A Doe recently told me he got a voicemail from a Troll agent stating he was being sued and he should call to discuss settlement options.
The Doe decided to call the Troll agent and make it clear of what he thought of their allegation. He then left the following message to the Troll agent.
I received a call from someone at this number this afternoon in regards to a civil case filed against me. I know the nature of the case and what is alleged, and in that light, I ask that any future correspondence with me be done via mail through the US Post Office or similar means. Telephone conversations devolve into “he said, she said” arguments and e-mails can be edited or faked, therefore any communications between us are more appropriately handled through a paper medium to provide verifiable records for both parties. E-mails will be disregarded.
Knowing that there are allegations against me of copyright infringement, I request that you, your client, or whoever is in custody of the evidence claimed to incriminate me, submit all the information you may have concerning me, including but not limited to torrent hash tags, dates of alleged infringements, the titles of the works I am alleged to have downloaded, and in particular any data that specifically identifies my computer—not my IP address, but the computer proper—as having participated in any alleged downloads.
In closing, I must remind you that since you have successfully contacted me, you are prohibited from contacting any unaffiliated parties in regards to this matter, to include but not be limited to family, friends, and employers. To do so would constitute harassment and would violate the terms of the court order providing for limited use of the defendants’ personal information.
Thank you for your time.
After reading what he told the troll agent, I decided to draft up a Richard Pryor Response letter template.
Please note that contacting a Copyright Troll is serious and you need to be careful not to say anything (even in jest) that could be misconstrued by them.
Saying that, here is a template to send a written reply to the Troll. Only use this template after the Troll has your personal information and you are getting the telephone calls, letters, or emails from them. Make sure you edit it to your situation, sign and date it, and make a copy for your records. I would send the letter to the Copyright Troll by US Postal Service and at least get delivery confirmation (Certified mail is also an option).
(Troll Firm Name and Address)
On (date), I received a call/voicemail/email/letter from XXXXXXXXXXXX (Name if you have it) in regards to case# XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, case title, alleging my public IP address has been recorded taking part in copyright infringement activities on (date). In light of this allegation, please advise your client the following:
1. I did not download/share the copyright protected movie(s) in question.
2. I do not know who may have downloaded/shared the copyright protected movie(s) in question.
3. The copyright protected movie(s) in question are not on my computer.
4. As I do not have a contract or other agreement (Duty) to your client (or society in general regarding Internet security). I’m in no way negligently responsible for any alleged copyright infringement that may have occurred over the public IP address assigned to me by the Internet Service Provider (ISP).
5. Due to the various computer/network vulnerabilities that are constantly being discovered and exploited, it is also possible my computer and/or Internet connection was used without my knowledge or authorization. Note: Please see the following US Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT) Vulnerability Note VU#723755 (http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/723755), detailing a vulnerability in the WiFi Protected Set-up (WPS) on many Internet access point devices.
6. As I have never received any Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) take-down notices for the alleged illegal download/sharing of the copyright protected movie(s) in question, I seriously question the sincerity of this legal action. If your client is truly serious about protecting their intellectual property, using this simple and cost-effective measure can help prevent future copyright infringement activity. If I had received a DMCA take-down notice through my ISP immediately following your firm recording my public IP address, I would have been able to check my Internet connection for records of rogue systems that may have used it without my authorization. As a large amount of time has passed since the alleged activity occurred, any records from my Internet access point are long gone. The current nature of small office/home network equipment does not support long-term logging.
7. I will not pay your settlement demand and if need be, I will fight you in court.
8. Please limit any relevant correspondence to US Post Office or similar means. Do not telephone me at any number (home, cell, work, etc.). Do not send any further settlement demands, as this will be considered harassment.
Your Name Date
Not something for everyone, but I believe this is another good way to show the Troll you are not scared and will not make a good target. The letter is also good in case the troll ever goes to the court and whines that you are being evasive. This type of letter clearly shows you are not being evasive, you just are not giving into extortion.
*** Here is another way you can respond – Doe_RE_AZ. AZ Doe tell Prenda to “come and get it.” ***