

  14. Anon says:

    and to Mr. Steele you are a stain on American Justice using some “revolutionary” scheme to extort thousands of innocent people (among some guilty no doubt). As with the movie and music industry your attempt to collect will fail miserably, Undoubtedly you have engaged in several illegal attempts to circumvent due process among other nefarious deeds. Be proud though that you have motivated me to become a lawyer so I can fight slime like you. Rant over.

  15. Raul says:

    There is a legal maxim I have forgotten decades ago which precludes a plaintiff from being rewarded for his illegal conduct. Whethether that applies to a minor, I have no idea.

  16. DieTrollDie says:

    *** 14 Mar 12 Update —
    On 13 March 2011, the EFF filed an Amicus Brief in support of a Motion to Quash the ISP subpoena (third-party) in AF Holdings LLC, v. Does 1-1058, case 1:12-cv-00048-BAH (DC). The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation and the ACLU of the Nation’s Capitol joined EFF in the amicus brief.

    http://dietrolldie.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/12cv00048bah-amici_-brief_.pdf
    Only 20 Does in this case live in the DC court jurisdiction. Imagine that – I’m shocked. The EFF goes on to tell the court:

    1) Plaintiff Has Not and Cannot Demonstrate Personal Jurisdiction Over Most Of The
    Defendants
    2) Venue Is Improper As To Most Of The Defendants
    3) Plaintiff Has Improperly Joined Thousands of Individual Defendants Based on Entirely Disparate Alleged Acts
    4) Plaintiff Has Not Met Its Burden Under the First Amendment
    5) If The Court Declines To Quash The Subpoenas, Immediate Appeal Is Appropriate

    I still have to give it a good read and review, but here is the conclusion.

    CONCLUSION
    While a rightful copyright owner may certainly seek legal redress for alleged infringement, this plaintiff has failed to comply with fundamental due process. Subpoenas to the ISPs are not required to show what AF Holdings could have determined readily and inexpensively before filing suit, namely that it cannot maintain an action against approximately 1,038 of the 1,058 Doe defendants in this Court, and should never have included them. Nor will the subpoenas and identification of the defendants cure the fundamental venue and joinder problems of this lawsuit. The Court should exercise its supervisory role over discovery to quash the subpoenas and prevent these due process problems from arising. If it chooses not to do so, given the importance of the issues raised here and the wide divergence of opinion both in this District and around the country, as well as the likelihood that appellate review would result in the termination of the litigation due to the fundamental due process violations upon which it is premised, amici urge the Court to certify this matter for immediate appeal.

  17. Raul says:

    I like all the arguments but, given the circumstances and local, of this case i like Argument IV the best. It seem that the only way for the District of Columbia to break its downward death spiral with the trolls (who are flocking like kids to Good Humor truck and, concurrently, taxing judicial resources ) is for the Circuit Court to to take a long hard look at these shenanigans.

  18. Raul says:

    Oops! Meant to write Argument V.

  19. snake says:

    i got one of these letters that comcast is going to reveal my information..but i chose to do nothing….. anyone know what will happen? it is from prienda i think

  20. despondant says:

    i also got a letter and concerned. Case name Third degree Films, Inc. V. DOES 1-178 Has anyone else received one? What is being done about it? We are worried since we do not have any reason or recall of this allegation.

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