The Pirate Hunter Is Back! (well sort of…), BT Copyright Troll Carl Crowell (OR)

LSS1In case you missed it, the Willamette Week, ran an article titled,”The Pirate Hunter,” covering the work of Oregon BitTorrent Copyright Troll attorney, Carl Crowell, Crowell Law, Salem, OR. I bet Troll Crowell cringed a little bit when he the saw the story title. It eerily uses the moniker made infamous by failed BT Copyright Troll (and idiot son-in-law) John L. Steele (AKA: Prenda Law).  John Steele is currently facing multiple court sanctions and a disciplinary investigation for his BT Copyright Troll activities (Techdirt Article).

Now, I don’t think Troll Crowell is in the same league (“Welcome to the big leagues”) as the Prenda crew, but he is still part of a copyright monetization apparatus that rationalizes its actions behind the claim of stopping BT piracy.

Troll Crowell is most notable for filing single Doe cases, similar to Copyright Troll Malibu Media LLC/X-Art. I assume Troll Crowell took a hint from Malibu Media and decided to try his hand at this type of case filing. Slide note: Take a look at the following Defendant reply in a Malibu Media LLC case; specifically “Section 2. Plaintiff and its Counsel Place Greed
over Guilt” (Pages 10-11) for the Malibu Media Play book.   Def_Reply_Doc_40_00493(OH)

The single Doe cases require more up front work, but in turn, they likely lead to higher settlement rates overall. Couple this with a reduced chance of a court denying the Discovery request of the ISP subscriber information and he is in the money. Even for the small percentages of people who don’t settle, the Troll extracts a heavy toll from the Defendants – Time, Money, and Stress. It sends a message that it is cheaper to pay a settlement than
fight, even if innocent.  See The BT Copyright Troll Play Book.   Greed over Guilt

First I want to make it clear to everyone who may be affected by Trolls such as Crowell.  Each case/situation is different and needs to be assessed individually. I have no information to suggest that Troll Crowell is as hard-core as Malibu Media in terms of going after people.  Saying that, his tactics are stronger in comparison to the other mass-Doe cases (i.e. Dallas
Buyers Club (DBC) v. Does 1-25, etc.) that Voltage Pictures files in various  jurisdictions. One thing Troll Crowell likes to do is get the court to authorize depositions of the ISP subscribers.
First thing I recommend is to make sure once you get a notification (DMCA take down notice or subpoena letter), you ensure any BT activity on your network stops and doesn’t start back up again. It may not stop a law suit, but it is better than letting the activity continue. NOTE: According to the article, if the activity stops Troll Crowell will not file a complaint –
Total BS in my opinion.

The studios buy that data in bulk from a service that scrapes the lists from popular torrents and narrows it down by location. Crowell then begins the slow process of identifying the most prolific torrenters and compiling a list of all their downloads. When the record is complete, Crowell will subpoena the pirate’s Internet service provider to get the address holder’s name. The provider usually also sends the person a warning letter. If the person doesn’t stop, then Crowell will move in with a copyright complaint.

BS_NO BULLSHIT ALERT!!!  If Troll/Plaintiff has issued a subpoena, then a case has already been filed and they are already out a $400 filing fee.  They are not going to simply walk away from a case at that point. One thing the author didn’t ask was why Crowells’ clients don’t send out DMCA notices to the ISP subscribers. It is such a simple step that could actually get people to stop. I believe it is because the Trolls don’t want these long-term BT users to stop until a case is filed and settlements are about to be locked-in.

One thing that was made abundantly clear is that Troll Crowell targets those Oregon IP addresses that have a long history of BT usage.  This is NOT because he is targeting the “worst” offenders, it just gives him more leverage.  By going after an IP address with a long history of BT usage, he gets the following advantage – Harder to claim it was an  “outsider” using your Open WiFi connection AND the “other” non-Plaintiff files that were being shared (over BT) give some insight into possibly identifying the true offender.  With such information, it is easier to get a person to agree to pay a settlement.  Here is an example of the information the Trolls collect from BT clients.  Example of Non-Plaintiff Files

Even with the focused targeting of a Defendant, the Trolls sometimes find an ISP subscriber doesn’t have any money to pay a settlement.  In a previous post, I spoke about Troll Crowell case (Dallas Buyers Club (DBC)) in which the ISP subscriber agreed to a “stipulated dismissal” of case (she didn’t have to pay anything). This was due to financial hardship and extenuating circumstances. The dismissal allowed Troll/Plaintiff to seem like a “decent” person. Not likely in my opinion. More like they could get anything out of this Defendant and it was better to cut their losses.

One thing I did notice in the news article and the stipulated dismissal, the settlement amount sought was the same – $7,500. In the stipulated dismissal, Troll Crowell claimed the $7,500 was for attorney fees/costs and did NOT include “damages.”  While in the news article the average settlement Troll Crowell obtained was approximately $7,500.  So if that is true, then for the 80 claimed cases he settled (per the article), they were able to generate something in the area of $600,000. Even with having to split it between Troll attorney, Plaintiff, and the Anti-Piracy Management Company (APMC), the “take” is still good.

The settlement amounts Troll Crowell and other seek are excessive to say the least; especially for some of the crap that comes out of Voltage Pictures. Please don’t think I believe copyright infringement is OK. I just don’t agree with the actions of the Trolls in trying to extort settlements from people. There is NO true effort to stop BT copyright infringement from ANY of the Troll/Plaintiffs or their attorneys. They simply go after people who have enough money to pay a settlement and not enough to fight. (my opinions)

So if you’re an Oregonian faced with a law suit from Troll Crowell, here are my suggestions.

  1. Make sure any/all BT activity on your networks stops and doesn’t start back up.
  2. Resecure your WiFi/Router with a new password.
  3. Contact an attorney with experience dealing with Troll Crowell for a consult. I would not contact Troll Crowell on your own.
  4. Hire an attorney if you are served with a complaint/summons or a deposition subpoena.

31 Jul 14 Troll Crowell Article

DieTrollDie 🙂   “Guns tell the truth. Guns never say, “I’m only kidding.” War is ugly because the truth can be ugly and war is very sincere.”  {The Short-Timers, Gustav Hasford}

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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7 Responses to The Pirate Hunter Is Back! (well sort of…), BT Copyright Troll Carl Crowell (OR)

  1. that anonymous coward says:

    Evan Stone also had the Pirate Hunter moniker, sometimes with P2P or Porn added onto the title.

  2. one of the does says:

    Hello please help me im internationa student and i recivied a letter from comcast about the cobler movie i didint know it was illegal in united states what i do, do i file a quash with an attorny or just releve my name and idenity to the troll please contact me.

  3. one of the does says:

    im waiting for ur answer please

    • Iam anonymous says:

      A suggestion, i’m no lawyer but i went through this process. I think it’s irrelevant if you’re guilty or not (i was), if you file a motion to quash you really should be ready for a fight- they seem to enjoy making examples of anyone who puts up any resistance at all. Then again, it really depends on your specific situation, you really should at least talk to a lawyer, and one who is specifically experience with dealing with the (c) trolls in your specific area.

  4. one of the does says:

    its agints me and 10 other people

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