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?

1,047 Responses to What is Your Story?

  1. V.Z says:

    Hi, reading those comments, I find my situation a bit different. Back in December I received two DMCA notices, one of which was from CEG-TEK, offering a $250 settlement. I genuinely freaked out and paid with my own debit card right away. Interestingly the other one didn’t offer any settlements. Fast forward to end of March, I received four more notices from CEG-TEK via Charter for different downloads. The settlement amount increased substantially to around $6K in total. Now that I am more educated on the matter. I know that they aren’t probably gonna sue me. But the fact that I paid them concerns me because I suppose they already have my information. What is the chance of me being sued given the settlement amount and the information they have? By the way I came across the Six Strike System. That means IPs would release subscribers’ information to copyright holders for legal purposes upon receiving six complains. I have had six as you can see. What is your comment on this? Thank you.

    • Monkey Man says:

      I am facing an almost identical situation. I received 2 notices via charter (2 files downloaded) both offering to settle for $250 a piece (same orgainizations that you’re citing). Is the six strike system legit? I only have 2 complaints so far. If I ignored them completely would they have to proceed with a law suit to subpoena charter for my name and info? I’m not sure what to do. My gut tells me to ignore, but I am afraid of what may happen..

  2. dooe says:

    Just wondering, I got a notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice by a troll. Do they usually just end it at that or do they refill a case? It seems like recently the trolls has been getting problems reading from dtd and fightcopytrolls. Am I in the clear or should I still be ready for what can happen? How likely are they to keep pursuing?

    • DieTrollDie says:

      If possible, please send me a copy of what you got – dietrolldie@dietrolldie.com. I will look up the case and give you a better answer – hopefully. many of the trolls are too busy to actively go after everyone, so they tend to try and cut their losses and keep the more likely pay offs “on the hook.” Depending on the case, court/judge, or other factors, this could have been shut down by the Troll to avoid possible trouble. If this is the 1st dismissal “Without Prejudice,” the troll/Plaintiff could normally refile again up until the 3-year statute of limitation runs out.

      DTD :)

  3. J Doe says:

    Freaking out i was served a subpoena related to the killer joe case united states court western division of Iowa. It states I have 21 days to serve a motion on the court as well as the plaintiff and I have NO idea what to do.. HELP please! I have seen several attorneys even some copyright and ip related and no one will give me advice besides calling and trying to settle out of court.. Which I still dont even know what to do pr say.. Judgement by default will be entered against me if I dont respond in the next week with a motion or whatever.. I lived in a trailer park 2 years ago with unsecured internet.. Also my isp had my name misspelled under my account the whole time and its the same name on the subpoena. Please give me some guidance im almost out of time! I work 2 jobs just to get by my life is basically over if they take me for everything and I don’t believe im even guilty of anything. -J

  4. Mark says:

    Hello, I just reviewed a notice through charter that I am being sued if I don’t pay $300 as a settlement. I have one computer in the house and am a stay at home parent. I am freaked out and have been researching this matter. What I’m finding is these people are just out for money. Will I be used should I pay the money?

    • DieTrollDie says:

      As this is likely only a DMCA notice via the ISP, there is no case and there is a high probability (99.99999999999999) that there will not be one. I have to leave a slight chance open to be realistic. Was it from CEG-TEK? If so, they are a sad sad joke. Standard advice applied: Make sure the activity stops on your network, resecure the network (redo password), and move on with your life. Learn from this – It could be worse – a real case from real Trolls.

      DTD :)

  5. Anonymoose says:

    I got a letter/email from that Borghese guy (lawyer for TaylorMadeClips) demanding $2,500 for a settlement, exactly like in the blog post DTD made back in August. So far, I just denied all of his claims and refused to give him anything. I later made an RFCExpress account, paid the $5 for advanced search, and looked into what this lawyer has in terms of actual experience. So, it turns out that this lawyer hasn’t had a case since September 2012, and has never been legal council for any copyright cases in many years. Also, TaylorMadeClips has never been the plaintiff in any case ever. Is it safe to say that this guy is just a total bullshit artist?

  6. TheDoestDoeShmoDoe says:

    How can I tell if a summons is actually legitimate? Would it be signed by the judge? Any information regarding this would be excellent. Thanks Does.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      Probably the best way is to call the clerk of the court by looking up their telephone number. The clerk should be able to tell you if it is valid and the response times for it.

      DTD :)

  7. josh says:

    So i got an email from charter about copyright infringement about 2 videos (different email for each) and it is a 250$ instant copyright settlements thing and i am wondering how legit this is and what i should do?

  8. Monkey Man says:

    DTD, you mentioned that you received a letter in 2010, and it’s now 2014/ more than 3 years. So nothing happened? I’m trying to access risk, because I just received a DCMA letter through email and I can’t decide whether or not to ignore it before their short deadline? Doesn’t sound like there’s a whole lot of 3+ year old cases out there.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      No, there are no 3+ year “Real” Federal Copyright cases still open. For the real cases, very few are allowed to be kept open for more than a year unless the case is actually proceeding. Most Trolls just delay and string along the courts claiming that settlement negotiations are slow and the ISPs are even slower.

      If you just have a DMCA take-down notice from CEG (or other Clowns), I would not respond to them. Standard advice applies – Make sure the activity stops, resecure your Internet connection, move on with your life.

      If this is a real case and your information is being subpoenaed, then your options will vary depending on the Plaintiff, Troll Attorney, and the jurisdiction.

      DTD :)

  9. Don says:

    Good site!

    Weeks ago I’ve received one of these DCMA fordwarded by the ISP, actually, internet was blocked until I’ve agreed to be the owner of the account and years > 18 (it was a web page), obviously I was in panic reading the 15 DCMA notices. Some of these notices the settle date was weeks ago, ISP fordward these notices too late.

    Obviously I will not settle with these guys after reading a lot, and also I’ve noticed that some of these notices claim for copyright that at the time that the ABCDE supposed were downloaded, there still no copyright yet for some of them, also, some of them were duplicated.

    Since I’m from China, very complex name and lastname (2), ISP has my wrong name (du no why) and I’ve to stay a few months in the US, I’m not worried due if I get a lawsuit, it will be too expensive for them, since I’ve nothing and a limited time in the US to stay.

    Leason learned guys, don’t download anything in an illegal way.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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!

  13. SRT157 says:

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

  14. 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 :)

  15. 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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