How To Answer A Summons From A Copyright Troll

As a follow-up piece on what to do when served, I thought it might be a good to provide a “template” answer document.  *** Now I will caution those of you that are considering using such a template.  If you are at this stage in the legal process, I would highly recommend at least consulting with an attorney knowledgeable with these types of cases.  Something like this can help or hinder you – depends on how you use it.

A421The template {Answer_Template} is nothing more than a starting point for you to truly make it your “own” answer to the complaint.  Please do not simply add your name and mail it off.  You will have to edit the template to accurately respond to the complaint against you.  Each Troll complaint is a little different and you need to be aware of this.  Failure to do this correctly can lead to embarrassment (best case) or possibly providing a false statement (worst case).  Please don’t lie on any legal documents, as you can get into some serious trouble.  

The answer is a simple response to the complaint that was filed against you.  You address each point in it with either an admission, a denial, or that you don’t know.  I would not go into detail on why specific aspects of the complaint are wrong, but some additional information may be beneficial.

I would not recommend admitting to anything in the complaint, with the exception of the very mundane.  If you admit anything, you are essentially stipulating (agreeing) with the Troll.  This may become an issue later if you decide to argue a point previously agreed on.  This also makes the Troll prove all their points in the case – don’t make it easy for them to sue you.

Here are some of the general responses

  • Defendant denies the Plaintiff’s allegations in Paragraph 2.
  • Defendant denies the Plaintiff’s allegations in Paragraph 3, because the Defendant does not have sufficient knowledge or information to form a belief about the truth of the allegations.

You will see in the template that for a few of the answers I do expand the response a bit.

  • Defendant denies the Plaintiff’s allegations in Paragraph 8. Even if the IP address in question was associated with the Wireless Firewall/Router (WFR) or network located at Defendant’s residence, those facts still do not give rise to personal jurisdiction over the Defendant. An IP address is not a person, rather it is merely a series of numbers assigned to a computer or device, which can be accessed by multiple individuals over time. Moreover, an IP address can be simulated from a separate location by an unscrupulous individual, meaning that Plaintiff’s software could inadvertently flag an innocent IP address if it is being simulated or spoofed by another.

For this template, I used the Malibu Media complaint against John Doe, IP address 174.51.234.104, filed on 5 Feb 13, in the District of Colorado.   complaint_00307(CO)   EX_A_7movies_00307(CO) EX_B_7movies_00307(CO)  EX_C_othersharedmovies_00307(CO) EX_D_ExculpEvidLetter_00307(CO)    I don’t know the Defendant in this matter and simply picked the case at random.  Read them side-by-side and you will see how the answer works.

Defenses

The next part of the answer is providing a list of possible defenses, and a caveat that other defenses may be added at a later time.   Some of the defenses are

  • Declaratory Judgment
  • Failure to State a Valid Cause of Action
  • De Minimis Non Curat Lex
  • Failure to Mitigate Damages
  • Innocent Infringement
  • Barring Statutory Damages and Attorney Fees
  • Failure to Join an indispensable Party
  • Communication Decency Act
  • License, Content, and Acquiescence
  • Unclean Hands
  • Injunctive Relief

The last part of the answer is the prayer for relief, your signature/date, and the certification of service showing you provided the Troll with a copy.

You may ask what about counterclaims.  That is a possibility and can easily be added to your answer.  The intent of this article was to give people a starting point to respond Pro Se if they determined hiring a lawyer is not possible.

Filing The Answer

This can be done in person at the court or via mail.  After making two copies (for you and the Troll), mail the original to the court and one copy to the Troll.  The various court addresses can be found on their Web sites.  Contact the clerk of the court if you are unsure of the address or have other questions.  The address of the Troll can be found at the bottom of the complaint and on the docket.

What Is Next?

Various motions could be filed, followed by the discovery phase.  By at least responding to the summons/complaint, you are not making it easy for the Troll to obtain a default judgment.  If the Troll is truly determined to continue the case, they are going to have to spend additional time and money.  This hurts their bottom line.  Without having any real evidence or a desire to expose their operation in open court, there is a good possibility they will attempt to have the case dismissed directly or indirectly.

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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11 Responses to How To Answer A Summons From A Copyright Troll

  1. Mysterious Anonymous says:

    Perhaps ironically, the best example of a stonewalling answer to a lawsuit may come from copyright trolls themselves. Remember Prenda’s answer to Seth Abrahams v. Hard Drive Productions, Inc.?

    http://ia600805.us.archive.org/7/items/gov.uscourts.cand.251860/gov.uscourts.cand.251860.32.0.pdf

    Brett Langdon Gibbs denied basic facts about the work’s copyright registration that were available on the US Copyright Office website and stuff from his own complaint in the original mass-Doe case.

    Then again, considering how well Prenda’s “strategies” have been working out for them in California, maybe Gibbs isn’t the best guy to emulate.

  2. The Tod says:

    It seems you put Deep Thought into this article DTD.

  3. Clouso says:

    I question admitting that an infringement took place. Why should I believe them? Anyone can randomly make up an IP address. So if I the defendant didn’t do it why should I believe any of their allegations. I wouldn’t give them anything at all. Make them prove their supposed technology works. Just like in the OJ Simpson trial, everything is questioned. You found blood on the jeep…. why did the police try to setup OJ… because the officer is a racist. Okay so why did the plaintiff make up this phoney infringement claim, pull an IP address out of his magical hat? Because he wants to extort millions of dollars from innocent hard worker moms and dad across America.

  4. Doe says:

    I wonder if the troll missed a date to file a reply to a motion, what will happen? Should I just wait for the court or file something to let the court know? Thanks in advance

  5. Pingback: Maximum Default Judgement For CP Productions Inc. v. Glover, 1:12-cv-00808 (IN) | DieTrollDie

  6. doe says:

    was wondering about the defense at the end when you make your defense i have written my letter of reply was wondering if i can just copy what the defense says my complaint is exactly the same as the example

  7. DieTrollDie says:

    Sending an answer is for after you are named/served with a summons/complaint. Don’t do this for a settlement letter. If you want to reply to a settlement letter, then only do a Richard Pyror Response style letter.

    DTD 🙂

  8. Anonymous Defendant says:

    I am getting ready for the settlement letter phase soon based on what I have read. I applaud you for providing such quality information for people who can’t get an attorney to help fight these people ourselves. I am preparing my Pryor response letter and getting ready to file an answer to their amended complaint. I have been researching other Malibu Media cases that have been dismissed on PACER. So I have been trying to find the right Defenses that the other districts of the US District Courts have been approving. Majority of these cases were dismissed with or without prejudice pretty fast.

    I believe that the Failure to Mitigate Damages defense is very strong. I saw a US District Judge affirm a defendant who said since Malibu Media never submitted a DMCA notice to the defendants ISP it constituted this failure. The fact that they monitor the so called infringement but never report it to the ISP sets off extortion bells and whistles. I also saw where a US District Judge stated that Malibu Media already received the maximum amount by law for the copyrighted movie. My understanding of this is there is a law that only allows them to recover a maximum amount per title that is copyrighted. I will find this information for you if you want. Thee two defenses may end up helping many fight these copyright trolls.

  9. this is a pretty good read. I hope to add a quality follow up on “what to do when when a troll doesn’t legally serve you the summons” on have to handle these scummy trolls after i win 🙂
    As more people have been talking about their experiences lately, I’ve noticed a trend that they are reporting a summons was left (hand delivered no envelope no stamp) hanging openly from their mailbox, or slipped under their door, with absolute not attempt by the server to “deliver in person” as is required by law. Many of these people who were served in such a way responded to these summonses, and many of those ended up settling with the troll in the end.

    in fact, all they had to do, was ignore the BS summons that would never hold in court as served, then wait out the notice of default judgement from the court, then wait the allowed 180 days to file a motion to vacate based on the fact that they were never served. by now, the troll has probably spent nearly a year trying to weasel his tiny settlement with you, plus plenty of court fees. and you are in control of time and his money, and giving yourself plenty of time to not let the harrassment interfere in your life.

    that;s the short, I hope in a few months I can report some specific facts and hopefully have some quotes from lawyers and defendants in actual recent cases to pull together something nice 🙂

    this truly loathsome, malicious, and nefarious plague on american society needs to be stopped. every victim and witness of it can play their part just as much as the defense lawyers and social and legal movements rising up can fight back.

    DTD 4 life

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