On 3/3, I wrote the article entitled, “THE EVOLUTION OF PIRACY AND THE ‘COINCIDENCE’ THAT EARLY COPYRIGHT CASES WERE ROOTED IN PORNOGRAPHY-BASED CONTENT.”
In that article, I suggested in a joking, conspiratorial way that “it was probably the plan of the MPAA / RIAA movie industry to sit back and let the porn industry file lawsuits across the US.”
Why? Because what individual “John Doe” defendant accused of downloading pornography would destroy their reputation by fighting back against those lawsuits? What individual would allow his reputation to be destroyed where by doing so, he would allow the porn companies to expose that not only did he downloaded porn, but they would expose his personal sexual addictions and sexual preferences (and sometimes based on the title of the infringed video, his secret fetishes) to the public record for all to see?? Thus, the porn cases were a perfect test subject to blaze the courts to create new case law on copyright infringement cases using bittorrent, because accused defendants as a general rule would not fight back.
At first, I gave the movie industry the benefit of the doubt that they were separate and apart from the porn lawsuits, namely, that they were merely sitting back and watching the lawsuits while the porn companies made case law for them. I even referred to them as “the Sleeping Dog.” When there was a good ruling, they would say nothing, and when there was a bad ruling, they would write articles and scream, “the evil porn companies are ruining the copyright laws for all of us!”
A while ago, I started noticing that the same Guardaley entity that was filing the porn lawsuits were also filing the movie lawsuits. Specifically, I heard about this when representing clients accused of downloading the Dallas Buyers Club movie, but I could not believe that legitimate movie companies were the same corporate entities behind the scenes as those who were filing porn lawsuits — it just didn’t make sense to me.
But now I’m learning that the same Guardaley / IPP / Anti-Piracy Management Company (APMC) entity that is behind the Malibu Media, LLC lawsuits across the US appears to be the same entity who is also filing lawsuits for legitimate movies. For example, I am told that Paul Nicoletti filed cases for both Voltage Pictures, Inc. and for Malibu Media, LLC. Same attorney, same clients… but this is not my evidence.
(NOTE: In a previous version of this article in the above paragraph, I used the example of Keith Vogt filing for both Dallas Buyers Club and Malibu Media, LLC. This was in error. However, I used his lawsuits to show how the same attorney was filing for both movie companies who have been known to license the rights to enforce copyrights and for the adult-film Malibu Media, LLC client, both Guardaley-linked. Remember, there was a point that I believed that Voltage Pictures was that Guardaley-linked movie company, however, I’m told they were sold so they are not likely the ones behind the movie lawsuits.)
We also recently learned that Carl Crowell is now having ISPs send out DMCA notices demanding $300 settlements for each instance of infringement; he is sending the accused subscribers to his RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT website (RIGHTSENFORCEMENT.com) in order to facilitate the payment of these settlement demands under a threat that if they do not pay him, he will file a lawsuit to uncover their real identity so that he can sue them for copyright infringement (statutory damages of $150,000) under the copyright laws.
I can now confirm based on the search engine searches that are coming to my website that the nature of the DMCA notices are for pornographic films allegedly downloaded by bittorrent. Further, I compared some of those names of the porn companies, and it not only seems as if RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT is a knock-off of CEG-TEK’s DMCA notice system, but that Crowell has also ‘stolen’ the clients of CEG-TEK. I know this because the titles of the alleged infringing adult films correlate almost exactly to CEG-TEK’s client list, as I exposed them in 2014.
But if you dig further into the RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT website, you’ll find that their client list includes MAINSTREAM MOVIES. Thus, the connection between the movie industry and the adult film industry is strengthened.
Then, to make the connection even stronger, I recently learned that Carl Crowell (the apparent puppet master behind all of the Guardaley-based ‘John Doe’ movie lawsuits across the US) is also in contract with RightsCorp, who has been sending notices to Internet Subscribers the same was CEG-TEK used to, but their methods of tracking and harassing defendants is different from CEG-TEK’s. At one time, I was even so certain of the differences between them [based on how they operated and knowing the fight that CEG-TEK used to have with the Guardaley entity in their bittorrent tracking methods] that I wrote an article claiming that “CEG-TEK and RightsCorp are different animals.” Point being, at the time, I did not understand the nature of RightsCorp (they were always the bastard child of the copyright infringement issues), but all I knew at the time were that those at Rightscorp were spending millions of dollars on a failing business model, and because they were so loudly representing the MPAA/RIAA in this failing venture, I never thought to look whether the porn industry lawsuits and the traditional movie lawsuits were somehow related.
Well, zoom to 2017, and now we learn that the entity behind RightsCorp is also working with Carl Crowell to enforce their copyrights claiming infringement for the download of network TV shows, and most frequently, music downloaded via bittorrent.
In my “Evolution of Piracy” article, I wrote:
“It would be a huge scandal if one set of masters [MPAA/RIAA] planned the pornography-based bittorrent ‘copyright troll’ lawsuits for the purpose of later giving credibility to real-movie lawsuits when they stepped in place of the porn lawsuits and made the same filings… I don’t want to connect the dots because I do not want to notice that perhaps the same entities behind the Dallas Buyers Club, LLC movies were the same entities behind the Patrick Collins… Malibu Media, LLC cases. THAT WOULD BE JUST TOO HORRIBLE.” (emphasis added)
Well, as the veil of secrecy is unraveling between the porn industry and the movie / radio industry, we are seeing that these apparently separate entities are not only in cahoots with one another, but that they are all using ONE AND THE SAME ENTITY (Guardaley) to commit fraud upon the US copyright law system.
“NO, HE DID NOT JUST SCREAM FRAUD.” Yes, I did. Here is why.
In my understanding, having the movie industry (MPAA/RIAA) collude with the porn industry and PLAN to have the porn cases blaze through the courts (where those defendants as a general rule do not fight back) and create what we now call “bittorrent law,” only to NOW have the mainstream media step back in and file those same lawsuits using the porn cases as “case law” to legally support their movie-based bittorrent lawsuits, well, that’s a scam. Why? BECAUSE THE MPAA/RIAA BROKE COPYRIGHT LAW BY USING PORNOGRAPHY CASES TO CREATE THE LAW TO SUPPORT THE CASES THEY ARE NOW FILING.
“But haven’t the porn cases also created ‘bad law’ for the movie companies?” You might think so, and in some courts, the answer is absolutely, yes. But let’s look at the developments of what is now considered “normal” in a bittorrent-based copyright infringement lawsuit BECAUSE OF the porn-based copyright infringement lawsuits.
WHAT IS NOW CONSIDERED ‘NORMAL’ IN A COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT LAWSUIT
1) Judges now regularly rubber-stamp “expedited discovery” requests allowing copyright holders to send subpoenas to internet providers, forcing the ISPs to unclothe the identities of the account holders who are accused of copyright infringement. These identities are provided directly to the plaintiffs (not to the court) to allow the plaintiff attorney to use and misuse that sensitive and private information.
2) Judges allow the copyright holders to solicit settlements, sometimes in the amounts of thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, with ABSOLUTELY NO OVERSIGHT of the plaintiff attorney’s activities, or how many settlements that attorney has brought in for his client.
3) Judges regularly pretend that bittorrent-based cases are ‘regular’ copyright infringement lawsuits, but they ignore the fact that bittorrent-based copyright holders have CONSISTENTLY FAILED TO STATE A CLAIM with any certainty that the account holder is the accused “John Doe” Defendant, when at best, this is at most a circumstantial connection which is not researched by the judge or the plaintiff attorney before the judge allows the lawsuit to proceed. According to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “failure to state a claim” SHOULD prevent the case from proceeding. The plaintiff copyright holders do not have the evidence to proceed with a lawsuit, yet judges close their eyes to this fact and allow them to proceed anyway.
In sum, the pornography cases have caused judges to fudge (think, “run their finger through melted chocolate”) what used to be firm principles of copyright infringement law, and because of the porn cases, the result is that judges now regularly allow copyright holders to get away with things that in the past, would have barred them from filing the lawsuit or getting access to the identities of John Doe Defendants in the first place.
And if this was their plan all along, well, that’s just too horrible…
Honestly, judges should reverse and overrule practices and case law established by the porn-based lawsuits, and they should revert to holding movie companies (AND porn companies) to the standard of law they used to adhere to before the mass onslaught of cases began to burden the courts from 2010 and on. In my opinion, bittorrent cases are nothing but sloppy copyright cases, and judges use sloppy law to allow copyright holders to abuse the copyright system and extort millions of hard-earned dollars from the public. Years from now, people will look back and wonder how judges allowed these lawsuits to proceed.
MY FINAL POINT
I started the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC in 2010, just as the MPAA/RIAA lawsuits became quiet. I always wondered where they went, and why they stopped suing defendants. Now I am starting to understand that they never did stop their activities; rather, they just devised a clever scheme to get the porn industry to file lawsuits and blaze the trail to create case law across the US (because most pornography-based defendants do not fight back, and judges laugh when they see the titles sued upon, they undermine their legal sense and allow the ‘repressed, stigma-based industry to proceed with protecting their rights to sue “just like everyone else.”). As a result of having the porn companies file the lawsuits across the US, what is unfolding to be the MPAA/RIAA plan broke copyright infringement law so that they can come back seven years later and start filing lawsuits, but now, with a “lower bar” and relaxed legal standards.