You Just Got Served – Copyright Trolls & The Stupid Things They Do

Just Got Served a Summons  Or Deposition Subpoena

I’m writing this for the very few Does out there who are actually served a summons or subpoena.  Now I’m not talking about the copy of the subpoena the Internet Service Provider (ISP) is served with and you get a copy of.  I’m talking about one that is addressed to your true name and you are provided a copy in some authorized way (i.e. personal service at your home or work). 

As Prenda is claiming it has started to actually serve Does with summons, I wanted to get the information out again.  Prenda has also on occasion tried to get the courts to authorize limited deposition (interview) of a Doe defendant prior to a summons being served.  I know they have been successful on at least one occasion with this tactic. 

For the federal copyright cases we are talking about, you will have 21 days to respond to the Plaintiff/Plaintiff’s attorney with an answer to the complaint or a motion in accordance with Rule 12 (Federal Rules of Civil Procedures).  For any State or local court summons I would contact the court directly for details and time frames to respond. 

Failure to do this will likely result in the Troll requesting the court make a default judgment in their favor.   

Summons To Do:

  1. Don’t ignore it.  Sticking your head in the sand isn’t going to work. 
  2. Start calling attorneys to see who the best one for your situation is.  Yes this is going to cost you some money.  If you are that poor, I suggest you contact the court and see what options they have for low-income assistance.  There is the possibility that a default judgment may cost you more than lawyer fees. 
  3. File a response to the complaint or have your attorney request an extension to do so. 

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

A defendant’s written response to a plaintiff’s initial court filing (called a complaint or petition). An answer normally denies some or all of the facts asserted by the complaint, and sometimes seeks to turn the tables on the plaintiff by making allegations or charges against the plaintiff (called counterclaims) or providing justification for the defendant’s behavior (called affirmative defenses). Normally a defendant has 30 days in which to file an answer after being served with the plaintiff’s complaint. In some courts, an answer is called a “response.”

Once the response is filed, the Troll will see you are serious and it may even contain counterclaims that Plaintiff/Troll have to respond to.  This happened to Prenda Law when Liuxia Wong filed claims against Plaintiff {My post of the Wong case}.  BTW this case was recently judged in favor of Wong.  The details of the judgement are confidential, but as the Plaintiff/Prenda was trying their best to get the case dismissed, I’m sure they paid Mrs. Wong a pretty penny.  The Wong judgement is like a little bit of chum thrown from a fishing boat.  The smell gets to the sharks and pretty soon they are in a frenzy.  The Seth Abrahams case {My post of the Abrahams case} is next and based off of the Wong case, it is likely to go the same way. 

Deposition Subpoena To Do:

  1. Don’t ignore it.  It isn’t going away.
  2. Hire an attorney.  It doesn’t matter if you didn’t do this, the Troll doesn’t really care.  An attorney will make sure that you are prepared for the deposition.  Don’t believe you can talk you way out of this and not make some mistake by going at it alone.  Remember these guys make their living doing this and some of them are good at it.  Hell, even the bad ones have more experience than most of us.

Why Start Serving Now?

This has been and will continue to be a very limited action by the Trolls.  Mark Randazza seems to be one of the more aggressive guys doing this.  Now Prenda has claimed it is well on its way to serving Does.  I’m not sure if this is primarily for the IL Lightspeed Password case or in combination with the usual Federal Copyright cases.  Prenda does make its fair share of mistakes, but they tend to keep their eye on the bottom line.  Making money drives their business and it isn’t financially responsible for them to serve everyone.   

Now actually serving a Doe with a summons costs the Troll additional money and it opens the door to counterclaims.  Unless the Troll has some good evidence (public IP address doesn’t count as good), they are taking a chance.  I assume each Troll has its own methods for determining which Does make the best targets.  I bet the people at the top of the list are the ones who tell the Troll something incriminating about themselves, a member of the household, or possibly a roommate – but never pay the settlement.  Next would be the people they have talked to and they determine are too scared to fight.  Serving some of these people may generate more settlements and not risk a default judgment.  Default judgments may count as a win for a Troll, but unless the Doe has some assets, the victory is hollow.  Based off this limited analysis, it is best to not to speak to the Trolls OR give them the Richard Pryor Response (RPR).  The RPR has the benefit of showing you are strong and not running away from the allegation.  Not everyone can handle giving the RPR to the Troll, but it is the best option IMO.

For anyone who has actually received a summons, please email me the details of how they did it.  I would like to get this out to the masses. 

*** 25 June 2012 Update *** 

Here is a Google cache of Prenda’s Web site for 23 June 2012.  More fuel for the fire.  I see you didn’t list the names of the Does on the recently filed cases. 

DieTrollDie 🙂 

About DieTrollDie

I'm one of the many 'John Does' (200,000+ & growing in the US) who Copyright Trolls have threatened with a civil law suit unless they are paid off. What is a Copyright Troll? Check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation link - http://www.eff.org/issues/copyright-trolls
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15 Responses to You Just Got Served – Copyright Trolls & The Stupid Things They Do

  1. Lou Rourke says:

    Quick question,
    When you say “public IP address” above, what do you mean ?
    What constitutes “public” ?
    Thanks,
    It_ain’t_me_babe

  2. Mark "Federal Litigation" Lutz says:

    The promise of 100 in May was kept. June will only be about 80. Some new employees to help starting Wed. Hard to grow this fast so bear with us. 🙂

    • DieTrollDie says:

      Author Mark “Federal Litigation” Lutz (E-mail ip192.168.1.1@gmail.com)
      174.140.100.242 – http://whois.arin.net/rest/net/NET-174-140-96-0-1/pft
      Miami Beach, FL

      How about this one Lutz? – https://dietrolldie.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/doe_re_az.pdf

      DTD 🙂

      • Anonymous says:

        This is just sad. At this point I have trouble believing these posts are from Prenda, it must be a Doe or Internet Troll who lives in Miami just messing around.

        There isn’t even real bluster here, and we know the 100 cases is BS. It was 100 ‘outright named’ defendants in April, and Buffy’s promise was 1000 cases in May, why even bother to come here and admit a fraction? Oh right, the rest are magic cases that nobody will actually be able to find in the online records systems that even county courts have.

        We’ve been hearing more employees are coming for a year, and the closest Prenda has come is the robocaller which could have been the smartest thing they did, a stroke of exquisite, evil genius – but of course they screwed it up royally and can’t even get the robocalls to put the defendant and plaintiff’s names in the right places, along with breaking state laws regarding automated calls.

        Actually no, this must be the real Lutz, because if it were someone pretending to be Mark for the lulz they would do a better job of trolling and maybe throw some decent hyperbolic threats in there to maybe scare one more settlement out of the Doe community. These guys must really be getting demoralized by low settlement rates if they can’t even bother to dish out decent FUD anymore. It was so fun to read!

    • > Some new employees to help starting Wed.

      You mean robots?

      Taking the occasion, I want to make a plea:

      Dear attorneys who are about to file class action lawsuits against Prenda, please don’t block the entrance, form the line!

    • Bobby says:

      What a douche bag.

      Don’t sing it, bring it bitch!

  3. Stay_ Intrigued says:

    Is the 100 counting the 70+ year old grandmother?

  4. Raul says:

    Quite possible although according to their website these Does have been downgraded to “individual” infringers as opposed to their previous label as “serial” infringers. I wonder if Prenda’s clients know that these moronsk take their legal cues from anti-troll blogs, must inspire confidence.

    “Federal Litigation” is cute, almost funny especially if you make yourself familiar with the dockets of each and every one of Prenda’s featured lawsuits. Confusing what Prenda does with federal litigation is like confusing a squirt gun fight with WWII.k

  5. nancy says:

    I just recieved a summons in a civil action from the united states district court for the southern district of indiana It is from Malibu Media LLC I got a letter from my ISP in August I recieved one voice mail from the trolls attorney but no letter offering settlement (which I would not have considered) The summons was delivered by a lady, she required no signature, just showed up at my door and asked for my husband. He wasnt home so she handed it to me and asked my name. Not sure what to do now, we have no money to hire an attorney. I guess we have to file an answer in 21 days to the plantiffs attorney and to the court. My husband is on the bill so he is the one being sued and he literally cant turn the computer on, he doesnt know how. Never has a movie been downloaded on our computer. We have a wireless router so our grandchildren can watch netflix on the wii and their nintendo ds systems. Anyone who reads this and can maybe give me even a tiny bit of advice I would be so very grateful . This site has helped me so much but now I think I am one of the unlucky ones who is actually going to have to go to court. Please help!

    • Stay Calm says:

      There are a lot of people on this thread talking about the MM Indiana cases and it is more active: http://fightcopyrighttrolls.com/discussions/discussions-by-state/a-m/indiana/

      It seems as if a lot of the people organized to speak to an attorney named Paul Overhauser in an attempt to arrange for fee-sharing/reduction/or something. I would post at fightcopyrightrolls to see if that is still the case and then contact the attorney. There are also other attorneys that were named in the post that you could speak to.

      You can also try to contact the EFF (eff.org), they might decide to help but that’s a long shot.

      But just so you know, someone who was defending himself in CO kept pushing Malibu Media to turn over their information and they fought as hard as they could and eventually settle with him before turning over their dirty laundry. These cases are flawed and they know it. There is a chance that if you do fight you’ll maybe be able to recoup costs. So just try to stay calm for now and talk to some attorneys or get some more information from the other people in Indiana which you might be able to get from here: http://fightcopyrighttrolls.com/discussions/discussions-by-state/a-m/indiana/

      But the one thing you CAN’T do is do nothing. You now have to react or possibly get a default judgement which would be anything from $500-150,000 per infringement.

    • doecumb says:

      Check your area’s law school clinics, where free or deeply discounted help is sometimes available. IU has schools in schools in Indianapolis and Bloomington. By the way, specify that you are looking for help about “intellectual property” and copyright infringement.

      Your regional ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) chapter may have some names of helpful, affordable attorneys.

      http://www.aclu-in.org/

      I continue to hope that the ACLU will assist with squelching the troll problem. They list one of their “key issues” as “Protecting Civil Liberties In The Digital Age”.

  6. theonator says:

    I just received a summons in a civil action from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. It is from Third Degree Films, Inc. regarding Civil Action No. C12-03858 MEJ – Third Degree Films vs. Does 1 – 178.

    I received a letter from my ISP in September informing they were going to release my personal information to the plaintiff. I then received a settlement letter from the trolls attorney in November asking for $3500. I contacted an attorney and his advice was to ignore it. So finally a summons was delivered requiring no signature. This guy showed up at my door (I was not home) and my son answered it. He asked for me, but was told I wasn’t home. He handed the summons to my son and left. I contacted the same attorney and he is looking at options now.

    Not sure what to do now as we have no money to hire an attorney if this goes to court. I have to file an answer in 21 days to the troll and to the court. Anyone who reads this please give me some advice. This site is very helpful, but I feel I will actually have to go to court for this.

  7. J Hands says:

    theonator,

    Like DTD has outlined above, you have some tough choices ahead of you. From your comment, it appears that you already have counsel advising you in the matter.

    If I were in your position, I would wait for this attorney’s follow up, AS WELL AS contact several other competent CA counsel (preferably those versed in IP litigation) and determine the cost to:
    a. fight the allegation(s) in the lawsuit by submitting an answer; OR b. arrange a settlement with plaintiff.

    Be mindful that unless you request and are granted an extension to file an answer, failure to do so will very likely result in default judgment.

    I understand litigation expenses are prohibitive, but time is of the essence here. You can discuss pro bono options with potential counsels.

    More importantly, it is your specific facts and circumstances that will give rise to the options you can take. And that is precisely why you need competent counsel to assess your case. If you decide to fight back, you may be awarded litigation costs and expenses if you prevail;or alternatively, have plaintiff ordered to post bond in the amount of your defense costs (if the situation warrants). Depending the circumstances, you may even have the option to file a counterclaim.

    EFF wrote a memo a couple years ago on the possibility of discharging copyright infringement judgments through declaring bankruptcy (of course, there are many qualifying conditions before a bankruptcy would allow it).

    So take the first step: take a deep breath and inspire resolve. Only you know the facts and circumstances of this case (e.g., exculpatory and inculpatory evidence). Only you know your level of acceptable risk you are willing to take.

    Step two: start calling attorneys. The more time given to counsel, the better (whether to draft an answer/motions, or arrange settlement negotiations).

    EFF/DTD also lists subpoena defense counsel. I’m sure others here can sound off on a recommendation. In the alternative, you can contact your local bar association for a recommendation.

    At the end of the day, this fight is a personal one. As much as we want the trolls in go down in flames, only you know which path is best suited to the goal(s) of you and your family. Best of luck to you!

    ***Disclaimer*** Above response is for discussion purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. I am not an attorney. No attorney-client relationship is intended.

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