I have seen this on the horizon and have dreaded it. Based on personal issues, I have scaled back my previous writing activities concerning BitTorrent (BT) Copyright Trolls. I don’t have plans to shut down DieTrollDie.com; my articles will just be infrequent for now. The site will stay up and I will answer/reply to any questions/comments. ALSO, please continue to send me stuff – inquires, settlement letters, voice mails from Trolls, etc., at firstname.lastname@example.org. In fact I just replied to one Doe on 27 Sep 16. Also remember to follow me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/DieTrollDie), as this is a very fast way to get the word out. Most of the questions I get do not take that much work to respond to and it helps keep me current on the antics of the Trolls.
Just remember that BT Copyright Trolling is fluid and thing can change very fast. Don’t assume the Trolls will not change their tactics to keep the settlements rolling in. Also remember that anything on this site is NOT legal advice – If you need legal advice, please consult with a knowledgeable attorney on BT Copyright Trolling. What you get here is FREE suggestions/thoughts/views, etc. Take this with your analysis and make the best decisions for YOUR situation – everyone’s situation is different.
For now I will leave you with a couple good articles to reference, as well as what I have been seeing recently.
- Copyright Troll Poker – How To Survive This No Limit Game
- The Dangers Of Talking To The BT Copyright Troll – They Are Not Your Friends
Bottom Feeding Trolls (CEG-TEK, Rightscorp, etc.) – These bottom feeding Trolls are trying to scrape up easy money via DMCA take-down notices backs by fear of a possible law suit if you don’t settle. Don’t believe the hype – CEG-TEK/Rightscorp Page Don’t contact the Troll – Stop the BT activity on your network (don’t let it start back up later) – move on with your life. NOTE: Both Rightscorp & CEG-TEK have a client that does sue ISP subscribers – I believe only one client each (please correct me if I’m wrong). BUT, for the vast majority of people who get these notices forwarded through their ISP, the chance of it becoming a law suit extremely low in my opinion. Here is a recent article in which the script used by Rightscorp was disclosed – this goes to show you how desperate these fools are to try to stay variable. Techdirt Article – Rightscorp Phone Script
London Has Fallen (Troll) – CEG-TEK and Law Suits – I have been hearing from a few Does/ISP subscriber concerning CEG-TEK notices on London Has Fallen (LHF), the movie, in areas there have been actual law suits filed in. The Does are worried that because the LHF files in their State/jurisdiction, if they don’t pay CEG-TEK, a law suit will follow. I have seen nothing to suggest that if you don’t pay CEG-TEK for a LHF claim, a law suit will follow. CEG-TEK and the Troll attorneys who file real cases for LHF do not generally work together. To do so would require agreements (financial, etc.) to make sure a CEG-TEK settlement would not kill a real copyright infringement case filed by a Troll attorney – a valid release of liability from CEG-TEK would do that. NOTE: It could happen; I just don’t see the greedy fools on either side wanting this headache of coordinating this. It is just easier IMO for the Plaintiff to give a list a public IP address to each group (CEG-TEK & Troll Attorneys) and let them work their operations separately.
Multiple-Doe BT Copyright Infringement Law Suits – These are still the big money makers and a favorite in the Northern District of IL. One $400 filing fee a case with 15-30 Does. Troll/Plaintiff is almost assured a court will grant early discovery and an ISP will provide the subscriber information on most of them. Then it is just a matter of sending out settlement demand letters and negotiating settlements. I recently saw that for one Troll attorney, the initial settlement amount was $3900. That is a good bit lower that what I was previously seeing – $5-7K. So this tells me that the Trolls want to make it easier for people to settle. They are hoping that a lower amount will increase the number of settlements and thus increase their profits overall. This may also be in response to more people using VPNs and streaming content instead of using BT. So if the Trolls get only a 50% settlement rate on $3900 for a 30 Doe case, the return on a $400 filing fee is $58,500. Not bad. The good news for the Does in these cases is there is no way Troll/Plaintiff can take all of the unresponsive ISP subscribers to trial. Actually they will not take anyone (IMO) to trial. It is too costly and risky to do so; plus it would be a logistical nightmare for them. They will name and serve some of the unresponsive ISP subscribers (hard to say who or how many). It really depends on the particular Troll attorney and how he/she feels about the particular Does. Naming and serving unresponsive people does have the effect of getting more settlements. For the one who don’t, they simply motion for a default judgement and move onto the next case. Each situation is different, but I’m of the opinion to take a wait and see approach on multiple-Doe cases – don’t contact the Trolls – get an attorney if you receive a summons/complaint or a deposition subpoena. Monitor the case in PACER – check it at least once a week. If you don’t see the complaint being amended to NAME the Does/ISP subscribers, getting served with a summons is unlikely IMO.
Single-Doe BT Copyright Infringement Law Suits – I consider these the more serious BT Copyright Troll cases out there. Generally the Troll picks the IP addresses that have a long history of continued BT usage (2-3 months +)and are sharing a large number of files in BT – a good portion appearing to be copyright protected content not belonging to the Plaintiff. This is where Malibu Media LLC and a few other non-porn Troll/Plaintiffs ply their trade. The cases are generally run the same as in the multi-Doe cases, except for the Troll is less likely to ignore a non-responsive doe/ISP subscriber. Based on their analysis of the BT activity (time & duration) and shared BT content, the Troll believes the ISP is either the offender or can readily identify who is. Things I would possibly expect from these cases – 1) Settlement demand letter from the non-Malibu Trolls; 2) Troll requests a waiver of service be signed by the ISP subscriber; 3)Troll requests the court to allow a short (2-hour max) deposition of the ISP subscriber; 4) The complaint is amended with the name of the ISP subscriber; 5) Named Defendant is served with a summons/complaint.
As Malibu Media operation is not being run by Keith Lipscomb anymore, it is hard to say how it will go. I assume they will be aggressive as that previously worked well in getting settlements. Due to some ongoing law suits (Malibu Media verse Defendants & Malibu Media verse Lipscomb), I think they may take it down a notch – we will see. Malibu Media needs these cases to fund their defense against Keith Lipscomb’s law suit against them. One thing I still expect from Malibu Media and other Plaintiff’s who file single-Doe cases is to only seek a “walk away” deal after the cost to the Defendant exceeds what an early settlement would have initially cost. This insures that Defense attorneys will tell future clients of the associated costs of fight back even is innocent. It may cost the Troll in time and some money, but it is considered an investment in the future cases.