I decided to look at what RFC Express was showing and noted six mass Doe copyright infringement cases for “BKGTH Productions, LLC.” The cases were opened in Wisconsin on 12 Jun 13 (Two cases), and in Illinois on 28 Jun 13 (Four cases). I took a look at case 1:13-cv-04712, BKGTH Productions LLC, v. Does 1-87 (NDIL), filed on 28 Jun 13. The DVD at the center of this case is “Bad Kids Go to Hell,” registered on 30 Apr 12, which is a comedy horror movie, based off a graphic novel and is described as “The Breakfast Club meets The Grudge.” Yes, we have Judge Nelson in this movie (“Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?”) IMDB page on the movie. The case was filed by Michael A. Hierl and Todd S. Parkhurst, Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd. Complaint_04712(IL) EX_A_04712(IL)
The complaint is the standard mass Doe copyright infringement case that was the norm for the pornography base copyright troll cases that have fallen out of favor. It appears that horror movies are taking the place of porn movies for mass Doe copyright infringement cases. These cases have become so easy to file that some attorneys and Plaintiff cannot resist the temptation to file them. Now I did note a couple of differences to past cases, but I still call it copyright trolling. This case was filed with the main purpose of collecting settlements and there is no intention to bring all 87 defendants to trial (my opinion). I guess the Plaintiff and attorneys think that because it isn’t a porn movie, that they are on more stable ground. Here are the differences I noted.
DMCA Take Down Notices
Some DMCA take down notices have been filed with Google for links to sites for the movie. I will assume other Internet Search Engines have also received take down notices. I doubt the ISPs (Comcast, WideOpenWest, Charter, and Frontier) associated with the public IP addresses of the 87 Does have been notified via take down notices (Please correct me if I’m wrong). In my opinion, the failure to do this means the Plaintiff and Trolls want the activity to continue so more cases can be filed and settlements will increase.
Short Time Frame For The Does
For this case the alleged activity occurred between 10 – 18 Apr 13, but there is no information showing how these Does interacted with each other – besides the SHA1 has file number (“The Swarm”) and the dates/times of infringement. I understand the complaint only requires a brief statement of the allegation, but based on the history of these cases (as well as normal BitTorrent operation), it is just as likely that the public IP addresses downloaded/shared parts of the movie from other locations outside of the NDIL jurisdiction (other 49 States or the world).
As of this morning (1 Jul 13), PACER did not show a request for a subpoena to obtain ISP subscriber information for the public IP addresses. I expect that request will come shortly and then the subscribers will receive notification from the ISPs.
Who Is Behind This Action?
Based off of the copyright registration, I will assume the Plaintiff is actually Barry Wernick. Mr. Wernick is listed as a writer and producer for this movie. As the corporate disclosure document for this case has not been filed, it is possible others have an interest in this case.
Hopefully the courts in WI and IL will see that these are the same type of cases filed under the business model of generating settlements and has nothing to do with stopping piracy. I think the horror movie field is being targeted by copyright trolls attorney firms as a new way to make money. The Plaintiff’s name is only around for the limited time-frame of the cases associated to movie. New horror movie will generate new Plaintiff LLCs and new copyright infringement cases. As the Plaintiff’s name will be different for each movie, there is a reduced chance the true backers of these actions (Plaintiffs and the copyright troll attorneys) will be seen as practicing their business model. These tactics give them an air of legitimacy to the practice of copyright trolling. As the filing requirements for these cases are minimal, the trolls can claim they will provide all relevant details justifying their actions when the case comes to trial. As these cases do not come to full trial to be judged on their merits, it is simply a shell game repeated over and over again to generate settlements.