It seems like the newest variation for the Trolls is to go after a “Site-Rip” copyright infringement case. It is the same as a standard case, except there isn’t just one movie associated with it. These are BitTorrent cases where the single torrent file is a large one containing multiple movies – some being copyrighted. All the movies in question are usually obtained from Plaintiff’s Web site and bundled into a single compressed file, upwards of a couple of gigabytes in size.
One of these site-rip cases was recently brought to my attention: NUCORP, Inc. v. John Does 1-37, 5:11-cv-07250, Eastern District of PA, filed on 21 Nov 11. Archived Docket
For this particular Nucorp Ltd. case, there are 51 movies in the site-rip, with nine of them actually having a copyright registration as of 31 Aug 11. Note: When this case was initially filed, the copyright registration was still pending.
The Trolls are Christopher Fiore and Aman Barber, Fiore & Barber LLC, Harleysville, PA 19438. They began Trolling last year with the garbage K-Beech and Patrick Collins cases and I’m proud to say we had some success stories against these guys. They don’t seem to mind to file single cases against Does, but they still haven’t actually taken anyone to trial. It is funny how on their Web site and various attorney review sites, the area of practice does not cover intellectual property. Why is that guys? Too embarrassed to be associated with the questionable legal practices of Copyright Trolling? At least John Steele makes the weak claim he is “Fighting Piracy.” Oh sorry John, I forgot you are retired.
These are the little Trolls with main players most likely feeding them cases. For this particular case, the Daddy Troll appears to be Michael KeithLipscomb, Eisenberg & Baker, PL, Miami, FL, as can be seen in the contact information listed on the Copyright Application for the movies in this case.
All of the John Does supposedly reside in various PA cities and the period of recorded activity took place between 15 Jul 11 (Doe #7) and 10 Oct 11 (Doe #9) – (88 days). As usual, the complaint and exhibits do not state when the Troll agents observed the start and stop of the various public IP address or which IP addresses they actually interacted with. The Troll is trying to paint a picture that only these PA public IP addresses worked together for 88 days and thus joinder is appropriate. Ridiculous claim, as it doesn’t address the other public IP addresses (non-PA) they monitored and have cases open in other jurisdictions, as well as non-US IP addresses that took part in the “swarm.”
The complaint lists 10 movies within the site-rip that have copyright applications pending. NUCORP NURCORP A check of the US Copyright Office Web site disclosed 9 of the 10 applications were approved on 31 Aug 11. There was no record in the US Copyright Office database for “Rough sex for sick cash.” I checked for the title, as well as all movies under Nucorp Ltd., and Nurcorp Ltd.
All of the 10 movies took more than 3 months to register after first publication and thus has a significant impact on what type of damages Plaintiff can go after. (Spreadsheet of Copyright date & John Doe “Hit” date/times) For 22 of the Does, the alleged infringement took place before the effective date of registration – 31 Aug 11 AND the time between the 1st publication and registration is more than 3 months. IAW Title 17, section 412
§ 412. Registration as prerequisite to certain remedies for infringement12
In any action under this title, other than an action brought for a violation of the rights of the author under section 106A(a), an action for infringement of the copyright of a work that has been preregistered under section 408(f) before the commencement of the infringement and that has an effective date of registration not later than the earlier of 3 months after the first publication of the work or 1 month after the copyright owner has learned of the infringement, or an action instituted under section 411(c), no award of statutory damages or of attorney’s fees, as provided by sections 504 and 505, shall be made for —
(1) any infringement of copyright in an unpublished work commenced before the effective date of its registration; or
(2) any infringement of copyright commenced after first publication of the work and before the effective date of its registration, unless such registration is made within three months after the first publication of the work.
Now this doesn’t mean that 22 of the 37 Does are going to get a settlement letter or call only asking for actual damages – say $40.00. Sorry ladies and gentlemen, the Troll is still going to try to convince you they will name and serve you with a summons, and seek statutory damages ($150K), attorney fees, and anything else the courts deems appropriate. If you are one of the 22 Does, just laugh at the Troll and remind him that to even to get an “actual” damages awarded by the court, he will have to take you to trial – at a substantial cost to him. 😉
The way the complaint is written, the Troll is seeking statutory damages and attorney fees “when” the copyright application is approved. As 22 of the 37 Does are not now affected by statutory damages or attorney fees, the complaint needs to be amended. As I’m sure the Trolls (Fiore, Barber, and Lipscomp) will claim they didn’t realize the copyrights had been approved or that 22 of 37 Does are only under the threat of actual damages, I’m going to make sure to send them notice as to this development.
Now it is possible the Troll will amend the complaint with additional information on the activity they recorded against the 37 public IP addresses. They could show “start” and “stop” times of the activity, but that will open up a new problems, such as joinder of all the PA Does. Your move Troll. What you going to do?