Copyright Infringers Go To Hell – More Copyright Infringement Cases For Horror Movies – 1:13-cv-04712 (IL)

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).  RFC_BKGTH1I 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.

DieTrollDie 🙂

BKGTH2

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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43 Responses to Copyright Infringers Go To Hell – More Copyright Infringement Cases For Horror Movies – 1:13-cv-04712 (IL)

  1. that anonymous coward says:

    I can’t bear to look, how little cash did this make at the box office?
    How low was the rating given to it?

    While horror movies are moving in to replace porn, it is a specific breed of movie.
    One that was a flop, was made for a small amount of money, and has delusions that people will pay the same price for a DVD/VOD of this that they would for say ‘The Avengers’.

    This is the height of the idea of “imaginary dollars”.
    Because this was file shared is the reason we made no money, not because:
    it sucked.
    we priced ourselves out the market.
    it really really sucked.
    we deserve to get paid, despite what we made sucking.
    I am entitled to be rich because I made a movie.

    Check all that apply.

    “Piracy” still an indicator that your failing to meet market demand.
    Copyright Trolling still an indicator that the law is broken and being abused to extract cash far beyond the contents potential.

    • Andrew Tandrew says:

      The common denominator isn’t horror, it’s crap low budget films owned by companies without any public visibility or extant brand value. Voltage pictures has filed dozens of these suits for their crap action movies.

      Fox or Warner can’t do this for the same reason that the RIAA stopped, they’d lose more money turning off paying customers (and shareholders) from the abuse of process than they’d make from the suits.

      It’s conceivable that that’s part of why so many of the pornographers have stopped filing these suits.

      • that anonymous coward says:

        WB and ABC Family are taking a new spin at this.
        https://torrentlawyer.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/wb-warner-bros-mpaa-sending-20-dmca-settlement-letters/
        The forward our ‘bill’ disguised as a DMCA notice and you can settle for $20. Of course if your IP matches our long list we will then demand more cash, or we’ll get you kicked off the internet and sue you for $150,000. They were quick to point out that the Terms of Service/Acceptable Use Policy of the ISPs holds customers responsible for what happens on their connection… but failed to mention the courts holding a different belief. Corporate contracts do NOT trump Federal Law.

        By doing low amounts they expect a much higher return that than usual troll seeking thousands, making up the cash in volume. Just $20 to avoid being dragged to court, what a bargain.

        Of course their secret tech has yet to be reviewed, their methods have yet to be proven, and one wonders if they help seed the files as they collect data.

        I was less than kind to the guy brave enough to post after I was tearing apart their FUD from the website. His last name is Steele, you can imagine my amusement.

      • DieTrollDie says:

        I stand corrected. These low-budget movies are the common denominator. I think this particular movie had a little higher-budget and actually was released in some theatres. It will be interesting to see what amount they ask as a settlement for something you can now get for approx. $21.00 on-line.

        DTD 🙂

    • Billy Baynes says:

      I’ll pray for your death. Hopefully, it will be as painful as you truly deserve. You ARE, indeed , the anonymous COWARD.

  2. Jim Tyre says:

    DTD and TAC

    Yes, the movie was released in theaters, and it’s actually reasonably good as low budget flicks go.

    Of course, I’m biased. I’ve known one of the stars since her mom was still pregnant with her. She’s developing quite a little cult following. ‘-)

    • DieTrollDie says:

      Thank Jim. I actually found it on Netflix last night. Haven’t watched it yet. Does the actor know about what the Plaintiff is doing as far as the law suits? I plan on passing this information on the case to the various fan sites for these types of movies.

      DTD 🙂

      • Jim Tyre says:

        I doubt seriously that she knows anything about the lawsuits, certainly she wouldn’t be a decision maker. I’ll ask her, and if she has something worthwhile to say (on any side of the issues) and gives me permission to post it, I’ll do it.

      • DieTrollDie says:

        Thanks! Also ask if she has an 8×10 promo picture that can be made out to DTD and scanned. 🙂 (Kidding) Have a great day.

    • that anonymous coward says:

      Ohai Jim!
      As its not a movie I’ve seen or heard about I’ll take your review into consideration. Given the idiots who own the company are trolling the boards here, I’m guessing them getting it made was a fluke.
      But then I am in a less than kind mood at the moment.

  3. Bank Bond says:

    I’m a fan of the comic book series and movie. I saw it in theaters and On Demand. I also bought the DVD. And all three times I paid for the movie! I cannot figure out why people think it’s not just okay to steal, but that there should be no repercussions for stealing even though the law clearly allows for it. Talk about sense of entitlement. I’m sure the producers and investors never intended to provide the movie to the public for free. Just pay the $6.99 or $3.99 or $1.99 or whatever it is and support independent movie makers. If you want to continue stealing cool indie films, then keep on promoting piracy and you producers of cool indie movies will no longer be able to afford to do them anymore with everyone ripping them off. As for the actress in the movie, I’m sure she probably doesn’t want to work for free either. I think actors get paid some sort of royalties based on sales. So I would think actors would appreciate this type of action taken by producers.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      I will reserve judgement on the quality of the movie until I watch it. As far as piracy goes, many of the people who comment here do not condone it (myself included). My site and http://www.fightcopyrighttrolls.com were started in response to porn copyright trolls (Plaintiffs & Attorneys) who used threats of financial ruin and embarrassment to extract thousand dollar settlements from the ISP subscribers – not necessarily the actual infringer. The abusive tactics and large settlement amounts are IMO excessive and not appropriate to the what individual users have done. When you couple this with clear fact that these types of cases have nothing to do with stopping piracy, the repeatable business model of generating settlements is clear. It will be good to see what settlement demands are made from Plaintiff (BKGTH Productions LLC) in this case. I will be sure to post that information when it reaches me.

      As far as online piracy destroying most (if not all) production and sales of music, movies, and software, that claim hasn’t held up over time. Neither has the claim that each instance of piracy is a lost sale. Here is a good video concerning the hype.

      Concerning how the smaller actors get paid, I would love to know if they do get any royalties from DVD/online sales, or possibly from these cases (I doubt it).

      Bottom line: I don’t support piracy or the efforts of copyright trolls.

      DTD 🙂

      • that anonymous coward says:

        note paid 3 times doesn’t know prices.
        note stealing
        note the law allows
        I smells a sockpuppet.

      • Bank Bond says:

        Interesting stuff you point out. I still am not sure that Bad Kids Go to Hell is typical to the other types out there. As your link suggests for the DMCA takedown it looks like they are actually trying to get those pirate sites to take down the movies. But I’m not an Internet guru. In fact, aside from my moral position against pirating movies, I’d also be afraid to go to those sites as I’d probably get a virus or something. Anyway, thanks for the info…

      • DieTrollDie says:

        If you compare the style and format of the BKGTH cases to earlier porn copyright troll cases you will see they are of the same boilerplate design – Mass Doe, copyright infringement via BitTorrent, seeking ISP subscriber information for ONLY US personnel. The DMCA notices are only for Internet search engines and not for the ISPs who own the public IP addresses – half-a$$ effort IMO. Plus, I bet most of the sites only point to the torrent and do not actually share a copy of the movie. As we have yet to see the actual settlement letter/email, as well as the actions of the local troll, I will wait and see. But I’m willing to bet I’m right.

        FYI – Malware infections do not only come from visiting piracy or other questionable sites. Many trusted legitimate Web site are compromised and end up hosting malware from time to time.

        DTD 🙂

      • that anonymous coward says:

        @Bank Bond It is completely typical.
        They DMCA’d the fing TRAILER for the movie because they are that sloppy. They actively attempted to stop promotion of their film.

        They are seeking damages, that unless I misread the law, they are barred from seeking so that when they try and wring a settlement from someone they can point to the $150K gorilla in the room and note a few thousand is so much cheaper.

        They are using a law from another age to profit. They can not and will not try to prove each person’s guilt because they can’t. They have an IP address and seek to hold someone responsible for an act they might not have committed. They will send letters with all sorts of legal “threats” and scare tactics to obtain a payment. They want the cash they feel they are owed, and do not care if it comes from the right person as long as someone pays.

      • DieTrollDie says:

        TAC, I believe statutory damages and fees are available to the Plaintiff, as the date/time of alleged infringement took place after the registration date. Yes, they can only go after actual damages for anything prior to the registration date. See page two of the following handout.

        Saying that, this case will come the same way as the other 99.999% cases – nowhere but settlements, threats, maybe a default judgement on some people, and it will be dismissed. That is unless some Does and/courts decide to make the Troll do something or severs all but one.

        Have a great 4th! God I love this country.

        DTD 🙂

      • that anonymous coward says:

        Its this part that always trips me up.
        “If a published work was infringed before the effective date of registration, those remedies may also be available if the effective date of registration is no later than 90 days after the first publication of the work. ”

        With how BT works, and how they claim it is all 1 swarm, if it originally appeared in that time before how do they not all fall within that time?

        But yes, your correct this is about get the money early and often and never have a court look at the “evidence”.

  4. Katie Loew says:

    Why would ANYONE on this website NOT support the filmmakers and actors getting paid for their efforts (time, money, labor, marketing, etc) in making a film? In what world is it okay to steal from someone who’s spent money and worked hard to create a product FOR SALE??? People who steal from filmmakers ’cause they THINK its okay(???) are truly EVERYTHING that is wrong with the world (and you have forfeited your right to complain about anything shitty happening to you in this world-because you ARE now the problem and epicenter of all the shit you complain about). I support Mr.Wernick 100 -fucking- percent (or whomever filed suit) and hope the people who downloaded/ STOLE the film are RAPED by the courts for taking something without paying for it. They are nothing but maggots.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      Wow Katie. Take a chill pill or something. I cannot see how anyone would not support filmmakers and actors getting paid for their efforts. It is not OK to steal or pirate media. It is also not OK to abuse a law written to go after commercial copyright infringement – use it to threat people with weak-ass evidence. This is a shotgun approach that doesn’t consider that the ISP subscriber may not be the infringer, or that the judgements are extremely excessive for the personal (non-commercial) infringement. For many of the people involved, it is akin to getting a $3K fine for shoplifting a $30 item. It doesn’t wash.

      And to address the RAPE comment you made. Female or not, you are truly stupid for using the term “RAPE” as an acceptable way to show what you think should happen to someone accused of online piracy. I said “accused,” you ignorant piece of filth. Maybe we as a society to lock-up everyone that commits any type of infraction. That or we could cane or flog them.

      Here is some reading for you. http://upsettingrapeculture.com/rapeculture.html

      DTD 🙂

    • that anonymous coward says:

      Oh Barry, I’d like to point out that the actors already got paid. The money is going to the corporation who I doubt is going to willingly hand over any of that cash to the actors or other poor people who worked on the movie. Any other little white lies?
      You can hide behind llc’s and shells… but its your name on the registration.
      So how about you sober up and answer my questions.

  5. that anonymous coward says:

    I wonder if they know making veiled threats is illegal in TX.
    I wonder if they know I can figure out who they are.
    Bkgth Productions, LLC has a location in Dallas, TX.
    I’ll just drop a notice to your lawyers shall I, and maybe a note to the court that you make threats to people who disagree with you. Ever heard of Barbra Streisand’s Beach House?
    I wonder if they know they are paying for DMCA notices that are flawed, they targeted the trailer.
    So DMCA is to make sure no one who likes it promotes your movie…. got it.

    Debate me on the issues or don’t bother.
    Death threats and rape statements aren’t going to work real well.
    Leave being childish to experts like me.

    • Krono says:

      Well, technically the IP address listed is Hurst city, Texas which is apparently a Fort Worth suburb. Though apparently Hurst is located in the thirty miles between Dallas and Fort Worth, so it’s pretty well located to be a comfortable 30 minutes or so from Dallas. Which is a pretty optimal distance for if you want enough space between yourself and your work that you don’t run into people, but want to be close enough to have a relatively short commute.

      • that anonymous coward says:

        Network is AT&T which has a history of not getting geolocations just right.
        His home address is on the record, but not sure it is still his home (only glanced at the sales records briefly).
        His “law practice” is out of a P.O. Box.
        He lied on his copyright registration.
        And they can’t seem to get the amount right in the threat letter, clear signs of a top flight operation.

  6. that anonymous coward says:

    So Barry, ready to stop the cloak and dagger sock puppet posting and have a discussion?
    Question 1 – how much is the settlement demand?
    Question 2 – Whats the split to the lawyers?
    Question 3 – Did you consider the damage this could do to your brand?

    There are 3 off the top of my head, I’ll get to more if you bother to answer.

  7. Raul says:

    I “love” how some people conflate our criticism of an extortive business model for under employed lawyers as a wholesale embrace of copyright infringement. It is not and the deliberate deception speaks volumes as to the underlying weakness of those who cannot counter the argument that these lawsuits are the 21st century equivalent of ambulance chasing.

  8. that anonymous coward says:

    Barry, did someone remind you you have a Bar Card and these posts could be frowned upon by the TX Bar? Your using single data points to claim infringement, so govern yourself accordingly.

    First Publication 12-5-2011
    Effective Registration 4-30-2012
    Hurm
    “within three months of publication.”

    And tweeting about the sequel… is this how your funding it?

    • that anonymous coward says:

      So when you showed the movie at ComicCon it wasn’t to people?
      Funny there are reviews online.
      Or you like lying on copyright paperwork?

      Oh and what about the months of infringement you turned a blind eye to and didn’t bother to even register the copyright during?

  9. OngChotwI says:

    While watching a horrible horror flick, I saw an ad for a movie called “Hobo with a Shotgun”. Evidently it started out as a fake ad for a movie. Enough people asked about it, that they actually created a script around the fake ad, and made it. It evidently cost $3Mill to make.. made $12k opening day, grossed 700k.. and if it broke even or made a profit, it was off the backs of those of us who purchased the dvd – in my case as a gag present as a horror film lover. (She wouldn’t keep the dvd.)

    This movie also sounds like a watch-once; tell your friends to skip – type of film. (WO;TYFNTFW)

    If they can’t figure out successful ways of getting people to buy/rent/theater-watch their films, they either need to study “How to get folks to watch your Rotten Tomatoes” – or start making films with quality.

  10. stillnotlovingpolice says:

    Isnt it common practice in the movie industry to create companies for each movie? I doubt this is related to some evil conspiracy.

    Regarding your comments about weak evidence. There is no technical black voodoo magic trick to figure out who exactly did it. It makes perfect sense to assume that the subscriber did it and go after him to clear up the situation.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      Some may do this, I will have to check on that. Main stream movies may do this, but you don’t have problems back tracking to who are the people behind the scene. For many of these operations, the shell company is ued to hide these facts.

      The ISP subscriber is a good place to start, but it takes more than threatening them to settle – IMO.

      DTD 🙂

    • Guest says:

      Funny, because every time someone gets nailed based on the IP address regardless of innocence or guilt, money is demanded from the subscriber because it is claimed that the IP address is indisputable. Trying to prove your innocence? Get branded for trying to impede justice, and be forced to pay anyway for wasting plaintiffs’ time or some other measly pretext.

      So if a criminal escapes into a suburban community it makes sense to shoot up everyone there to clear up the situation. Convincing.

      • DieTrollDie says:

        The problem with the public IP address is that it can point to the infringer, but there is no guarantee of this. it takes so actual investigation to make sure you are not pressuring an innocent to pay up. Even if majority of the ISP subscribers are the infringer (Troll claimed 30% of the ISP subscribers are NOT the infringer), that does NOT give them the right to shotgun the entire bunch of Does with threats of financial ruin and embarrassment based on weak evidence. Couple these action with the obvious business model designed to generate settlements and do nothing to stop the infringement – tragic greed.

        DTD 🙂

  11. Doooe says:

    Greetings DTD!
    Your efforts in helping out the people these lowlifes go after are immensely appreciated. I literally couldn’t sleep for a couple of days before I found your site and others. Are there any updates on the BKGTH trolls? Or at least an e-mail I can use to reach you? Thank you!

  12. Pingback: Bad Movies Go To Colorado, BKGTH Productions LLC v. Does 1-17, 1:13-cv-01778 (CO) | DieTrollDie

  13. Doe 123 says:

    I was a doe in this. Talked to multiple lawyers, suggesting fees between $400 and $1500 (for my lawyer, not theirs). Estimated settlements quoted as anywhere from $2k to $3,500. I went cheap, and the lawyer I chose negotiated a $1900 settlement. The alternative seemed to be to fight it, which would end up costing about the same, and had the risk of losing and owing yet more on top of legal fees.

    She claimed that they do have a history of actually taking cases to court. However, part of what I am wondering is how many of the defendants’ lawyers are actually 1/2 in bed with plaintiff lawyers, knowing this is an easy way to churn through fees with minimal effort.

    For the plaintiff lawyers, you could always assume the lawyer standard (set by the ABA) of 33% of the recovered funds. They might offer a time/ materials approach, or a flat fee, but I find that doubtful. Likely they take 1/3 of whatever they collect, and their costs come out of that piece.

    If they’ve filed 6 suits, 50 Does/ suit (I think the actual number was closer to 80, but estimating conservatively), that’s 300 targets. Settling even 1/3 at an average of $2k apiece is a nice $200k payday for all involved. Plaintiff lawyers take in ~$66k which has to be a big # compared to costs. Plaintiff (Producer?) nets a 6 figure annual salary for making a movie that no one saw.

    For my part, I have downloaded torrented movies, but do not believe I downloaded this one. That said, felt a little bit like Karma for me – not that I am condoning these troll practices. I’m done downloading torrents, but completely agree that these lawsuits seem predatory, borderline illegal, and disingenuous with regards to their stated purposes.

    If Pixar launched one of these lawsuits, and asked for $15/ download plus legal fees spread across all, that actually would seem more legitimate. It would seem even more legitimate if they could actually prove a loss of revenue based on torrents (i.e. “damages”), which seems highly unlikely to me.

    I’d be very curious to hear if this ever went to trial, or if I dropped $2,300 out of fear, only to watch the case shrivel up and die when they collect enough settlements.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      I would be interested to see what case(s) the lawyer was referring to, as well as what she meant by taking them to court. Some people have been named (small amount – also depends on the Plaintiff), and an even smaller amount of discovery has happened (Depositions and forensics). I think what is VERY telling is a recent order by Judge Bucklo – (my emphasis)

      MINUTE entry before the Honorable Elaine E. Bucklo: Status hearing held on 1/22/2014. Plaintiff’s motion to dismiss “Doe Defendants” with certain Internet Protocol addresses is granted. Upon reflection, this court’s oral decision to set this case for trial is vacated. After nearly a year, plaintiff has neither served various defendants, nor substituted actual names of people for “Doe.” Plaintiff is given until January 30, 2014 to file proof of service on all defendants. After that, any defendant not served will be dismissed per Fed. R. Civ. P. 4. The case is set for hearing on February 4, 2014 at 9:30 AM. Doe Defendants 7,14,46,49,59,61 and 102 are dismissed with prejudice. Mailed notice (jdh)

      DTD 🙂

    • Jim Tyre says:

      Jumping in only to comment on:

      “For the plaintiff lawyers, you could always assume the lawyer standard (set by the ABA) of 33% of the recovered funds”

      Completely false. A third is fairly standard, but the contingent fee is not set by the ABA or any other third party. Leaving aside specific exceptions to the rule, the fee is (theoretically) negotiable.

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