I decided to take a look at another group of non-pornography copyright troll case and see what I could find. The Plaintiff for a recent spat of cases is TCYK, LLC. “TCYK” is the acronym for the movie, “The Company You Keep,” – IMDB link, a larger mainstream movie that looks to have grossed over Five Million dollars since its December 2012 release in Italy (USA release 5 Apr 13). Here is a couple of sites that have discussed the TCYK LLC cases filed in IL and WI, as well as a few complaint.
In my opinion, the Plaintiff is a front for the copyright troll operation of generating settlements from alleged copyright infringement via BitTorrent. Now I don’t doubt that copyright infringement of the movie in question is occurring. What I do take exception with is the business model of extracting settlements for copyright infringement and claiming to be fighting piracy. That argument is BS in my opinion and this is nothing more than greed raising its ugly head. I assume that the Plaintiff/Troll will make a settlement demand of at least $2K for the infringement. I also believe the settlement amount demanded by the trolls to be excessive. The Trolls will claim they are operating within the law as written, but they know the law was written to combat commercial copyright infringement and NOT individual infringement. They are gaming the system for profit and are not fighting piracy in the slightest.
Mortgage A Copyright
If you take a look at the US Copyright Office database, you will find many interesting things concerning this plaintiff and the copyright in question for the DVD (PAU003660935, 17 Oct 12). The initial interesting bit is that TCYK LLC owns the copyright rights because of a transfer or rights. Sounds very Prenda-ish doesn’t it??? If you continue to look at all the documents associated with TCYK LLC, you will notice a group of document showing the copyright was apparently mortgaged. Many interesting names and companies are associated with this activity of apparently mortgaging the copyright for cash and then filing these suits to repay the mortgage. So now it looks like Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company and International Guarantors, LLC (International Film Guarantors LLC operates as a subsidiary of Fireman’s Fund Insurance), are taking part in Copyright Trolling for profit. I don’t think Fireman’s Fund would be too happy to see their name associated with the trolls.
The cases are nothing special in terms of copyright trolling – just the standard boilerplate complaint. Based on this and the fact that there appears to be a mortgage on the copyright, I really doubt the Plaintiff really wants to take this to trial. Even having one trial is going to cost the Plaintiff more money than they want to spend. Unless they can get a default judgment against someone with significant assets, quick settlement collections is the best way to repay the debt. I don’t know the terms of the mortgage, but I’m sure the backing companies want their share up front. Saying that, I would not simply ignore any settlement demands you might receive.
If you have any contact from the Trolls in these cases, please tell us what has been your experience. I also know we have some people here who are very good at digging up interesting information. Please share with us what you find.