DC Is Troll Heaven – Judge Howell Tells ISPs They Must Comply With Subpoenas For Subscriber Information, 1:12-cv-00048

I received another email from one of the trolls.  Most likely Steele or one of his lackeys.  They like to drop me notes from time to time.  Funny how he used to post with True name to back up what he has to say.  Well the Troll wanted to pass along (and gloat) how the DC Court just denied the ISPs Motions to Quash the subpoena to provide subscriber information.    MemoOp_ISPs_00048(DC)   

This Memorandum Opinion is for AF Holdings LLC, v. John Does 1-1058, 1:12-cv-00048 (Docket), from Judge Beryl A. Howell (so it is not really a great surprise).  The Trolls know that DC is a friendly jurisdiction, and especially Judge Howell.  Judge Howell background.    

What Does This Mean?

No need to go Chicken Little and run around.  “The sky isn’t falling.”  Judge Howell stated the ISPs request that the subpoenas for ISP subscriber information be quashed is denied.  Her denial was essentially at this stage of the preceding, it is too early to address the issues of improper joinder and jurisdiction.  So the Trolls will have an easier time of obtaining ISP subscriber information in DC.  Doesn’t change the fact that the cases will go nowhere as usual. 

As discussed below, the Court concludes that the plaintiff’s Complaint is not procedurally defective because consideration of personal jurisdiction and joinder are not appropriate at this procedural juncture. Accordingly, because the Complaint sufficiently alleges prima facie allegations of copyright infringement, there are no named defendants in this case, and the plaintiff must obtain information necessary to identify those allegedly infringing its copyright in order to proceed with a lawsuit, the plaintiff’s subpoenas to the ISPs are properly issued, and compliance with these subpoenas will not impose an undue burden upon the ISPs.

It is a bit of a long read, but you can clearly see what side Judge Howell favors.  At one part she states allowing the Trolls to list mass John Does (majority who are nowhere near DC) is efficient (bottom of page 24) and gives Plaintiff a remedy for the alleged infringing activity.  She also believes that the simple use of a IP address geolocation tool does not serve any useful purpose to the court.

The Movant ISPs argue that the plaintiff cannot establish a “good faith belief” that personal jurisdiction exists over the unknown individuals without use of geolocation tools, but this Court does not agree. By setting forth prima facie allegations of copyright infringement predicated upon capture of the Listed IP Addresses engaged in allegedly infringing activity, the plaintiff has met its burden and is entitled to a period of discovery to identify the customers to whom the ISPs assigned the Listed IP Addresses. Indeed, it is virtually impossible for the plaintiff to allege in good faith a basis for personal jurisdiction or venue when it does not know the names and addresses of the unknown individuals.

Judge Howell barely touched the issue that the Trolls do not litigate 99.999% of the cases.  She stated they are the masters of their complaints and are allowed to do what they see fit.  I guess using the DC court as a tool to extort money is OK in her eyes.     

Now the ISPs have immediately filed an appeal on this issue.  As pointed out by Mr. Troll in his email, such appeals have a small chance of success.  I’m willing to see what comes of it. 

Yes Mr. Troll, I’m a little upset that the DC court ruled as such, but it doesn’t change the facts of your cases and the scumbag business model you are pursuing.   Even with you minuscule naming and serving of defendants, you are still a joke.  You will still send out your settlement demands, Idiot-Lutz calls, robo-calls, and Informal Discovery paperwork.  People will turn to Google and find out all about you and how to handle these garbage allegations.  DC may become the venue to obtain ISP subscriber information, but you will still be unable to take 99.999% of these people into a DC court.  I don’t doubt you will get a few lucky default judgments, but that is going to pale in comparison to the counterclaims that will eventually come your way. 

So I say, “yes you won one here.”  Don’t gloat too much; you will not be able to see the bitch-slap when it hits!   😉

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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26 Responses to DC Is Troll Heaven – Judge Howell Tells ISPs They Must Comply With Subpoenas For Subscriber Information, 1:12-cv-00048

  1. SJD says:

    Any ideas how to proceed in unmasking fake companies AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13? That would be a major blow to the scumbags.

    • Ugh says:

      Someone needs to get on that (and also whether or not the copyrights were validly transferred to them). I’m sure this stuff will come out if/when one of these cases is actually litigated but the sooner the better!

    • Anonymous says:

      Not much to go on, but Gibbs filed the copyright assignment agreement between Heartbreaker Digital, LLC and AF Holdings, LLC for “Popular Demand” in one of his Northern California single-Doe cases.

      The signatories are Raymond Rogers for Heartbreaker Digital and Alan Cooper for AF Holdings.

      Nothing terrifically interesting comes up for either with minimal Googling, although there are some WHOIS entries for domain names registered in Rogers’ name, for example:

      http://dawhois.com/domain/clubmercedez.biz.html

      The address appears to be a strip mall a bit East of the Vegas Strip, not a home address. Doubt they have a storefront so it could also be a post-office box or just an office.

      I also found that one of the other AF Holdings single-Doe cases is a new flavor. It’s *not* one of the John Doe cases that has a bunch of co-conspirators in the complaint, but unlike the first batch of single-Doe cases filed by Gibbs, which named the account holder and did a bunch of arm-waving about the need to ascertain the true infringer’s identity before naming a defendant, the complaint in this case states that John Doe is known only by his IP, and then they are going the discovery route to unmask him. So basically this appears to be a mass-Doe style case but with a single defendant.

      This is surprising to me, as I figured all the single-Doe filings would be people who had already been through a mass-Doe case that got dismissed on jurisdiction or joinder problems and didn’t pay up the first time, but if that is the case then Prenda is lying to the court in this complaint (not that that would be shocking, but still if one of these Does gets an attorney and explains that all the stuff about unknown identities and discovery was BS, it’s not going to help Gibbs’ image). If these are indeed ‘fresh’ IP addresses, then this is perhaps a new tactic to attempt to avoid the joinder problems by going one IP at a time, but by not going the name-defendant route with an IP that has already been through discovery, they get to drag the thing out indefinitely while trying to settle. It would actually be a cool sign if this is what’s happening, as it means California has basically ruined the mass-Doe cases and forced them to go one-by-one. In addition to the logistical problems they’ll have keeping track of these cases, it costs more, and the more they flood the dockets with these cases, the slower things are likely to proceed as each additional case is added. There is going to be a physical limit to how many cases each district court can handle, beyond which Prenda will simply not be able to make any additional cases progress. No wonder Buffy is creaming himself about the Howell decision, things must be getting desperate over there for them to go one Doe at a time!

      Anyway, the docket is here:
      http://ia700708.us.archive.org/16/items/gov.uscourts.cand.255040/gov.uscourts.cand.255040.docket.html

      • Anonymous says:

        I’ll point out that an Alan Cooper is also listed as Ingenuity 13’s Manager, or something like that, in some of their filings, so he seems to be a Prenda stooge for both of these shells.

  2. Subscribe says:

    Subscribe

  3. I also agree — there is no surprise the motions were denied by Judge Howell. And, by the way, someone should update her high school yearbook picture with something more recent.

  4. JohnD says:

    You guys and gals are so great at wrecking their business model that you push their buttons to email you directly to gloat over their minor victories with corrupt officials.

    Keep up the excellent work!!!!

  5. ima putz says:

    I have to be honest, I did not expect you to publish the order. The analysis may be a bit flawed (hell, I myself prepared and served 20 cases against individuals in FL and MI in the last 3 days!), but anyone reading that knows that order is no 1/2 page perfunctory order like the ones against us. And I think this blog knows we are naming people, but you know that if you admit it, the game is over. I understand the situation this blog is in.

    Now on to this amazing case. This was the only EVIDENTIARY hearing ever held on issues such as Geolocation, ISP undue burden, venue, PJ, and many others. Of course, its also the first case where we fought the ISP’s (don’t rely on their brilliance to save you BTW). Lets just say I had a good view of Steele up there and while he is no Clarence Darrow, the ISP’s must have had a stuttering requirement for their attorneys.

    Now, for the (actual) lawyers out there, answer me this: If the appeal is denied, and the only federal appellate court decision in the country is in our favor, will that 1.) Make DC off limits to obstructionist efforts to stop us, and 2.) be the only persuasive authority for every other federal judge in the country? Hint: 🙂

    Lastly, as always, we are suing people as fast as we can. The new site will be better able to list them all. Bear with us. I have two new young attorneys coming onboard full-time next week. Its hard to find the right baby-troll after all.

    • SJD says:

      Its hard to find the right baby-troll after all.
      Hint: offer them a half-decent salary, don’t try to compete with McDonalds.

    • Drifter says:

      What a surprise you get one recent ruling in your favor in a court district known to favor plaintiffs by a Judge who until recently was an RIAA lobbyist and Managing Director of anti-piracy outfit and you show up to gloat about it. Are we supposed to be shocked that bottom feeding copyright troll lawyers got a judge to buy their lies and BS that they so shamelessly present as evidence to support their claims, I think we can safely assume that Judge Beryl Howell was already well inclined to favor the copyright trolls arguments given her professional background before she ever heard the case, can we say conflict of interest. On the other hand you and your troll buddies have been as quiet as church mice about all the numerous recent court rulings this year that have shot your fallacious arguments about joinder and negligence to pieces or how about judges calling the copyright troll business model “extortion”. It is abundantly self evident that the recent smattering of individual and named suits by you and other copyright trolls is a direct consequence of both sites like this informing your victims that trolls all bluster and no bite when it comes to naming people in individual suits and because of judges increasingly bringing up the lack of named defendant cases by most trolling law firms. So trolls had no choice but to start filing named individual suits as otherwise their entire extortion scheme would become undeniably obvious to judges due to their lack of follow through. Your pretense of going after everybody that does not pay you extortion money as somehow being a part of the plan all along is laughable.

      Your entire post reeks of the usual scaremongering so commonly found in the words of copyright trolls, really such saber-rattling does more to undermine your attempts to intimidate then anything else. Also given the number, rate, and limited jurisdictions that individual suits have been filed by trolls, I think most informed copyright victims and others fighting against the trolls gross abuse of the legal system find you and your threats to be equally empty.

    • Anonymous says:

      You aren’t naming many people. Seriously, this stuff isn’t secret, I subscribe to RFC Express’ RSS feed and I’m disappointed every day by how few named cases you guys have, because they are the ones that will be your downfall. You guys have been running from the court room for too long, and we are all anxious to see just how big of a disaster it is when you finally try to litigate a case (hint: settling with Wong was a delicious appetizer).

      I’d be surprised if you guys have named 15 people.

      Feel free to post case numbers for every case you have with a named defendant (NOT single-Doe, but Plaintiff v. A Person’s Name cases). What you don’t seem to understand is that we want to see all this stuff because we are watching you, and we assume that if you don’t post any documentation to back it up, it’s because you are full of shit. Take for example Buffy’s recent claim that your current capacity is 100 named defendants a month, yet there is no evidence to suggest anywhere near 100 named defendants, total.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      Putz,

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. There is no reason I (and others) would not bring this out into the open. It still doesn’t change the fact that your cases are flawed from the start and you have no intention of litigating a vast majority of them. Hell, the only reason you started to litigated any of them is because you had to admit that since starting this in 2010 (& up to Feb 2012), you named and served “Zero” defendants. I started to inform people that you would eventually start to actually name people way before you actually did. I assume you would use better judgment in picking these defendants (those less likely to fight), but greed probably got the better of you. No I didn’t go into an in-depth analysis of the Memo; No need to. The bottom line was that Judge Howell thinks it is OK to use her court as a “fishing expedition” & a tool to extort money from people. The merits of the cases will not be discussed in her court at this time. She knows full well that you cannot prove anything with the limited evidence you have at this stage of the game. She is of the simplistic view that if people didn’t do it, they will fight back and you will run. “Merits of Copyright Trolls Cases” – Yes, I see the title of my next post. Your Troll efforts are sad and things will eventually crash down on you. Please keep gloating, it will make that moment that more enjoyable.

      DTD 🙂

  6. Irritated Troll Hater says:

    Ima Putz…. Really?! Are you serious?! Are you that F’n ignorant?!

    “I have to be honest, I did not expect you to publish the order”

    How could you think that the order would not be posted? Every time you guys try and pull a rabbit out of your ass, it gets posted to keep the public updated on your shady “business model”. YOU ARE EXTORTING MONEY FROM INNOCENT PEOPLE, AND YOU SIT THERE AND LAUGH ABOUT IT! The articles here and on SJD’s site are fair and honest. You just don’t like it because it leaks your flaws and fears, not to mention stupidity. Is it surprising that you got an elbow rubbing accessory to your crime, HELL NO! It’s to be expected.

    You are an arrogant SOB. You think the world revolves and should bow down to you. You think you are better and above everyone, even the law! You push and push to get your own way, and when it falls apart, you run to someone who will listen to you and cover your ass. And the moment someone speaks up about you, they either get F’d while you sit in a corner playing with your twig and berries, or you end up bending over and taking one for your team. Only to do it all over again the next day. Your ass has to be raw by now.

    Why are you challenging other lawyers who know of your scheme and are fighting you? You’re begging to be stopped, “Make DC off limits to obstructionist efforts to stop us”. Also, you think that if an appellate court goes in your favor one time, that it will convince ALL the judges in the country to change their minds about you and your lawsuits? What if it doesn’t go in your favor? Are you gonna sue the appellate court for obstruction towards your case?

    Of course it’s hard for you to find the right “baby-troll”. Your scams are getting around so fast that it’s becoming public knowledge and no one wants to be a part of it. Unless, you find the kind that love to torment people and the smell of fear on the money they’ll receive. By the way, be sure to tell them that the downfall is a loss of job and never being able to work in the field of law again.

    You and your buddies are sad examples of a human being and putting a bad name on the honest lawyers. I told you in a previous post, show just how big your sack is and go after the government who have been getting in trouble over internet porn. But, you won’t do that. You’re too scared.

    P.S.—- You think you’re funny using Ima Putz for a nickname because people call you that. All you’re doing is reinforcing everyone’s thought and putting yourself down. Idiot!

  7. Irritated Troll Hater says:

    One more thing Mr. Putz….. You mentioned you had a good view of John Steele. Was he intoxicated? Did he smell of beer? I bet his speech was slurred and his eyes were glossy. Was he standing straight, or was his balance a little off? Please please please…. answer those questions and be honest. Oh wait, you can’t.
    Down with all Trolls

  8. that anonymous coward says:

    So the Judge in her own words have said that she does not care that her court is being used to seek people that are not within her jurisdiction. She has made the decision that she gets to know best, and ignore the ease with which the list could be limited to targets she has jurisdiction over.
    Judicial misconduct ring a bell anyone?
    It was bad enough when she did not recuse herself the first time USCG darkened her door, given her former work she can not possibly be unbiased despite any protesting otherwise. She earned her money working in an industry that publishes statistics that are not based in fact, to bolster claims of losses that do not exist. She is using her position to further this agenda and subverting the rule of law we allegedly have in this country.
    A Supreme Court Justice with LESS involvement in a case being heard before SCOTUS recused to avoid any possible appearance of improper behavior, and this Judge who earned a living in these types of cases and law lobbying claims she is not unduly influenced.

    It would be not difficult, time consuming, or expensive to make sure that she has jurisdiction over the Does, and she has ignored this. Shall we all start expecting Federal Judges to issue rulings demanding people respond to courts across the country from them to make the lives of copyright trolls easier? Lets just throw out all the Federal Procedures and Law covering the limitation on a Judges power and elect them emperor. Or instead, lets have a panel of her peers actually stand up and declare the rule of law matters more than what she thinks it should.
    But then I am sure she has a nice position waiting for her once she is drummed out of office, the damage will have been done to the legal system in the country so she earned her pay.

    The appeals process might not always go in favor of complainants… but when a Judge is abusing her position its time someone reigns her in.

  9. Raul says:

    ISPs will not risk an appeal unless they are confident in the likelihood of a reversal; trolls are understandably nervous.

  10. BoBooBeryl says:

    She is the epitomy of what is wrong with DC. I have posted several times before that this carpet muncher judge needs to recluse herself or someone should report to the concerned authorities.

  11. antikosmos says:

    Judging by this article I’ve just read on XBIZ i guess you were right about the origin of the mail (and comment by ima putz)
    ____________
    BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Lightspeed Media Corp. claims in an amended suit that corporate executives at AT&T and Comcast Cable Communications have aided, abetted and conspired with a hacker to steal its content.

    As a result, Lightspeed has asked the court for injunctive relief, preventing AT&T and Comcast from participating in the alleged “criminal enterprise.”

    Lightspeed’s original complaint was filed in December against Anthony Smith, one of the alleged ringleaders of a hacking gang that obtained passwords then used them to break into Lightspeed websites.

    “Lightspeed’s early efforts were successful in unraveling the conspiracy when counsel for AT&T, Bartholomew Huffman, and counsel for Comcast, John Seiver, informed Lightspeed that their clients would no longer comply with court-ordered subpoenas,” said attorney Paul Duffy of Chicago-based Prenda law firm that represents Lightspeed Media

    “AT&T and Comcast have made a business decision to protect alleged criminals instead of severing lucrative contracts. AT&T and Comcast’s subscribers have threatened my client’s livelihood while continuing the unfettered hacking that is destroying his business — all under the protection of AT&T and Comcast,” Duffy said.

    Attorney John Steele, who leads the Prenda law firm, told XBIZ that a separate ruling handed down Monday in a BitTorrent suit involving AF Holdings gives credence to the Lightspeed amended complaint.

    The AF Holdings ruling at U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., is important “because it’s the first evidentiary hearing held to actually address the various issues raised by infringers and the ISPs,” Steele said.

    The judge in the AF Holdings case rejected efforts by AT&T and Comcast to avoid compliance with subscriber identification subpoenas issued by Prenda against 1,058 John Does who allegedly traded the porn video “Popular Demand.”

    “The fact that we just sued AT&T and Comcast the same week a federal judge ruled their arguments are ‘without merit’ should make this interesting,” Steele said.

    Lightspeed Media Corp., operated by Steve Lightspeed, seeks monetary damages in excess of $200,000, as well as punitive awards.
    ______________________

    • DieTrollDie says:

      John Steele does some stupid things, but suing AT&T and COMCAST tops the list.

      DTD 🙂

      • Anonymous says:

        As I’ve stated on SJD’s site, Prenda suing two Fortune 50 telecom firms definitely tops the list of stupid things that Prenda has done and will hold the top spot forever. Lightspeed’s attorneys (Hoerner and O’Malley) are WAY out of their league and when AT&T and Comcast get severed from the “ringleader” and the case kicked up to the federal level, it’ll be the beginning of the end…especially for Duffy since he’ll be the one handling this case. AT&T has shown that it has no problem going to the litigation phase over an overdue phone bill, so I wonder what they’re gonna do to Prenda. I HIGHLY doubt either firm will settle.

      • Anonymous says:

        http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/08/porn-copyright-troll-sues-att-and-comcast-says-they-side-with-pirates/

        According to the article Ars contacted AT&T and was told that the case has already been moved to federal court at their request, so if Prenda thought they had some home-court advantage with a corrupt judge, that’s over. Will be curious if anyone can find the federal case number and docket.

        I’m trying to imagine ways this makes sense from the Trolls’ perspective and I just can’t make any sense of it. Is John so overconfident from intimidating clueless average Joes that he thinks AT&T and Comcast are going to send him $200,000 if he threatens a lawsuit and sends a nasty letter? Is it a PR stunt to increase settlement rates, i.e. he thinks all the Does are going to crap their pants and think “OMG, if he’s suing Comcast and AT&T, I’m nothing, I better settle!” He must be getting really desperate with low settlement rates for it to come to this. I have noticed the most recent demands are up to $4K+, and dockets for recent cases are showing few, if any, voluntary dismissals with prejudice. Guess it’s going to be a kamikaze attack.

  12. Pingback: Prenda is hiring! Apply here! Positions fill quickly! « Fight Copyright Trolls

  13. Anonymous says:

    So I wonder if these bozos are earning lots of frequent flyer miles tripping from Chicago to St. Louis or are that Amtraking it. Good news for these guys is they will soon have the high speed rail finished between these cities and so now they’ll be able to race down there at 120 MPH. Living my life in those parts I know the route well takes them right through Springfield so maybe that want to take to some of the state senators on their travels through to garner more state support. Oh, right we are already at the Federal level on this.

    I’m especially keen in seeing how they will should the protective measures they employed to protect this highly confidential website(s). Let’s explore the detective measures as well. Then let’s look at the statement that no one owns more that a 10% holding. AT&T has shown that and as a public company this is straight forward. Now LMC is in a sticky situation there as the forensic agent is the company all with the same ownership as report in the incorporation sheets. None of this ever talks about the qualifications of the investigator which is the company which is the real douche-bag here.

    Steele I’m sure is stocking more away now in his foreign shamfront companies. Hiding $$s away in offshore shelters. Didn’t he see it was time to pick up and just go home?

  14. Pingback: Talking Torrents: Opposing Severance Is Now In Vogue – The Old Severance Playbook Has Gone Stale « Philly Law Blog

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