Waivers And Disclosures – TCYK, LLC, v. Does 1-12, 4:13-cv-04041 (ILCD)

KCYCBP1Since the end of April 2013, TCYK LLC (Movie – The Company You Keep), has been filing multiple cases in various jurisdiction.  Previous TCYK posting.   A quick search of RFCExpress shows 70 TCYK BitTorrent copyright infringement cases in the following jurisdictions – WI, IL, TN, OH, CO, IA, and MN.  I count the number of Does in these cases to be 2826.  Instead of filing a single large case that is most likely to be dismissed (even in the District of DC), Plaintiff decided to file the cases in the appropriate jurisdictions for the Does.  Two aspects of these cases have brought up some interesting points to consider.

Waiver of Service

Recently, a nice Doe pointed out that in one of the IL TCYK cases, Does 1-12, 4:13-cv-04041, Troll Keith Vogt filed three Waiver of Service (WOS) forms for Does # 1, 2, & 7, listing their true names, addresses, and IP addresses.   WOS_Doe7_04041(IL) WOS_Doe1_04041(IL) WOS_Doe2_04041(IL)   The date on the WOS is 19 Jul 13, but they were not filed until 29 Jul 13.  I don’t know if any of the WOS have actually been sent to the Does, but I assume they have.  I believe the reason they filed the WOS was to show the court they was moving forward with the case.  The only other activity noted in this case was the voluntary dismissal of Doe #4 (without prejudice) and Doe #11 (with prejudice).   Dismiss_Doe11_04041(IL) Dismiss_Doe4_04041(IL)  Note: all of these Does are COMCAST subscribers, so I will assume the other ISPs have yet to provide Plaintiff the subscriber information.

The WOS is the same general form I mentioned in my Troll Tricks posting concerning The Thompson cases.  The WOS can be dangerous for Does if they do not file an answer to the complaint no later than 60 days after signing the WOS.  Failure to do this will allow the Plaintiff to motion the court for a default judgement.  Unless you know how a judge will rule on damages, it can vary between $750.00 – $150,000.00, plus costs and attorneys fees (willful infringement claim).  I’m of the opinion that once a Doe receives a WOS, they should be talking to an attorney to explore their options.  I personally wouldn’t decide to settle if I received a WOS.  The worst that can happen by not signing the WOS is Plaintiff pays a process-server to serve you.  You COULD have to pay for this (approx. $75-100).  We haven’t seen this Plaintiff in action, so it is hard to say what they will do.  Based on the fact that they are repaying a mortgage with the  settlements, fighting it out in a trial is not a good way to make a profit (or repay a debit).  I believe the WOS is being used here to find out if a Doe is willing to settle if pressured or if they are a likely candidate for a default judgement.   If Plaintiff is serious about going to trial, they will simply serve a defendant (summons/complaint) and wait the 21 days to see if they respond.  The WOS in my opinion is a “soft” approach that reduces the possibility a Doe will fight back.

Disclosure Statement (Plaintiff)

As I previously posted, an examination of the copyright registration for this movie disclosed the interesting fact that it had been mortgaged (See below).  It appears the Plaintiff in this case purchased the copyright so it could file these cases to collect settlements from alleged BitTorrent infringer.  As the movie was a larger production with some big name stars, I assume the original copyright holder required a substantially large amount of money from the Plaintiff – thus the mortgage company was needed to finance this operation.  While Plaintiff now owns the copyright for this movie, the mortgage companies (Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company and International Guarantors, LLC) are the lien-holder until the debt is paid off.

For this case I also decided to look at the Disclosure Statement.  This is a standard requirement (FRCP 7.1) used by the court to determine if there is some financial reason the judge should remove himself from the case.  The most common reason is because a judge may own stock (or other interest – mutual funds, etc.) in a company is financially tied to Plaintiff.  The disclosure statement requirement – “(1) identifies any parent corporation and any publicly held corporation owning 10% or more of its stock; or (2) states that there is no such corporation.”  Here is the disclosure statement that Plaintiff provided the court for this case.   Disclosure_04041(IL)

For the Central District of IL, there are also additional Local Rules (11.3) Plaintiff has to abide by.  This local rule sets the additional requirement of disclosure by Amicus Curiae parties and non-governmental lawyers who will be taking part in the case.  What I found interesting concerning FRCP 7.1 is the reason for the disclosure statement.

The information required by Rule 7.1(a) reflects the “financial interest” standard of Canon 3C(1)(c) of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges. This information will support properly informed disqualification decisions in situations that call for automatic disqualification under Canon 3C(1)(c). It does not cover all of the circumstances that may call for disqualification under the financial interest standard, and does not deal at all with other circumstances that may call for disqualification. (Committee Notes on Rules—2002)

Now Plaintiff appears to be abiding by the letter of the rule, but misses the spirit of it.  As the copyright is mortgaged by Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company and International Guarantors, LLC (International Film Guarantors LLC operates as a subsidiary of Fireman’s Fund Insurance), there is clearly a financial interest in these TCYK cases by a “publicly held corporation.”  As theses companies hold the lien to the copyright, the financial interest is most likely greater than 10%.

I don’t think this information will kill these cases, but it will inform the court that it appears that the copyright was mortgaged with no other purpose than to go after alleged infringers for thousands of dollars in settlements.  I expect the courts to eventually see this, but not until many of the 2826 Does have paid Plaintiff.

TCYK2 TCYK1

DieTrollDie :)

About 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
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30 Responses to Waivers And Disclosures – TCYK, LLC, v. Does 1-12, 4:13-cv-04041 (ILCD)

  1. does1-44 says:

    I have also received a letter from comcast, regarding a subpoena to release my personal info. Does it look like tcyk will actually litigate, or are they bluffing? Has anyone settled yet? How much are they asking for ? I have about 6 days to decide, please let me hear some advice from anyone

    • DieTrollDie says:

      I would assume they are looking for $3.5K – $4K to settle. So far we have not seen how willing they are to push this.

      DTD :)

      • Chuck says:

        Quick question……Correct me if I am wrong but If a good amount of the does 1-114 settle and pay TCYK, it would probably not be worth their time to go after the rest individually? or would it? Just asking because I too am one of the does 1-114. One attorney said that settlement was between $1500-$2200 but wanted $400 to be my negotiator or intermediate keeping my name out of the suit. The attorney also said that TCYK would not take any kind of payment arrangement. If I didn’t settle, TCYK might go after me for 3-5k. I have a problem coming up with the that kind of money. If I had it, it would not be an issue and I would pay. If they won a judgement, they would have no choice but to take payments. What do you think?

      • DieTrollDie says:

        Based on everything I have seen in the past, even if 75% of the Does settle, handling just over 25 defendants in one case (or even split into single cases) is a nightmare. As TCYK keep has many other cases with multiple Does, multiple this number a few times. As they already will know the name of the defendant, there is little excuse to dragging it out. If they do so, courts/judges are going to see that they are only interested in extracting settlements. If they will not accept a settlement payment plan, they are just hurting themselves. I would assume that with any judgement, most people could not come up with the total and some arrangements would have to be made.

        DTD :)

  2. terrified says:

    Whats the process of this? Internet provider gets subpoena to release personal info, then what?and then what?

    • Silver_Doe says:

      There is a lot of good info that will answer your question on this website. The Newbie section is pretty helpful.
      I also found an article on the Pietz Law Firm website called, “Slaying the Copyright Troll” pretty straight forward and easy to understand. Do a Google search for: Pietz Law Firm Slaying the Copyright Troll.

  3. TCYK, LLC v. Does 1-114 says:

    Please let me know more about TCYK, LLC v. Does 1-114. Which would be the best route to take with the least money involved?

  4. TCYK LLC v DOE FLORIDA says:

    I have also received a letter from Verizon, regarding a subpoena to release my personal info in MIddle District of Florida. Any new comments on whether to settle this in advance or just sit back and wait?
    This is in Florida. An individual Doe vs TCYK, LLC case filed by Richard Fee the attorney. I am past my 30 days of receiving the original letter but have not received any request for $$. I’m sure that will come any day now.
    Thanks for any other information.

  5. TCYK v DOE Florida says:

    I also received a letter from Comcast and I’m not sure how to proceed. According to this site, http://illinoisiplitigation.com/2013/09/18/tcyk-llc-sues-six-individual-does-in-the-northern-district/, the plaintiff has filed eight separate suits against Doe defendants that had filed motions to quash subpoenas in TCYK’s earlier lawsuits. So does that mean we shouldn’t file a motion to quash?

  6. TCYK v WI Doe says:

    I received a letter directly from TCYK 1-35 instead of my ISP which was surprising because I though the ISP (Time Warner) was suppose to inform you first. I’m interested in finding out what options some of the people in this forum choose? I was able to negotiate a lower settlement but have not signed or paid yet. Just want to find out more info. I did find the Pietz Law Firm Slaying the Copyright Troll document very informative but from reading it I’m leaning to option 4.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      You should have receive the information from your ISP. I would call their legal department and ask. be warned, if you disclose a settlement amount in an open forum, they could try to back out of the deal.

      DTD :)

  7. SRT157 says:

    i also received letters from lawyer representing tcyk in iowa. i have never received anthing from provider

  8. Joe says:

    Was the case terminated TCYK, LLC v. DOES 1-114?

  9. Joe says:

    Awesome! It is without prejudice thought, can they reopen the case?

  10. Joe says:

    Dallas Buyers Club, LLC v. Does 1-46 (Case No. 2014-CV-2168) Is that terminated as well?

  11. Joe says:

    Will they reopen that you think?

    • DieTrollDie says:

      This is one of the reason the ILND was (and still IS) a favorite Troll district. The judge (Ruben Castillo) decided to dismiss the complaint, BUT is still allowing the ISP subscriber information to be subpoened, PENDING the Troll/Plaintiff filing an amended complaint. Here is the note:

      MINUTE entry before the Honorable Ruben Castillo:After a careful review of this recently filed case, Plaintiff is authorized to proceed with expedited discovery and issue subpoena(s) to determine the identity of the appropriate individual defendants. In the meantime, the current Doe complaint will be dismissed without prejudice to the filing of an appropriate amended complaint which names individual defendants that can be properly joined together in one lawsuit. All third party subpoenas must be complied with even though the pending complaint is dismissed without prejudice.Mailed notice(rao, )

      So depending on what the judge means with – “In the meantime, the current Doe complaint will be dismissed without prejudice to the filing of an appropriate amended complaint which names individual defendants that can be properly joined together in one lawsuit.” – the Troll may refile the complaint. Even if they do not, I would expect the Troll to get the ISP subscriber information and still make settlement demands – even with a dismissed complaint.

      DTD :)

  12. Joe says:

    Do you think that the troll could go further, since it already looks like the troll did something wrong? Will they bother to refill is since they made fools of themselves already? If they do it seems that would be the exact the same process as TCYK. The case was terminated w/o prejudice back in April though.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      The judge said they could, BUT they need to file “an appropriate amended complaint which names individual defendants that can be properly joined together in one lawsuit.” So I really doubt they will do that. They may try to refile “Something” but I doubt it will pass. Also, if they get the ISP subscriber information, they will just try to use it to generate settlements.

      DTD :)

  13. Joe says:

    The trolls are just money hungry obviously. I just wonder if the judges are tired of this scam already. Wish they could do something about it or pass a new law. This totally looks like a garbage lawsuit, it does not help the society at all and it is completely waste of time. Judges need to smarten up ;)

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