I recently obtained two different Dallas Buyers Club (DBC) LLC (Copyright Troll), Settlement Demand letters. One of these letters also contains a ‘Waiver of Service’ form. They are for the following two cases: 4:14-cv-00248, Does 1-31, Southern District of Texas AND 2:14-cv-00384, Does 1-30, Southern District of Ohio.
Nothing too shocking in either letter. I found the TX letter interesting in it appears they reduced the content of it in an apparent attempt to make it less threatening. This may be in part because attached to the settlement demand is a Waiver of Service (WOS) form. They would love for the Does to sign this form. Here is a previous article I wrote about the WOS and how Copyright Trolls will use it. If you get one of these, PLEASE read this article before you sign anything.
The letter from the OH case is more of the standard BT copyright troll settlement letter design. I did find the FAQ sheet attached to the letter to be highly amusing. The thing that caught my eye was a Section 4., “ARE YOU A TROLL?” Take a read and have a good laugh at their efforts to justify their actions.
No. We are not what many refer to as “copyright trolls.” Dallas Buyers Club, LLC’s copyright enforcement efforts are distinguishable from what is commonly referred to as “trolling” actions because Dallas Buyers Club, LLC actually created and/or uses its copyright and its exclusive rights; that is it licenses and/or distributes Dallas Buyers Club and attempts to earn back its investment from the actual use of the copyright, and hopes to earn a profit from such activities. Conversely, an intellectual property “troll” typically acquires rights in intellectual property, such as a patent, trademark or copyright, created by others, with the sole or primary business objective of filing infringement actions to earn profit, rather than earning a profit through licensing or otherwise exploiting its exclusive rights in the intellectual property.
Many internet blogs commenting on this and related cases ignore the rights of copyright owners to sue for infringement, and inappropriately belittle efforts of copyright owners to seek injunctions and damages.
As SophisticatedJaneDoe pointed out, we should be happy that the “Copyright Trolls” added this section, as it informs the recipients what to search for on the Internet – Copyright Trolls and blogs such as this one and Fightcopyrighttrolls.com. Thanks guys!
It is interesting to note that the settlement amounts for each letter are different. For the TX case, it is $3,500.00 – low-end of what we have recently seen. The OH case starts off at $5,000.00 for a quick settlement and then rises to $7,000.00. I think the $3,500.00 amount (TX case) was left low so as to get a higher number of settlements. Remember that stopping piracy is not the goal here – increasing settlement revenues is. The difference in settlement amounts also shows that each local Troll has some control of the cases they are running.
Dallas Buyers Club LLC so far has filed over 50 cases in various jurisdictions and the Defendant count is over 1500. If the Troll/Plaintiff can get 50% of the Does to settle for the lower amount, then they will make a ton of money
50% settlement rate is $2,625,000.00!!! (750 Does X $3,500.00)
25% settlement rate is $1,312,500.00 (375 Does X $3,500.00)
I used the lower settlement amount in the calculation, so I think we can reasonably assume it will be higher. Now we also have to figure the Troll/Plaintiff operating costs – so figure $3,000 per case for fees and costs; that comes out to $ 177,000.00 for 59 cases. Hell, take of another $200K off for any other costs/services/pay-off, etc. That would still leave them with $2,248,000.00 to be split between Troll and Plaintiff (50% settlement rate at $3.5K). This reminds me of Ferengi (Race in Star Trek) Rules of Acquisition #9, “Opportunity plus instinct equals profit.” More to the point for the Trolls is #10, “Greed is eternal.”
As far as these DBC cases go, I have not seen anyone actually being named and served. I have seen a handful of single Doe # cases filed (they appear to be spin-offs from a mass-Doe cases). If anyone has information that shows a Defendant was named/served, please point me in the right direction. With the large number of Does in these cases, I do expect to see some default judgments and the WOS is the perfect Troll tool to make this easier for them.
Another point to consider is due to the large number of Does, there is NO way this Plaintiff could possibly take anything but a very small number to trial. I’m still of the opinion that no “real” trials will ever occur as the masterminds never want to be exposed. The odds are in your favor and I still think it is best to take a wait and see approach.
Important Note: The DBC cases suffer from the same core problem as Elf-Man LLC and Malibu Media LLC cases do – The BT monitoring and data collections is conducted by the German “Investigators” of IPP/Guardaley/Excipio, who then links back to the “Anti-Piracy Management Company” (APMC). Part of APMC presentation transcript specifically mentions Daniel Macek. Here is the “Declaration of Daniel Macek,” (employee of IPP/Guardaley/Excipio) supporting the early discovery (ISP subscriber records) in DBC case 2:14-cv-00384 (OH). Decl_Daniel_Macek_00384(OH) Funny how in this declaration, Mr. Macek only states he has been retained by the Crystal Bay Corporation as a consultant. There is NO mention of who he truly works for – IPP/Guardaley/Excipio. That is another reason not to settle with these A$$clowns – they cannot and will not expose the inner workings of these enterprises and risk destroying the operation. *** Also see the recent FCT article on the Elf Man v. Lamberson case. ***
Lastly, if DBC does serve anyone OR if a Defendant signs the WOS, I have an “Answer Template” you are welcome to use. Please see my “Defendant Answer” page for the template, as well as a link to an article on how to make a basic denial/Answer to a Troll summons/complaint. Note: The basic denial was recently used (and successfully) in case 2:13-cv-01019(IA). Please note that it is not guaranteed to work (each case and Troll is different) and each answer has to be tailored to fit the Defendant (Don’t just slap your name on it and file it with the court).
DieTrollDie :) “The Defendants have liable Plaintiff under the disguise of such childish and unsophisticated pseudonyms as ‘die troll die.’” – a statement like that could cost you $11K!