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

7 Feb 2014 Update – Case Closed

Here is the archived docket.   On 9 Jan 14, the Troll asked for additional time to serve the remain 12 Does. They blamed the ISPs for being slow and even when they received the information from Comcast (27 Sep 13), they only had “limited or no contact” with the Does until a motion to sever/dismiss was decided. BUT wait…. If the Troll had limited contact during this time, the issue of the motion wasn’t that big of a deal to them.  Note: 120 days after 27 Sep 13 is 25 Jan 14.  So IAW with FRCP 4(m) the Troll has failed to serve the remaining Does.  Well, the judge did grant them an extension to 4 Feb 14, and told them “The Court will grant no further extensions of this deadline absent a showing of exceptional circumstances.” As there was no exceptional circumstances, Troll David J. Stephenson, Jr.dismissed the case (Doe # 1-3, 5-10, 12, & 15-16) without prejudice (3 Feb 14).

Now the Troll/Plaintiff can still refile the case, but as they already know the names of the ISP subscribers, FRCP 4(m) takes effect immediately. The Troll has already shown that it has no intention of actually doing any type of investigation to determine who the actual infringer is.  I doubt that anything else will happen to these Does.

For the Does who toughed it out – Thank you.  You have made some history in showing the true nature of the Troll/Plaintiffs and every little bit helps. Even with only getting 5 settlements, the profitability of this business model is apparent. If they obtained $5K from the Five, then the take is $25K. Not a great score, but it is still a profit.

DTD 🙂

————————————–

I know I have gone over BKGTH cases previously, but I was asked to look into this case, 1:13-cv-01778, BKGTH Productions LLC (A Texas LLC) v. John Does 1-17, District of Colorado.  The Troll in this matter is David J. Stephenson, Jr., The Rocky Mountain Thunder Law Firm.    Complaint_01778(CO)    Complaint_IPs_01778(CO)

BMN1The complaint is your standard mass-Doe BitTorrent copyright infringement case, alleging direct and contributory copyright infringement of the movie, Bad Kids Go To Hell (IMDb Link), hash file # 8618617DFBDE71C08949E35257343E26DEB2080APrevious post.  The period of infringement for the 17 Does is 15 May – 11 Jun 2013.

The first thing I found to be different was a notice of related cases.   Related_Cases_01778(CO)Elf-man, The Thompsons, Killer Joe Nevada, The Ledge Distribution, and TCYK  **** These all appear to be BT copyright infringement cases filed by Troll Stephenson for other Plaintiffs in Colorado. ***

On 9 Jul 13, The Troll motioned the court for early discovery (Does identities) from the ISPs and provided supporting documentation from Darren M. Griffin, Crystal Bay Corporation (CBC).   Motion_Discovery_01788(CO)   Motion_Discovery_Supp_01788(CO)   This caught my eye, as Mr. Griffin has been on a few other copyright troll cases as a “Computer Investigator.”  Note – Finding anything on Mr. Griffin and CBC is about as hard as finding information on 6881 Forensics LLC. Here is a previous case/post where Mr. Griffin and CBC are part of.

When I looked over the complaint, I note something that seemed a bit odd.  In sections 36. & 37., Plaintiff states they retained IPP Limited to identify the public IP address.

36. The Plaintiff retained IPP, Limited (“IPP”) to identify the IP addresses that are being used by those people that are using the BitTorrent protocol and the internet to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the Plaintiff’s copyrighted Work.  

37. IPP used forensic software named INTERNATIONAL IPTRACKER v1.2.1 and related technology enabling the scanning of peer-to-peer networks for the presence of infringing transactions.

So Mr. Griffin is an employee or a contractor for IPP Limited???  This is the first time I have heard this.  Why hide this fact???  There is no mention of this in the motion for early discovery or the declaration by Mr, Griffin.

On 10 Jul 13, Judge Michael Hegarty granted Plaintiff’s motion for early discovery.   DiscoveryOrder_01778(CO)   The judge did make it clear to Plaintiff that “improper” use of the ISP subscriber information may result in sanctions.  He also ordered Plaintiff to file a monthly report on this case (and others) concerning the status of service.   MinOrder_01778(CO)

It is hereby ORDERED that the Plaintiff shall file a status report within five (5) days of the date of this order, then on the tenth day of each month thereafter, informing the Court of the status of service in this case. For its monthly reports, the Plaintiff need not file a separate report in each case, but may include this case in one monthly report of associated cases; however, the Plaintiff shall separately notify the Court in which case the monthly status report is filed.

The first monthly status report was filed on 22 Jul 13.   StatusRep1_01778(CO)   The status report indicates the following.

The Plaintiff has served all of the ISPs identified in Ex. A to the Complaint and requested a return date of August 28, 2013. So far no ISPs have responded to the subpoenas served on them in this action with identifying information.

So by this time (14 Aug 13), some of the Does have likely be notified of the ISP subpoena and are trying to understand this mess they are involved in.  I have mixed feelings concerning Judge Hegarty, but it appears he wants to see what Plaintiff is going to do once they get the ISP subscriber information.  It does look like he isn’t going to let this case stay open with no defendants being served after a reasonable “settlement” time.  I don’t think it will go past the 120 day mark – after the ISPs provide the subscriber information to Plaintiff.  Plaintiff will then have to carefully weigh the benefit v. risk of serving the remaining non-settling defendants with a summons/complaint.  Based only on the information collected (public IP address/date/time) by Mr. Griffin/IPP Limited, they are taking a risk.  There is growing sentiment that simply collecting the public IP address and threatening to sue is a violation of FRCP 11.  As it there is only 17 does in this case, the possible settlements generated by this case are not going to be exceedingly big.  Just one defendant fighting back will start to eat away at the profit margin.

I know some of you will be asking me, “What do I do???”  As this is a newer Troll/Plaintiff, I will recommend getting a free consult (if possible) from an attorney who has worked these cases.  As these cases are basically copies of the early porn BT copyright infringement cases, I expect the results to be the same – very limited Does served and no cases going to trial.  The evidence (public IP address) and the motive (settlement generation) is the same as before.  I don’t think judge Hegarty is going to keep these cases open if Plaintiff appear to be dragging their feet.

When the settlement demand letters start to arrive (after 28 Aug 13), please email me copy so I can post a redacted copy.

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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15 Responses to Bad Movies Go To Colorado, BKGTH Productions LLC v. Does 1-17, 1:13-cv-01778 (CO)

  1. Raul says:

    Funny, Griffin does not sound like a German surname?

  2. that anonymous coward says:

    Lied on copyright paperwork…. who else does that… oh yeah PRETENDA.
    Several months between first showing and claimed first showing, changes timeline for damages does it not?
    Oh and all of the rips of the VOD stream they ignored for months.
    Oh look its a blatant cash grab by some Texas sized douchebag.
    What is the penalty for lying of Federal Documents?

  3. Anon. E. Mous says:

    Is it me or is every low budget flick seem to be making their movies knowing that if it doesn’t do well in dvd sales that they can re-soup their money through but torrent lawsuits and quick cash settlements.
    Th other thing that I am starting to wonder, if you recall in the car crash suit epidemic, we saw tons of lawyers advertise on T.V and in print about filings suits to get victims in a car accident a settlement. That being said I don’t see too many lawyers who are advertising this way about movie copyright infringement suits.

    So I am wondering if it isn’t these so called Bit torrent monitoring firms that are going around to companies and film makers and saying “hey we can make some money together in the bit torrent lawsuit settlement game, call me”

    Or are we seeing Prenda like created monitoring entities seeding or encouraging these low budget film makers / companies to seed their own material and then have these monitoring firms all of a sudden come about monitoring these files. I think there is the possibility of collusion here.

    I would like to see the details and agreements of how these filmmakers, lawyers, and monitoring companies have and how this all came together, bet it would provide some very interesting insights into this game

    • DieTrollDie says:

      Compared to the large number of movies/production companies, the numbers are probably pretty low. IMO we are at the stage we were at around the end of 2010, in the mass-Doe porn BT cases. Some of the money is starting to roll in and the Troll law firms running this are using it to try and generate revenue by showing others in the industry what they are missing out on. I wouldn’t doubt that if you go to any of the film festivals, you are going to find Troll reps making their pitch to anyone who will listen. Many of the producers/owners can smell trouble (on many levels) and will pass on the offer. As money is so powerful a motivator, they are bound to get some takers. I would love to hear from people in the “business” but they can be a closed group.

      DTD 🙂

      • that anonymous coward says:

        Well that and I am pretty much a giant ass to most of them for even considering trolling.
        They spit out the same debunked stories and that makes me not be nice to them.

    • that anonymous coward says:

      No one has ever done an exhaustive history on them, but speculative invoicing was given birth to in Germany. They used some oddities in German law to make some money, but then figured out they could make more with clients.
      Then one of the larger firms got burned hard in court and sued by a partner lawfirm for hiding the known flaws in their system.
      Then someone reached out to ACS:Law.
      ACS:Law we have all of the history of, I’m pretty sure the torrent of their ENTIRE website (including emails) is still being shared via BT.
      As ACS:Law was going under USCG was formed by a lawfirm in the US. The name was meant to scare people and keep the poop from landing to hard on the lawyers.

      The main constant in all of these has has been the popular “German IP Tracking Firm” providing experts and the tech. IIRC 80% of the settlement amount in ACS:Law shakedowns went to the firm.

      This I think is the disconnect from film makers/rightsholders/etc. They only see a small check and think people are being hit for the cost of a DVD or a bit more. They think the evidence is air tight, that the bad people “stealing” from them are being hurt.

      The generation of trolls AFTER USCG included Evan Stone, who did his own monitoring using an off the shelf BT client and taking screen shots of connected IP addresses and typing them into a spreadsheet. Human error was possible and Oh that whole participating in the swarm, sending parts of the files to others… unclean hands anyone?

      Basically they didn’t want to give a cut to the Germans any longer, so they built their own shadowy companies to do it…. 6881??

      The Germans, not to be outdone, opened a virtual office in NV and were soliciting local counsels to run cases for them directly across the country.

      The lawyers lie to the client, and the only people saying this isn;t true are being ignored because of trendy avatars and a habit of calling them asshats.

      The only people getting rich in this whole process is the lawyers.
      The filmmakers are destroying their names and any good will from the public, all because a lawyer told them how much they are ‘losing’, when the losses are self inflicted for failing to adapt to the demands of the market.

      The best way to stop piracy is to make the content easily and cheaply available.
      Not lawsuits and pipedreams of reclaims millions of lost dollars because someone might have seen part of your movie and you didn’t get your 50 cents.

  4. AnonymousJD says:

    I just filed a Motion to Sever, Quash, and for Protective Order (Pro Se) as I am listed as one of the JD’s in this case. Looking at the USPS tracking it just arrived at the court on 20 Aug 13, so it may not be up on PACER or RFC yet. I know that until the Judge makes his decision to grant/deny my motion, my ISP cannot release my PII; does that hold true for the remaining defendants; will the other ISP’s be notified to hold off on releasing PII of their customers? Yes, I am that one defendant fighting back.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      It may take a couple days for it to be up on PACER. For most courts, the motions are only going to be applied to the Doe who filed it. Your ISP should hold your personal information back until the court makes a decision – as long as you sent them a copy of the filed motion. The other ISPs involved will only deal with motions from their customers, unless the judge puts a hold on all subpoena pending review. Good luck and keep us informed. Thanks!

      DTD 🙂

  5. AnonymousJD says:

    The Plaintiff has been ordered to file a status report by the tenth day of each month. Although it is specified that Plaintiff need not submit a report for each individual case but may include it with associated cases, shouldn’t that status report still show up on the docket listing? I only ask because as of 0235 MDT, there has not been a filing of the status report for August and September.

  6. AnonymousJD says:

    The Plaintiff has filed a third Motion for Extension of Time to Serve Remaining Defendants on 9 Jan 14. The Judge (Hegarty) granted it giving plaintiff until 4 Feb 14 to serve and that it “would grant not further extensions of this deadline absent a showing of exceptional circumstances.” So far Does 4, 11, 13, 14, and 17 have been dismissed. Whats next if plaintiff fails to serve remaining defendants? Should the defendants be expecting a summons or a waiver of service? Or even another extension?

    • DieTrollDie says:

      Docket – https://ia600909.us.archive.org/6/items/gov.uscourts.cod.141767/gov.uscourts.cod.141767.docket.html

      As the minute entry was from 10 Jan 14, it is possible the Troll may have sent out WOS, but I haven’t seen this from Troll Stephenson before.

      It is sad that it take three motions for more time on a case with only 17 Does – opened on 5 Jul 13 (4 Feb 14, will be approx. 7 months). The judge will most likely dismiss the remaining Does and close the case if Plaintiff does not show proof of service. I would not expect another extension. Plaintiff/Troll has likely been telling the Judge that they have been in discussion with the Does and it is taking longer than expected. That is NOT an “exceptional” circumstance. They know the names and location of the Does, but do not want to take the chance of naming/serving them for fear that someone answers the complaint and possibly makes counterclaim. Also, if they have not done any real investigation into who the infringer is, simply naming a Defendant because they are the ISP subscriber could subject them to FRCP 11 sanctions. Best thing is for the Troll to dismiss the case at the last minute and keep working other cases. We will see. Please keep me posted.

      DTD 🙂

  7. AnonymousJD says:

    DTD,

    It looks as if the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed this case without prejudice on 3 FEB 14 and it looks as if the case was officially terminated on 4 FEB 14. Anyone can feel free to view the docket report via RECAP now. What can be expected now?

    AnonymousJD

    • DieTrollDie says:

      Glad to hear this!. Not too surprising an outcome. I will look into it in a while. Working on another article right now. As far as what to expect, those that didn’t settle could be named in a new case. I still feel this is highly unlikely, as the Troll/Plaintiff could have done this already. I expect that no further action will happen. They got as much money as they could and now it is time to move on.

      DTD 🙂

    • DieTrollDie says:

      OK. Here is the archived docket – https://ia800909.us.archive.org/6/items/gov.uscourts.cod.141767/gov.uscourts.cod.141767.docket.html On 9 Jan 14, the Troll asked for additional time to serve the remain 12 Does. They blamed the ISPs for being slow and even when they received the information from Comcast (27 Sep 13), they only had “limited or no contact” with the Does until a motion to sever/dismiss was decided. BUT wait…. If the Troll had limited contact during this time, the issue of the motion wasn’t that big of a deal to them. Note: 120 days after 27 Sep 13 is 25 Jan 14. So IAW with FRCP 4(m) the Troll has failed to serve the remaining Does. Well, the judge did grant them an extension to 4 Feb 14, and told them “The Court will grant no further extensions of this
      deadline absent a showing of exceptional circumstances.” As there was no exceptional circumstances, Troll David J. Stephenson, Jr.dismissed the case (Doe # 1-3, 5-10, 12, & 15-16) without prejudice.

      Now the Troll/Plaintiff can still refile the case, but as they already know the names of the ISP subscribers, FRCP 4(m) takes effect immediately. The Troll has already shown that it has no intention of actually doing any type of investigation to determine who the actual infringer is. I doubt that anything else will happen to these Does.

      For the Does who toughed it out – Thank you. You have made some history in showing the true nature of the Troll/Plaintiffs and every little bit helps. Even with only getting 5 settlements, the profitability of this business model is apparent. If they obtained $5K from the Five, then the take is $25K. Not a great score, but it is still a profit.

      DTD 🙂

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