Here is one of the cases I came upon while looking at the copyright infringement cases opened up during July 2013. Site B, LLC v. Does 1-51, 1:13-cv-05295, NDIL. Complaint_05295(IL) Complaint_EX_A_B_05295(IL) The case was filed by Michael A. Hierl and Todd S. Parkhurst, Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd., Chicago, IL.
As I suspected it is one of boiler plate design copyright troll complaints adapted for use with low-budget/low-grossing movie. The movie in this complaint is “Under The Bed,” a horror movie first released in July 2012. The movie has an effective registration date of 5 Nov 12, with Site B, LLC (CA Registration) as the owner and certification by Ben Rabbers, Sherman Oaks, CA.
The complaint opens with the statement -
The Motion Picture has significant value and has been created and produced at considerable expense. The Motion Picture is currently available on DVD for rental or purchase from Amazon and iTunes.
I don’t know what the movie cost to produce, but with a rating of 4.3 out of 10 (IMDb), I probably would rate its value as less-than significant – but that is subjective. Amazon will release the DVD on 30 Jul 13, for $9.99 (pre-order price). After the release, the movie can be purchased for $14.99. I expect soon after the DVD release, you will be able to find it used for approximately $5.00.
The complaint has a single charge of copyright infringement by 51 Does who reside in the Northern District IL jurisdiction. The SHA-1 hash file for this case/movie is D7D28385F747F9F397EE6B2DE63DEBDFE9A43528, BT File name: Under The Bed(2012) [1080p]. The date range of the activity is 19 Apr – 28 May 13, with largest number of Does being recorded on 20-21 Apr 13. As usual with these cases, there is no information showing how all the Does interacted with each other over the course of the swarm.
The plaintiff claims all the Does are properly joined because –
By participating in the same swarm, each Defendant participated in the same transaction, occurrence or series of transactions or occurrences as the other Defendants in the swarm. The foregoing acts of infringement constitute a collective enterprise of shared, overlapping facts and have been willful, intentional, and in disregard of and with indifference to the rights of Plaintiff.
This of course is the “jointly and severally liable” aspect of these cases which could get Plaintiff into trouble if they actually end up serving non-settling Does. The actual serving (complaint/summons) of Does in these low-budget movie copyright infringement cases has yet to happen (to my knowledge). From my assessment, these Plaintiff/Trolls/Cases are in the very early stages, similar to what the porn copyright infringement cases were at the beginning of 2011. I expect these cases to be milked for as many settlements as possible and then dismissed without prejudice so the Plaintiff/troll can move onto new cases. If we do see any complaint/summons being served, it is likely to be against defendants who have a high chance of defaulting.
As far other Site B, LLC cases, they are listed on the copyright registration for the dramatic work, “Late Phases.” This appears to be another horror movie that is still in the filming/production stages – Fangoria Article. I would expect future Site B, LLC (or Late Phase LLC) complaints to be filed for copyright infringement once this movie is released or at least shown at some horror movie festivals or screenings.
The next step will be Plaintiff’s early discovery request for ISP subscriber information on the recorded public IP addresses. I don’t know the judge in this cases, but it is likely the early discovery will be approved and the 51 Does will start to receive their notifications from their ISPs.
Until the Northern District of IL decided to kill these types of mass Doe cases based on joinder, the problem (and case filings) will continue.