RightsCorp Shuffle (one step forward – two steps back) – Information On 30,000 ISP Subscribers Sought (1:14-MC-00848(TX))

First I want to thank all the people who push me ideas for my articles.  I can’t promise I will write anything, but I at least try to provide some feedback.  This article concerns some recent RightsCorp activity.  Previous RightsCorp Article

So what do you get when you combine Arrogance, Greed, and Stupidity?  Well, when you mix this trio in the Federal courts, the result could be bad for the people/organization with these faults.

RightsCorp Voicemail

RightsCorp has been calling ISP subscribers to obtain settlements for alleged copyright infringement of content owned by customers who subscribe to their services.  They are able to obtain the telephone number of the ISP subscriber in two ways:  1) From the ISP subscriber when they enter their personal information into their Web site;  2) From ISPs in response to a subpoena issued by a Federal court.

Once RightsCorp obtains a telephone number of an ISP subscriber, the information is passed to one of their collection personnel.  The collection personnel then start to call the ISP subscriber to try get then to pay a settlement.  The ISP subscriber telephone number is also added to an auto-call system (Robo-Call) and set to call the ISP subscriber until a settlement is reached.  Here is one voicemail left by a RightsCorp collection agent.

Take a listen and tell me what you think.  I have had one person comment that the call might not be seen in the best light by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) or Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

RightsCorp Shuffle (one step forward – two steps back)

RightsCorp_Stupid1In my previous RightsCorp article I mentioned that RightsCorp has been using the Federal Courts (limited jurisdictions) to obtain subpoenas for ISP subscriber information.  These are not “Copyright Infringement” law suits, but simply a “Misc” cases that are opened and closed on the same day to issue a subpoena.  I noted these cases were limited and appeared to be against individuals with large numbers of alleged infringements.

On 6 Aug 14, RightsCorp attorney, Dennis J. Hawk, opened a Misc. case in the Central District of California, case #2:14-mc-00627 (CDCA).  Case documents are at the bottom of the article.  The purpose was to ask the court to grant RightsCorp a subpoena for ISP subscriber information for an undisclosed number of people they claimed were infringing.  The subpoena was granted and RightsCorp proceeded to send out the subpoenas to the affected ISPs.  One of the ISPs was Grande Communication Networks LLC, Texas.  As Grande uses Neustar Inc., to handle subpoena requests, they started to look into this request.  I think Grande/Neustar was a bit surprised to find the list of IP addresses RightsCorp was seeking ISP subscriber information was approx. 500 pages and comprised over 30,000 IP addresses.

Neustar calculated that to accomplish this request, it would take approx. two months (by dedicated personnel) to accomplish and would cost RightsCorp $32,026.  Neustar repeatedly tried to contact RightsCorp concerning the cost; time requirement; and the lack of a valid court order.  RightsCorp/Mr. Hawk eventually responded to Neustar in what can only be described as a totally rash/stupid move (my opinion) and stated,

Our client does not pay to obtain the address details on infringers.

Now Mr. Hawk has obviously failed to see how you should deal with the ISP legal departments.  He should have taken a lesson from Troll Lipscomb/Malibu Media LLC and observed how to kiss a little ISP butt to get what you want – as well as pay for a service.

On 5 Sep 14, Grande filed a motion to quash the subpoena in the Texas court, case # 1:14-MC-00848 (TX).   Grande informed the court that RightsCorp is simply trying to avoid judicial review on a litany of issues (joinder, personal jurisdiction, & venue) this case raises.  Grande even cited AF Holdings v. Doe 1-1058 (Prenda Law), appellate case in which the court said that When the purpose of a discovery request is to gather information for use in proceedings other than the pending suit, discovery properly is denied.

The following day (8 Sep 14), RightsCorp emailed the attorney representing Grande and withdrew their request for ISP subscriber information.

On 10 Sep 14, Grande filed an Advisory to the Texas court concerning RightsCorp’s questionable activities.

As detailed in Grande’s Motion, the Subpoena presented an extraordinarily undue burden (over 30,000 subscriber lookups) and was issued to a cable operator without an order as required by the Cable Communications Act. (Mot., at 7-8.) Even more egregiously, it appears that the Subpoena is only one of approximately one hundred (100) or more similar subpoenas issued by Rightscorp to regional Internet service providers located across the country2 (presumably chosen because they are less likely to contest the subpoenas than national Internet service providers with larger in-house legal departments) upon the signature of the Clerk of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, seeking the personally identifiable information of thousands of individuals beyond the jurisdiction of the California courts, despite the fact that such subpoenas may not be sent and issued under 17 U.S.C. § 512(h) to an Internet service provider acting as a conduit under law that has been established for a decade. (See id., at 5-7, citing cases including In re Charter Commc’ns, Inc., 393 F.3d 771, 776-77 (8th Cir. 2005).)

Under the circumstances, this Court or the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California may consider ordering Rightscorp and its counsel to show cause why they should not be sanctioned for misusing the federal court’s subpoena powers. Such an order would be appropriate in connection with Grande’s request for costs and attorney’s fees in the Motion (Id., at 9; see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(f) (challenge to subpoena may also be addressed by the court of issuance)).3 Beyond any doubt, Rightscorp and its counsel failed and refused to “take reasonable steps to avoid imposing undue burden or expense” on Grande. Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(d)(1).

On 11 Sep 14, The Texas court closed this case because RightsCorp had withdrawn the subpoena.

I don’t know if the CA Central District court will get involved, but one can only hope. RightsCorp must be seriously hurting to pull such a bone-head move that puts it in for consideration for the Next Prenda Law “Equine Excrement Award.” I will admit they are at least smart enough to back down and not take this into a court.  Note: I wonder if the CACD local rule limiting the maximum of “John Does” in a case to 10, applies here???  If so, Rightscorp may have another violation to worry about.

I don’t know how many other regional ISP simply gave into RightsCorp, but I would expect a few at least.  I’m still of the opinion that you shouldn’t pay RightsCorp.  Don’t waste your time or money; Ignore the calls.  I will advise you to make sure any infringing BitTorrent activity on your network stops, as it could possibly lead to a real copyright infringement case.  Also, if you do get a recording of RightsCorp calling/voicemails, please email me a copy.  *** Late Addition – If you want some additional information on the RightsCorp Misc cases/Affected ISPs, please see Attorney Morgan Pietz’s Web site.  ***   

Case Documents – MTQ_GrandeComm_00848(TX)   MTQ_GrandeComm_Exhibits_00848(TX)   Order_Referring_00848(TX)   Advisory_00848(TX)  Advisory_Exhibits_00848(TX)   Order_CaseClosed_00848(TX)

DieTrollDie 🙂   The Dude abides.  I don’t know about you but I take comfort in that.  It’s good knowin’ he’s out there.  The Dude. Takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners.  Shoosh.  I sure hope he makes the finals.”   {The Stranger, The Big Lebowski}

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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5 Responses to RightsCorp Shuffle (one step forward – two steps back) – Information On 30,000 ISP Subscribers Sought (1:14-MC-00848(TX))

  1. that anonymous coward says:

    So they use a Misc case to get information that by their own admission a copyright matter.
    One would think that the courts would be very interested in this, as well as the bar for the lawyers pushing this paper for improper purposes.
    I mean if they wanted to actually pretend that the law is applied both ways, and the rules aren’t just for little people.

  2. Pingback: RightsCorp Phone Calls and Subpoenas

  3. Anonymous says:

    Rightscorp does seem to be hurting somewhat financially according to their reports. http://ir.rightscorp.com/financials

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