Settlement Demand Letters Sent Out On CLOSED Dallas Buyers Club Case – 1:14-cv-02168 (ILND)

Well at least we can count on the greed of the Trolls to direct their actions.  As I previously wrote, an ILND Dallas Buyers Club LLC case against 46 Does, #1:14-cv-02168, was closed by the court on 2 Apr 14.  The unusual aspect of the dismissal was that Judge Castillo explicitly allowed the Troll to still obtain the ISP subscriber information.  See my previous article – Judge Castillo’s Pure Bill Of Discovery 

love_punchCopyright Troll Michael Hierl has started to send out settlement demand letters for this CLOSED case.  Now he of course fails to tell the ISP subscriber that the case is closed – implies that they are part of an active case.  DBC_SettlementLTR

I have to say that at least with this settlement demand letter, he didn’t screw up with the amount they are seeking.  Here is another Dallas Buyers Club case (Archive Docket 1:14-cv-02163) settlement demand letter in the same district – The Troll cannot determine if they want $3,500 or $3,800 from the ISP subscriber.  I do find it interesting that for DBC cases in the ILND, that the amount is different.  This indicates to me that the Troll/Plaintiff is doing some sort of analysis to find an amount that an ISP subscriber is willing to pay.  I assume this is simply based on the area in which the ISP subscriber resides.   DBC Settlement Letter_02163(IL)

money_02163(IL)

As this case was dismissed without prejudice, Troll/Plaintiff could refile cases against single defendants.  As they have done nothing in the realm of an actual investigation, this action is reckless in my opinion.  Not to mention that it will cost the Troll $400 to file a case.  In the Minute Order, it clearly states what a refile of the complaint must encompass.

In the meantime, the current Doe complaint will be dismissed without prejudice to the filing of an appropriate amended complaint which names individual defendants that can be properly joined together in one lawsuit.  {my emphasis}

As the Troll doesn’t have the records to properly join the defendants, the cases will have to be single Defendants.  Also, the judge stated they need to be named and not just an IP address.  Now the Troll/Plaintiff could actually do this, but they then run the risk of someone fighting back and exposing more of the German BitTorrent apparatus (IPP/Guardaley/Excipio).

Now since there is no longer an open case, there is no longer a time constraint on the Troll.  With the exception of the 3-year Statute of Limitation on Copyright Infringement, he can string this out for a while.  The biggest thing he has to worry about is over time, any evidence on a Defendant’s computer could be damaged or destroyed in the normal operation of it.  But as it will never get that far, that fact is purely academic in nature.

So What To Do?

If this applies to your situation, I suggest the following *** For those of you who are not clear on this point (Mr. Ross), this means don’t lie or make a false statement. ***  Also, I’m NOT “engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.”  Don’t be stupid.  For all of these Non-Malibu Media Copyright Troll cases, I’m of the opinion that responding to the settlement demand letter with a simple denial is best.  Nothing fancy or elaborate, just a letter that states the following:

  • I didn’t download/share the movie in question.
  • I didn’t authorize anyone to use my network to download/share the movie in question.
  • I don’t know who could have downloaded/shared the movie in question.
  • I will not pay a settlement to make the threat of a law suit go away.

This informs the Troll that you are not afraid to respond to him and probably not the best target for a default judgement (failing to answer a summons/complaint).  Then sign & date the letter and make a copy for your records.  Mail it to the Troll via certified mail, return receipt requested.  That way you will have proof his office received it.

Based on all the trouble the Trolls are having with their association to the German BitTorrent monitoring firms, I really doubt there will be very many Does who are named and served with a complaint.  This of course will be on a case-by-case basis, as the Troll will assess the likelihood that serving a Defendant will bring them to the settlement table.  Note: If this does happen to a Defendant, I do have a couple of answer templates that you can use.   Defendant Answers

DieTrollDie 🙂  “The Defendants have liable Plaintiff under the disguise of such childish and unsophisticated pseudonyms as ‘die troll die.’”  – a statement like that could cost you $11K!

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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16 Responses to Settlement Demand Letters Sent Out On CLOSED Dallas Buyers Club Case – 1:14-cv-02168 (ILND)

  1. Maurice Ross says:

    At this point, it seems you are engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. The advice you are giving is dead wrong. I defend many of these cases, and your assertion that recipients of demand letters should send a simple denial letter in situations like this is counterproductive and leaves many of these people exposed to potential liability in substantial amounts rather than a settlement that is in their best interests. What you forget is that statistics show that about 75 percent of the time, the copyright owner identifies someone who did, in fact, illegally download copyrighted materials. It is one thing to send a denial letter if it is true. It is quite another to counsel clients to send denial letters when they know that the denial is false. This is, in practical effect, a form of fraud both on the defendant and the legal system. It also imposes great risks on the defendants who will eventually shown to be infringers. If 70% of these people are guilty as charged, then how can you in good faith counsel them to file a fraudulent denial letter? You are not serving their best interests because if the plaintiffs go after them and it is determined that the denial letter was false, it increases the likelihood that they could face a large damage award. The best and only approach is for recipients of demand letters to hire legal counsel. In my experience, as soon as the troll knows that the alleged infringer has retained counsel, the case either easily settles or goes away. That is in the best interest of all concerned. You are counseling people to take an unnecessary and dangerous risk.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      🙂 Mr. Ross, i’m in no way practicing law. If you care to read that part of my post, you will clearly see i said if the situation fits, you can do this. I in no way tell people to lie or make a false statement. Funny how you failed to comment about this story when i first posted about it.

      DTD 🙂

      PS – enjoy the comments that you are bound to get for claiming this.

    • Dohadeer says:

      “The best and only approach is for recipients of demand letters to hire legal counsel”….this is simply not true, at all. Those of us who have weathered the storm through these blackmail schemes will tell you that NO, you don’t have to hire legal counsel and in all likelihood absolutely NOTHING will happen. I think it’s perfectly fine to not hire anyone until you’ve been named frankly. A letter (assuming you’re innocent of course–I don’t think DTD recommended anyone guilty send a statement claiming to be innocent–frankly if I were guilty I wouldn’t respond at all until I was named) is perfectly valid and should serve as great evidence that you already tried to tell them you didn’t do it but they weren’t willing to listen. “A settlement that is in their best interests”—seriously dude, who do YOU work for?

      • Andrew Tandrew says:

        An RPR sent by counsel carries more weight in a troll’s decision of who to pursue than an RPR that isn’t. Actions speak louder than words, putting up a few thousand dollars says a lot more than putting up six bucks and change for a registered letter.

        Whether that’s enough weight to make the extortionists leave you alone is anybody’s guess.

        That said, Mr. Ross is an attorney, coincidentally the least esteemed profession in America by last year’s Pew poll. So his invariable advice to go pay an attorney should be taken in its proper context.

      • DieTrollDie says:

        Yes, I agree that anything from an attorney generally carries more weight. Still if you cannot afford one, at least making a response to the likes of Dallas Buyers Club, is better than nothing in my non-professional/non-lawyer opinion. Take it for what it is worth. 😉 I know it depends on the Plaintiff and the Troll, but I have seen a few instances of Does making Pro Se responses & answers to their benefit.

        DTD 🙂

      • DieTrollDie says:

        Here are two Defendant Answers filed in a TX Dallas Buyers Club case, 4:14-cv-00248. http://wp.me/a1OhOw-1Ve AND http://wp.me/a1OhOw-1Vd.

        DTD 🙂

    • Guest says:

      “I defend many of these cases”

      If by defend you mean demand that these cases against individuals go forward, then yes, I’d agree with you. As for defending the people on the receiving end? Don’t make us laugh. You’ve been railing against grandmothers and the victims of Prenda since Day One, only reluctantly speaking against the likes of Prenda after they got caught.

      “What you forget is that statistics show that about 75 percent of the time”

      Statistics that have never been proven, and considering your people love to bullshit their way to the court by citing works not covered under their copyright like “Exhibit C”, it sounds like your numbers are more of a result of flinging monkey shit at the wall and flapping your arms wildly when something sticks.

      “It is one thing to send a denial letter if it is true”

      Which is a joke coming from you because you don’t believe this 25 to 30% of people exist anyway!

      C’mon, Morry – how many grandparents have you sued for your gay music?

      “seriously dude, who do YOU work for?”

      Maurice Ross is an attorney who now works for a gay music label, claiming that they’re being devastated by piracy while never citing who they are. He has defended the practices of Prenda Law, ACS:Law, Evan Stone and the like in the past and continues to do so with much fervor and indignation.

    • WDS says:

      So from your comment, and assuming 75 percent quoted is correct, you are okay with harassing 25% innocent people to make a buck.

      • Maurice Ross says:

        You are missing the point. Whenever one conducts an investigation concerning infringement, there will be “false positives”. There is no perfect method for identifying infringers, But our legal system allows claims to be made when there is a reasonable probability of liability (i.e., that it is more likely than not that the accused engaged in infringing conduct). There is extensive data showing that about 75% of the owners of IP addresses found to have been used to download copyrighted materials were responsible for the downloads—this really cannot be seriously contested. That is more than sufficient to provide a reasonable basis to bring suit against the owners of all such IP addresses. You forget that plaintiff copyright owners have a right to enforce their claims in court against infringers. Congress gave this right to copyright owners because it believes in a strong system of copyright enforcement. In a Democracy, people who have been damaged need not wait until they have 100% clear proof concerning the identity of the wrongdoer. The standard is similar to the concept of probable cause used by law enforcement. Since there is a 75% probability, that is more than sufficient to justify the filing of a complaint. Indeed, for purposes of probable cause/reasonable plausibility analysis, more than 50% would be sufficient. Of course, the 25% still have the right to defend themselves—they can retain counsel and fight the case. There mere fact that someone is sued does not mean he guilty—-nor is this an illegal or improper shakedown. The commencement of suit is just the beginning of the legal process. Of course, the cost of hiring a defense lawyer sometimes may seem unreasonable (and for many it is impossible), but the alternative would be to close the court house doors to the 75% of claims that are legitimate—that result is not how it works in a democratic system.

        You also fail to appreciate that it is long established that plaintiffs who have suffered injury to person or property are entitled to use the subpoena power of courts to investigate the persons or companies responsible for their injuries—at the core of any Democracy is the right to use the court system to remedy wrongdoing—and this includes using the subpoena power to investigate wrongdoing. In our democracy, private citizens are permitted–indeed encouraged, to use the court system to enforce the law against wrongdoers. Further, attorneys who perform this work deserve to get paid for their efforts. But, there is much more to this than “making a buck”. Congress has determined that copyright owners are entitled to enforce their rights in court against infringers—-when attorneys bring these cases they are enforcing the will of Congress. I suggest that your real complaint is with the copyright laws as enacted by Congress, not the lawyers who enforce them

        And note, I defend these cases. I am not a “troll” lower, nor am I a “troll” apologist. My legal career has been almost entirely on the defense side (not only in the world of copyright, but other IP and criminal law matters) I have successfully defended or settled many of these cases over the years—the “trolls” know that I will not hesitate to challenge them when I represent an innocent client. But when I represent a client who acknowledges guilt (which is the vast preponderance of the clients who retain me), I am usually able to negotiate a reasonable and fair settlement involving payment of far less than the original demand by the “troll” lawyers. Such settlements are in the best interests of clients and they also serve the interests of justice, since the defendants pay a price for their wrongdoing. Nonetheless, I strongly believe that those who are wrongfully accused of infringement deserve a vigorous defense in these cases, and I often have undertook such defenses on behalf of innocent parties on a pro bono basis or for radically reduced levels of compensation

        Moreover, I have encouraged my clients in the music and entertainment industries to refrain from acting like trolls—my clients (including the record label with which I am proudly associated) do not sue individual defendants even when we know they have illegally downloaded our works. We have chosen as a strategy to target the internet web-sites and bit torrent web-site owners who induce individuals to engage in wrongful conduct. While my personal inclination is to have sympathy for individual defendants, I cannot condemn all lawyers who bring these cases against individuals—nor do I believe it is unreasonable to bring such cases knowing that 25% of the time the accused defendant is innocent.. The alternative—requiring 100% proof before obtaining to access to the legal system, would shut the court house steps to many who have legitimate claims—and that would be an injustice—in a Democracy, courts provide a remedy for those who have been injured by the wrongdoing of others, and that remedy includes the right to use the courts and subpoena power to investigate the wrongdoers. Does this sometimes cause hardship to innocent people—of course. But the legal system in a democracy is imperfect—what matters is that in the vast majority of cases, the system works in a fair and equitable manner, providing remedies to the victims of wrongdoing while at the same time, allowing wrongfully accused persons to defend themselves in court.

      • DieTrollDie says:

        Mr. Ross,

        You speak in generalities in terms of the copyright owner protecting their content and it being their right to do so. In keeping with the general comment I have to agree. My agreement does not go so far as to agree that any single BT user (non-commercial infringement & not the initial uploader) should be subject to judgments of $30K – $150K just because the law was written that way by a pack of idiots (my opinion). Yes I know “change the law then.” Well, in my own small way I’m helping to do that.

        But as we are talking about the specific class of copyright infringement law suits – BitTorrent Copyright Trolls, your generality does not apply well. If you cannot see that this is a business model designed wholly to exploit the copyright law under weak-ass justification, you are blind. There is no real effort to stop the BT copyright infringement by 99% of the copyright owners who file these suits. These Trolls do not file DMCA take-down notices against the IP address they sue. What to get people to stop AND have better evidence if they don’t, this is one-way. What about “watermarking” the download with a code that ties back to the subscriber??? Tie it back to a name, address, credit card, etc. What a novel idea. No it isn’t perfect, but it is so much better that what they are doing now (actually what they are NOT doing). Now why don’t they do this??? Because the Plaintiff is not in charge of these cases. The company behind Troll Lipscomb/Malibu Media/X-Art & Voltage Pictures controls the action and the Plaintiff has simply signed over control of suing people for money. BTW, how come if this is so above-board, these interested parties have not disclosed the interests/financial relationship??? It does say a lot of what is really going on here. You don’t have to be a mentalist to figure that out. 🙂

        But the legal system in a democracy is imperfect—what matters is that in the vast majority of cases, the system works in a fair and equitable manner, providing remedies to the victims of wrongdoing while at the same time, allowing wrongfully accused persons to defend themselves in court.

        For the vast majority of the BT Copyright Troll cases, the system does not work. Even if we are talking only about the 25% (wrongly accused), how many times has the Troll/Plaintiff freely agreed to pay for costs/fees??? No, they try to cut and run and save the profits – “To Hell” with what the innocent person has had to pay or what stress it caused to a family. They don’t care and simply hide behind the cloak of “well that is how the system works.”

        Simply sad!

        DTD 🙂

      • WDS says:

        Maurice,

        If they were merely filing suit, and then paying attention to any evidence of innocence when it was presented, then I might agree with you. But they are harassing before they name an individual, Ignoring any real evidence given, Trying their best to run up costs for the defense while minimizing their own, refusing to allow the evidence that they have to be investigated and confirm, etc.

        They is no way they occupy even a little bit of the moral high ground here.

      • Anon says:

        Let me say first, I’m a frequent Tech Dirt reader jumping in here. Anyway, I would really like to know where this statistic comes from as well. I’m a user of TOR and operate an exit node, so security issues are something I keep up on. I’m NOT claiming to be any type of IT professional. What I think Mr. Ross is referencing (he can feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) is Nitke vs. Ashcroft, http://www.sethf.com/nitke/ashcroft.php where it was argued that “An accuracy of “70% in region level and 65% in city level” might be fine for improving the targeting of advertisements or generating a report on customer demographics. These services can thus be useful for businesses, where the worst case is that marketing money is misspent. However, for the extraordinarily demanding context of criminal liability, such an accuracy rate cannot be acceptable. ”

        This line of reasoning is echoed in the ABA’s recent white paper related to copyright lawsuits. The ABA now “advise against suing file-sharers as that would be ineffective or even counterproductive.” as detailed in this Torrent Freak article – http://torrentfreak.com/suing-file-sharers-doesnt-work-lawyers-warn-140713/ that summarizes the ABA’s new white paper – http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/intellectual_property_law/advocacy/ABASectionWhitePaperACallForActionCompositetosize.authcheckdam.pdf
        So I would like to know, first, if Mr. Ross is indeed referencing Nitke vs. Ashcroft, and if not, what is he referencing? Second, his comments seem opposed to the ABA’s new white paper, how can they be reconciled with it?

      • Maurice Ross says:

        That is one of many sources but not the main one . The Getty Image folks have analyzed their cases. Several law firms have independently developed this data with their technical experts in support of their business model. Most importantly, the RIAA developed this data when record companies were going after individuals. The RIAA data is unassailable. As you know, RIAA made a wide policy decision to pursue a different approach but not everyone has to agree to forego valid claims. It is clear that about 75 percent of the owners of IP addresses are the parties responsible for illegal infringement

      • DieTrollDie says:

        Also look at this – https://dietrolldie.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/mo_00126ny.pdf

        The Court is concerned about the possibility that many of the names and addresses produced in response to Plaintiffs discovery request will not in fact be those of the individuals who downloaded “My Little Panties #2.” The risk is not purely speculative; Plaintiff’s counsel estimated that 30% of the names turned over by ISPs are not those of individuals who actually downloaded or shared copyrighted material. Counsel stated that the true offender is often the “teenaged son … or the boyfriend if it’s a lady.” (1117112 Tr. at 16). Alternatively, the perpetrator might turn out to be a neighbor in an apartment building that uses shared IP addresses or a dormitory that uses shared wireless networks. See, e.g., Mot. to Quash Verizon Subpoena, 11-CV -7564 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 6, 2012) (Docket #11) (claiming that a Doe defendant did not know how to use a computer and implying that the perpetrator was a neighbor in his condominium). This risk of false positives gives rise to “the potential for coercing unjust settlements from innocent defendants” such as individuals who want to avoid the embarrassment of having their names publicly associated with allegations of illegally downloading “My Little Panties #2.” SBa Pictures, Inc. v. Does 1-3036, 2011 WL 6002620, at *4 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 30,2011).

        Have to love the 30% comment – Plaintiff’s counsel estimated that 30% of the names turned over by ISPs are not those of individuals who actually downloaded or shared copyrighted material.

        DTD 🙂

  2. Jane Doe says:

    Maurice the vast majority of complaints don’t even go to discovery stage. So how did you fabricate a static that 77% are guilty? The most prolific copyright infringement filer, X-Art/Malibu Media has only had one bench trial with no cross examination or input from defendant’s attorney.

    I wouldn’t waste money on an attorney unless they file a compliant. If they don’t send certified mail that I sign for, then I far as I’m concerned it was never received. See you in court suckers because I know the German investigators will go into hiding and they therefore have no evidence.

  3. Rumplestein says:

    One should probably contact an attorney as the subpoena was invaild. The judge had no legal basis to allow the ex-Plaintiff to issue a subpoena, as he had rejected the complaint and dismissed the case. One also might consider suing the ISP for releasing the subscriber information without verifying that there is a valid case on file with the court.

    This is not legal advise, just an opinion and suggestion.

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