I want to thank the John Doe for passing this information along. On 12 Dec 11, The Troll Brett Gibbs, Prenda Law Inc., filed an amended complaint naming a single Doe in case # 2:11-cv-03072-MCE-KJN, Eastern District of California, Sacramento Division. The original single unnamed John Doe case was file by Gibbs on 21 Nov 11. In the unnamed Doe defendant case, Gibbs states,
1. In a previously filed action, Plaintiff sought relief against multiple anonymous copyright infringers. One of the anonymous copyright infringers was associated with Internet Protocol (“IP”) address 188.8.131.52. In the course of expedited discovery, Plaintiff ascertained the identity of the account holder, who identified the infringer to be Phillip Williamson. Plaintiff now files this action to complete its investigation into the infringer’s identity and, if necessary, to prosecute the infringer for his blatant violation of Plaintiff’s copyright.
No other information is in the 21 Nov 11 complaint – besides the general copyright infringement claims. So based on reading both complaints, I will make the following assessment of this case so far.
Steele Hansmeier/Prenda Law starts a mass John Doe case (don’t know which one) and eventually gets the subscriber information for IP address 184.108.40.206. The are able to make contact with the ISP subscriber and threaten them with a Federal law suit unless they pay a settlement fee of a few thousand dollars. The ISP subscriber probably freaked out and called the Troll. The ISP subscriber probably told the Troll he didn’t do it and there are roommates who also use the Internet connection. Because of the highlighted portion of the complaint (see above), the ISP subscriber most likely told the Troll that Mr. Williamson was responsible for downloading/sharing the movie. As the 21 Nov 11, complaint states the infringer was identified as Mr. Williamson, the Troll likely has a statement from the ISP subscriber and maybe even information from Mr. Williamson to support this. It is not known if the alleged infringement occurred on a computer belonging to the ISP subscriber or Mr. Williamson.
The amended complaint (see below & here –Amended_Complaint_03072(CA)_Doc7) list Mr. Williamson as the defendant and states the following in the opening section.
1. In a previously filed action, Plaintiff sought relief against multiple anonymous copyright infringers. One of the anonymous copyright infringers was associated with Internet Protocol (“IP”) address 220.127.116.11. In the course of expedited discovery, Plaintiff ascertained the identity of the account holder, who credibly identified the infringer as Philip Williamson (“Defendant”). Plaintiff has recently come into possession of further evidence to support the account holder’s allegations. Plaintiff now files this action to prosecute the Defendant for his outrageous violations of Plaintiff’s copyrights.
The complaint goes on to state that the Troll believes Mr. Williamson is responsible for sharing over 100 of Plaintiff’s movies –
At least one of the copyrighted works at issue here is an adult video produced by Plaintiff, POV – Punx. On information and belief, however, Defendant also illegally reproduced and distributed over 100 other of Plaintiff’s copyrighted works (the “Videos”), which Plaintiff expects to identify and confirm through the course of discovery.
Here is the really interesting bit of the amended complaint.
26. In a recent examination of the Macintosh computer used by Defendant during the times of his infringements, an updated version of Vuze appears in the “Applications” folder. Through further inspection of Defendant’s computer, Plaintiff’s agents found Mp4 converter, StreamMe, and ServeToMe software that could enable an individual to convert a full-length video to a mobile device-compatible format; Toast10, which allows an indiviudal to burn DVDs on Mac computers from videos downloaded over the Internet; and OmniDiskSweeper, a Mac utility program that helps users quickly identify and delete potentially infringing videos on one’s Mac computer in furtherance of evading liability for copyright infringement.
Interesting that some type of examination of Mr. Willianson’s computer took place. I haven’t seen the court docket, but if there is no court order granting an examination, then it was some sort of consent to search OR an observation of an authorized user accessing the computer. If the ISP subscriber was allowed to use Mr. Williamson’s computer, he could have let the Trolls see what was on it – did some shoulder surfing. This would explain how the Troll was able to list what they found – BitTorrent application, Mp4 converter, StreamMe, ServeToMe, Toast10, and OmniDiskSweeper. Notice that they didn’t list the movie in question or any other of Plaintiff’s movies. The Troll made sure to list “OmniDiskSweeper,” as the possible reason why the movie in question was not seen.
Not a particularly good thing for Mr. Williamson. Even if he wishes to settle, the Troll may want to try to take this one to trial. As Mr. Williamson was a “roommate,” there is the possibility he doesn’t have many assets. So actually getting money out of him may be hard to do – I don’t know what his financial is. Still, taking it to trial may allow for the details on the Trolls BitTorrent monitoring/evidence collection efforts to come to light.
One good thing about this case is it goes directly to refute the view of the Troll that IP address (being an ISP subscriber) equals culpability. If the Troll does not go after the ISP subscriber for failing to prevent this activity (negligence claim) by Mr. Williamson, they are saying the unauthorized use/abuse of an Internet connection is an acceptable defense. It also shows that the Trolls need to conduct an investigation and not just threaten the ISP subscribers into settling.
I also think this shows what type of cases the Trolls will actually file and name a Doe defendant. As I previously stated, the Trolls will only take those cases to trial where they believe they have overwhelming evidence. Naming a Doe in a single case with no more evidence then the IP address they collected is still the same old garbage. More to follow I’m sure.
“Some ships are designed to sink… other require our assistance.”