TaylorMadeClips – Digital Markings On Their Downloads???
Recently I started to get some emails from people who received settlement demand letters from Copyright Troll Mark Borghese, for movie clips from TaylorMadeClips (TMC). Here are my previous posts concerning TaylorMadeClips. TMC1 TMC2 The settlement demand letters are essentially the same as before, so I will not fully upload them.
Now at first I figured this was just another round of settlement demand letters sent to emails somehow associated to an account on Macrochan.us. (The site alleged to have TMC content uploaded to). A simple search of the site did disclose some users apparently sharing TMC content.
By digging a little bit deeper I disclosed the recipients of the settlement demand letters had in fact purchased various TMC content, BUT did not upload anything to Macrochan.us. Note: the contact information on the settlement letter was the same as what was used to purchase the TMC clips.
So it appears TMC is likely digitally marking (hidden water-marks) each download of their content/movies. The hidden code can be used to identify who purchased the clip – name, address, email, and possibly payment information. This information is passed to Mark Borghesse, who in turn sends out the settlement demand letter. This is not a new technology and in fact we have seen in the past a law suit targeting the initial uploader based on a hidden digital water-mark/code. Previous DTD Post – Kywan Fisher – Flava Works The technology to do this is not new and it is amazing that we have not seen more content owners do this. This technology is something that most copyright trolls do not bother with. Here is one company – Digimarc.
So if the person who purchased the TMC clip did not upload it to Macrochan.us., who was responsible? I don’t have any reason not to believe the recipients, so the most likely scenario is somehow a third-party was responsible. The third-party was either given a copy of the TMC clip or somehow obtained it without the approval of the person who purchased it.
Either way, TMC doesn’t really care about the reason; they just want a settlement to be paid. It appears that TMC/Borghese is seeking $750 per title.
So what is TMC/Borghese likely to do if a settlement is not paid? They can continue to send emails/letters seeking a settlement under a threat of a law suit OR they can file a copyright infringement law suit. As Mark Borghese is only licensed in NV and Washington DC, TMC would need to hire attorneys in the jurisdictions of the offenders if they wanted to proceed. NOTE: Borghese did previously file a couple of NV law suits against out-of-State Defendants in an effort to force a settlement – it worked. So Borghese could do this again, but if challenged, there is a good possibility the case would be dismissed (improper jurisdiction) or at least transferred to the right jurisdiction (where the Defendant lives & requiring TMC to hire a local attorney). That of course is my non-attorney thoughts on the matter. As they are only seeking $750 per title, it doesn’t look like they are too serious on filing law suits. Saying that, I would be especially careful in sharing content among friends. Once you share something with another person, you have lost all control over it – once it hits the Internet it is GONE. IF a law suit was ever filed, most courts are not going to look too kindly on the initial uploader/seeder verses someone who just downloads the content – my opinion.
What I really find interesting is the use of hidden digital markings/water-marks by this otherwise small fetish-niche company. Notorious Copyright Trolls like Malibu Media/X-Art (which are significantly larger & have more money) do not use this technology (please correct me if I’m wrong). Why not??? I believe the Copyright Trolls and the German monitoring firms that support them do not want to see a slow-down in piracy of their content. If the copyright owners actually took step to deal with the initial seeder (the uploader) of their content, they might start to make an impact & lose settlements in the process.
‘Queen Of The Desert’ FAILS in Arizona (Case # 2:16-cv-01021)
Thanks to the Doe that forwarded me the following AZ ‘Queen Of The Desert’ case (2:16-cv-01021). Nothing out of the ordinary – Standard mass-Doe BT Copyright Troll case against 26 Does. Case was opened on 12 Apr 2016, with Early Discovery granted for the ISP subscriber information on 11 May 2016. Where it starts to gets interesting is on 14 June, when Judge Neil Wake files an Order telling the Troll that they need to name and serve each Defendant and show proof of service by 13 July (30 days to do this), or the case may be dismissed. Docket_11Jul16_01021(AZ) Disc_Motion_01021(AZ) Disc_Granted_01021(AZ) Doc10_01020(AZ)
So the Troll now has 30 days to amend the complaint with the true names of the Defendants (ISP subscribers), serve each Defendant with a summons/complaint, and file documents showing the service was accomplished. So in true Copyright Troll form, attorney Gregory B. Collins, asks the court for 90 more days accomplish these tasks. The Troll tells the court that Cox Communications is due to provide the ISP subscriber information on 30 June, so an extension out to 11 October is justified. Motion_MoreTime_01021(AZ)
Well on 22 June, judge Wake issued another short, straightforward Order – DENIED. The Judge did tell the Troll that he would give them two more days (15 July), but that was it. Order_01021(AZ)
As the message was made painfully clear, Troll Collins then dismissed Does # 8 & 25 WITH Prejudice AND all the remaining Does WITHOUT prejudice on 8 July. 2_Does_Dismissed_01021(AZ) ALL_Does_Dismissed_01021(AZ)
So it looks like they were able to get two people to pay a settlement. Even if the settlement was only for $3K each, that means $6K on a $400 investment. Even if they have to split their ill-gotten gains three ways (Copyright owner, Troll attorney, German BT Monitors), it is still over $1K each. Then back to filing more cases and hoping they don’t get Judge Wake again.
Wait And See Approach
This is exactly why in the multi-Doe cases I suggest taking a ‘wait and see’ approach and not contact the Troll. It is a real possibility that Does # 8 & 25 would not have had to pay a settlement. Note: The Troll could refile cases against the 24 Does/ISP Subscribers, but in my opinion it is unlikely. Each Troll attorney is different, but Collins doesn’t appears to want to name and serve Defendants at this time.
“Some ships are designed to sink…Others require our assistance.”