What is Your Story?

One new Doe made a great suggestion that some of us “seasoned” Does share our Copyright Troll experiences from start to current/finish.  This will help the newbies see how the situation unfolded for the rest of us.  I will make the first post and welcome all others to tell their story.  Be mindful not to give too much away and make it easy for the Troll to identify you.  For a majority of you that will not be an issue.  For others who have pissed off the Trolls by our actions (like myself), be safe.

My Story

In 2010, I received a package in the mail from my Internet Service Provider (ISP).  What is this?  Upon opening it, I found a bunch of papers, some appearing to be court documents, stating my public IP address downloaded/shared a copyright protected porn movie.  The owner of the porn movie was suing a bunch of the people who downloaded/shared the movie in Federal Court (located in another State).  I didn’t do this, but as I have others in the residence who use my Internet connection.  I go around and check the devices to see if the file in question can be found.  I questioned everyone in the residence, but everyone denied doing it.  I don’t find the file and as I know (as the registered public IP owner) I didn’t do anything wrong, I put it to the side.  I thought there is no evidence to support the allegation, so this will go nowhere.  Some serious family issues soon arose and I never went further with it.

Sometime later, I got another letter in the mail from a Copyright Troll.  This is when I started to get worried.  The letter stated in very clear terms that I was a defendant in a Copyright Infringement case (filed in another State) and I had downloaded/shared a porn movie via BitTorrent on a certain date/time.  The letter stated that “I” was responsible for this illegal activity and that the copyright owner was prepared to sue me for as much money as they could get ($150K + attorney fees).  I freaked!  The letter also explained that there was no excuse or defense to these allegations.  Bottom line – I was guilty (In their opinion) and if I chose to, they would be kind enough to accept $3K to make the threat of losing everything go away.

I started to search the Internet for any information on this case, and soon found the term “Copyright Trolls.”  After that the information started to follow.  I found the EFF and contacted one of the attorney on their Copyright Defense page.  This attorney explained to me that this was a legal scam to extract as much money from Doe defendants as possible.  He also explained the statute of limitation was three-years and since the case was filed in another State, the Troll would have to get someone authorized to practice law in my State to file a case against me.  He said I could get a local attorney to represent me and send the Troll a letter stating 1) I didn’t do it, 2) No evidence on my systems, 3) I will fight you in court if need be, 4) If by some odd chance you win, I will file bankruptcy.  If I didn’t want to pay an attorney to do this, I could ignore the Troll and it would likely pass.  As I didn’t have the money to spend on an attorney, I opted to ignore the Troll.

I again went around to all the systems in the house and verified that the movie was not on any of them.  I also checked on my Wireless Fire Wall/Router and determined that unknown systems/users had been connecting to it.  I took screenshots of the connected systems and then blocked them.  I keep these records and all the other paperwork on my case in a safe place, in case it is ever needed (Highly doubtful).

Soon after talking to the attorney, I had a voicemail from the Troll agent.  Same BS line as the initial letter, “My client is prepared to go forward…… If you want to settle and avoid an expensive trial…. Possible finding of $150K+ against you….. Please call me at …..”  I got a couple more voicemails and even another letter.  All during this time I’m learning more and more about this racket and what a bunch of sleazy bottom-feeders me and the multitude of Does were having to deal with.

The calls and letters stopped and I never heard from the Troll again.  Also during this time I found Fightcopyrighttrolls.com (Hi Jane!).  After getting better educated on this situation, I decided to start my own blog and try to help some of the Does.

I kept an eye on my case in PACER and soon found out that the Troll had dismissed it.  It stayed open for more than a year.  The troll claiming that “The ISPs are slow,” “negotiations were taking a long time,” etc.  I would come to find out this was the standard procedure for a Troll.  Milk a case for all that it is worth and then shut it down and move to another.  GREED!  Plain and simple.  Recent court filing also confirmed that one of the Trolls has not named/served a single Doe.  The other trolls are doing the same thing.

So I haven’t paid a Troll or defense attorney a dime and I’m still around!  The worse thing I have lost is some time I spend trying to get the word out.  The return I get in good Karma is worth it.  I’m still under threat, as the statute of limitation has yet to pass – but it will.  As I have pissed off the Trolls and some copyright owners, I don’t think it is a good idea to come out once the three-years has passed.  Not the most difficult thing for a Troll to find out a public IP address and add it to a list of “offenders.”  Proof or “Stopping Piracy,” has nothing to do with these legal actions.  Money drives it all.

15 June 2012 Update – Take a listen to this Doe talk about “his story.”  Thank you SJD for finding this.

8 Jan 2013 Update – Since my last update, some Trolls decided to name or name/serve a limited number of Does with a summons/complaint or a deposition subpoena.  These cases are usually the result of a previous mass-Doe case that the Troll uses to obtain ISP subscriber information on the Does.  The numbers are still very small overall, but you should be aware of this.  STILL, we have had ZERO cases judged on their merits in a trial.  This new tactic is designed to either get the named Doe to settle or test the water for a possible default judgement motion if the Doe does not respond at all.  If this happens, I’m of the opinion to hire an attorney knowledgeable on these cases.  The problem the Troll has with this tactic is what to do if a defendant answers a complaint with a denial or denial/counterclaims, the Troll/Plaintiff can’t easily drop the case.  The Troll doesn’t want to have the case judged on its merits – there is none.  The Troll then has to either wait for the court to dismiss it for some reason or settle with the defendant – paying off the Doe.  Even if a court dismisses such a case, the Troll knows the defendant is most likely going to motion the court for an award of reasonable attorney fees and costs.

18 June 2013 Update – At this point we have seen the start of the destruction of Prenda Law and the PA Bellwether trial took place.  I expect Lipscomb and Malibu Media will claim the trial validated all their claims and that are only attempting to stop pirates from taking their content for free.  The Bellwether trial was disappointing in that it failed to make Lipscomb/Malibu Media answer any hard questions about their operation.  It was a “show trial” agreed upon after all three defendants settled with Plaintiff.   The possible long-term effects of this trial are debatable, but Copyright Trolling in its various forms will continue.  Lipscomb/Malibu Media have tailored their efforts to minimize the risks, but if they play it long enough, they will crap out.

OK, enough of me.  What is your story?

1,319 Responses to What is Your Story?

  1. bc says:

    So like a previous poster, I too am in Canada and received a CEG-TEK letter to settle for one movie (downloaded only 6 days ago). I panicked, clicked the link and filled out my personal info (that was dumb) However the payment did not go through and did nothing more. They do have my info now unfortunately.
    I have stopped all torrent/p2p activity, Changed my IP address and using a VPN.
    What could happen now? if they contact me again should I ignore? Pay?
    Any advice would be great since I’m Panicking.

  2. Mickey says:

    Does rfcexpress.com upload court information within days of the Subpoena being filed or does it upload info on a court case within days of the court date being set? Or does rfcexpress.com not give any info on a court case until it is officially over-the verdict has been reached etc.

    Thanks to anyone who responds!!!

  3. JD says:

    Let’s be real here, you settled anonymously I presume, so you would have to be re-sued within your ISP’s retention logs. I received a few emails from CEG-TEK in late 2012 and nothing came of it as of now. If they were to come, they better be sure your ISP can ID you, so I would say within a year then you are in the clear. I HIGHLY doubt you need to wait 3 years to get a subpeona because you are still anonymous to Malibu if you settled anonymously. Please chime in DTD and others who might have more experience/knowledge in this area.

  4. anynomouse49 says:

    I found some information regarding your comment.

    How Long Does Your ISP Store IP-Address Logs?
    http://torrentfreak.com/how-long-does-your-isp-store-ip-address-logs-120629/

    Here is an example memorandum submitted by Jon A. Hoppe.
    “Plaintiff dismisses Defendant John Doe because of the period of time for which the Internet Service Providers keep the data records has elapsed.”
    http://copyrightletter.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Memorandum18.pdf

  5. johndoe1981 says:

    I did not settle anonymously. I filled out my name and address with the credit card. Yes I was that dumb.

  6. JonDoe1980 says:

    I too received a letter from my ISP forwarded from ceg-tek about a week or so ago. In this letter it claims my ip was used to allegedly download 12 movies. Thing is, some of them are from months ago and the deadline to settle has already passed on 8 of them. Seems my ISP didn’t send the first ones out before or I would have made sure my router re-secured with a different pw. So now there is 8 that have passed and 4 still under the deadline.

    Out of these there are 10 different copyright holders. Is it now up to the individual copyright holders to pursue a lawsuit? If so, that means 10 different suits could potentially be filed? Or would ceg-tek file for all 12 at once? I looked at rfc express and couldn’t find any suits pursued by them, but over a thousand filed by MM. Are they completely entities or do they work together?

    Basically what would you think my best course of action would be at this point? I’m speaking with an attorney next week as well but just curious how others have handled this… Thanks!

  7. SRT157 says:

    can you explain to me the relevance of this information if you are contacted by a troller?

  8. DieTrollDie says:

    You are correct in that if any of the Plaintiff’s wish to file a law suit, they will have to do it. No grouping of multiple Plaintiffs allowed in theses types of cases. As this is CEG-TEK, I would still NOT contact them and go about securing your system and try to determine what happened. Keep good notes and file it safely away – highly doubt you will need it. As CEG-TEK has NO history of filing cases, I would hold off doing more. Yes, RFC Express shows the real cases filed and not the DMCA notices sent by CEG-TEK.

    DTD :)

  9. Silver says:

    Hey JonDoe1980, what did you find out at the end? what happened in your case? please guide me here

  10. Silver says:

    what was the end of the story in your case?

  11. Silver says:

    hey what is the present status of your case? did anyone come after you? please share

  12. JonDoe1980 says:

    I see, so I’m really trying my best to enjoy this holiday season but as you can probably tell, this is stressing me significantly. In your opinion with a lot more understanding and knowledge than myself, how likely is it that one or more of these will decide to file suit over one alleged movie download halfway across the country? I did look up each one and saw none of them have files anything since 2012…?

    Thanks for your time in all this, so stressed!

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