Copyright Troll Dallas Buyers Club Wants To Ask ISP Subscribers, “What Is your Income?”

atomic_LV_NVWell I’m back to work after a nice break in Las Vegas.  One place I will recommend to visit is “Atomic.”

This post deals with Copyright Troll Dallas Buyers Club (DBC) actions in Australia AND Oregon.

DBC in Australia – Saga Continues

In April, DBC was granted preliminary discovery rights against 4,726 Australian IP addresses that allegedly downloaded/shared DBC via BT.   AU Article 1

The judge who granted this did stipulate that DBC will first have to get approval from the court for any correspondence it plans to use against the ISP subscribers.  Recent reporting shows that DBC plans on sending some form of a settlement demand letter and also calling the ISP subscribers.   AU Article 2   Copies of the draft settlement letter and telephone questions have not been fully released yet.  If anyone obtains copies, please send to dietrolldie@dietrolldie.com.  😉  Late addition – AU Article 3

An attorney for iiNet (AU ISP), felt the language of the letter and questions focused too heavy on “damages.”  He also said DBC worded the letter as if the allegations were indisputable facts.  Same old tactics – Scare people into paying via the threat of financial ruin from an expensive trial and false claims of facts and perfect evidence.

What myself and others found most interesting was a one of the proposed telephone questions.

“What is your annual income?”

Really???  What relevance does the ISP subscriber’s annual income have to “if” they were the responsible party???  Nothing unless you are trying to determine how much money you can squeeze out of people.  DBC then couples this question with another one concerning a person’s historic BT activity.

“How many titles do you have now and in the past on the BitTorrent network?”

Now I believe DBC already has a record of the BT activity of the 4726 public IP addresses – All the “Other” (non-DBC) files (music, software, movies, etc.).  Such a question is likely to be used to get an ISP subscriber to admit to the activity.  Even if a denial is made, the DBC agent will likely then start reading off all the other files they recorded.  As some of these non-DBC titles/files are bound to pornographic, they may get the added benefit of embarrassing the ISP subscriber into paying.

So for now, the court is reviewing the document and proposed questions and will likely return to court in July.  Stay tuned.

If you are one of the 4726 AU ISP subscribers, I would suggest the following –

  1. Stop any BT activity on your network
  2. Don’t respond to any letters from DBC
  3. Do not answer any questions from DBC agents concerning these allegations – anything you say WILL be used against you.  Note: See my comments below concerning depositions.

Here is the simple truth.  DBC does not have the intention or capability (enough lawyers) to take everyone to trial.  Taking people to trial takes lots of work and it isn’t cheap.  Remember this business model is only profitable by keeping their operational cost as low as possible.  DBC knows it can still make a huge profit if they only get 25% of the 4726 ISP subscribers to pay.  If 1181 ISP subscribers (25%) pay a $3,000 settlement, the net take is $3,543,000.

DBC could take a handful of the worst offenders to trial, but I still think such a “show” move is unlikely.

Oregon Single Defendant Case

Prior to my Vegas trip I saw DBC had dismissed one of it Oregon cases against a single Defendant.  The case was filed by local Copyright Troll/ DBC Stooge, Carl D. Crowell, on 8 Feb 15, 6:15-cv-00219, against IP address 73.25.44.231.   Docket   TorrentFreak wrote an article on the case dismissal.   Amended_Complaint_00219   DiscRequ_00219(OR)

The thing that is generally different with Troll Crowell is he will file single Doe cases AND he has been getting the courts to grant him deposition authority (FRCP 45 SUBPOENA  Depo_Requ45_00219(OR)) for a non-party (The ISP subscriber) in the case.  The justification for the subpoena/deposition request is as follows.

In this case ISP Comcast has identified a singular subscriber that was assigned the IP address used by the Doe. However, the identified subscriber refuses to respond to communications or participate in any investigation or inquiry. Independent attempts to research the name provided by Comcast or any other parties associated with the subscriber’s address provide inconclusive results. As with the content associated with the relevant IP address, research on parties with the same name of the subscriber might be filed. But as more than one person might share a name, plaintiff maintains such should only be submitted on request. Reasonably available records simply do not provide any evidence to assist in identifying the actual infringer. As such plaintiff is left with the options of proceeding against the subscriber as named by Comcast and possibly substituting another party on discovery, or seeking further discovery to ascertain the identity of the true Doe defendant prior to naming a party.

For most of the single Doe cases, I believe Plaintiff/Troll reviews the BT activity log for long-term IP address activity, as well as some financial determination of estimated wealth/income based on the area the IP address comes back to.  Certainly not an exact science, but it likely helps determine who is likely to pay some sort of settlement.

In this case, their efforts failed and the Troll tried to save face by dismissing the case (stipulated dismissal) due to “financial hardship” and “extenuating circumstances” of the defendant. It looks like the Troll was trying to appear like they have a kind heart. What a load of crap!  That is “code” for – “Defendant didn’t have any money I could squeeze out of them (AKA: Trying to get blood out of turnip).   Stip_Judgement_00219(OR)

A Money Judgment in favor of plaintiff Dallas Buyers Club, LLC and against defendant Krystal Krause is awarded the sum of $7,500. This figure waives damages but includes costs and fees incurred by plaintiff.

The stipulated dismissal essentially states as long as Mrs. Krause removes the BT software and no copyright infringement occurs over her IP address, the monetary award is waived.  It is interesting to note that Troll/Plaintiff claims this case ran them $7,500 in costs and fees!  Take a look at the docket – this wasn’t a busy case.  Complaint, Early discovery motion, deposition motion, summons, deposition (no more than two hours), Amended complaint….  It seems to me that this judge may be rubber stamping anything the clerk sets in front of him.  I also seriously doubt there will be any verification that the BT software is removed.

It appears that after receiving the summons, Mrs. Krause was deposed by Troll Crowell.  Based on what the Amended Complaint states, it appears Mrs. Krause’s laptop was used to download/share copyright protected content (to include DBC).  As the amended complaint does not directly state she did it, I have to imagine it was a friend and she knew the activity was happening.

13. The defendant’s personal laptop computer was used to download plaintiff’s motion picture and other unlicensed and pirated content.

14. The defendant regularly allowed her Internet service and personal laptop computer to be used for committing piracy, including the downloading and publication of plaintiff’s motion picture and other content, with full knowledge of the infringing activity.

15. The defendant personally enjoyed the benefits of regularly allowing her Internet service and personal laptop computer to be used for committing piracy by watching the films and enjoying the content obtained.

If the defendant actually had some money, I believe the situation would have been vastly different. This case highlights the fact that anyone who receives a deposition subpoena in these cases, should consult with an attorney prior to taking part in it.

The Trolls already believe the ISP subscriber or family members are responsible.  These depositions are nothing more than non-custodial interrogations done with a smile and a hand-shake.  All of the questions are designed elicit information that confirms that Plaintiff’s movie(s) were downloaded/shared via BT, determine the responsible party, determine which angle to use to effect a settlement, and to refute any possible claims that an unknown third-party was responsible for the infringement (OPEN WiFi etc.).

I would love to find out additional details on case specifics, but essentially this was a waste of time and money for the Trolls.  The best they could hope for is some good propaganda claiming they care about people and are not simply driven by greed.

DieTrollDie 🙂

“Yep, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it.” {Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off}

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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2 Responses to Copyright Troll Dallas Buyers Club Wants To Ask ISP Subscribers, “What Is your Income?”

  1. James T Kirk says:

    I am going to tell them I have downloaded 1,000,005 films that are subject to copyright infringement laws most if not all pornography if I get one of these. I will also tell them I am not interested in any threats they may hand out and to go and scare some little old lady.

  2. Pingback: The Pirate Hunter Is Back! (well sort of…), BT Copyright Troll Carl Crowell (OR) | DieTrollDie

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