Attorney Steve® BitTorrent Litigation Essentials – Flava Works Lawsuits (Illinois and Florida) - Before you ignore that copyright infringement demand letter, give us call
June 2022 Updates: Flava Works is an online adult entertainment company that specializes in content featuring African American and Latino men. In 2010, the company filed a lawsuit against MyVidster, a video-sharing website, for copyright infringement. Flava Works alleged that MyVidster had allowed users to embed videos from its website without permission. The lawsuit was settled out of court, with MyVidster agreeing to remove all infringing videos and pay damages to Flava Works. In 2012, Flava Works sent a demand letter to another website, GayTube, alleging that the site was hosting copyrighted material without permission. GayTube removed the infringing videos and paid damages to Flava Works. These two cases illustrate Flava Works' commitment to protecting its copyrighted material. The company has been successful in preventing others from profiting from its hard work and ensuring that its content remains accessible only to those who have paid for it. Ignoring their legal demand letters can lead to an expensive copyright infringement lawsuit. We defend those accused of downloading and sharing their movies, for example on torrent websites.
March 2022 Flava Works Updates: We have not heard from Flava in a while. We were not sure if they had stopped pursuing infringement claims of their movies torrented through Gay Torrents, (ex. ThugBoy title) but it now appears they may be back in full force. If you received a letter from Flava in Illinois threatening litigation, call us for a free evaluation of your case. We can be reached at (877) 276-5084. We have helped many people get these cases settled privately and anonymously at the best price possible.
This blog involves demand letters and lawsuits brought by Flava Works. This company strongly enforces its copyrights so it is very wise to seek legal counsel before trying to handle this case on your own. If you ignore a demand letter, a federal court lawsuit could be filed. Then, it is wise to seek IP legal counsel to defend you. As we like to say You CLICK we DEFEND®
Who is Flava Works? According to Wikipedia:
"Flava Works was founded in 1999 and is owned and operated by CEO Phillip Bleicher. It began with its "CocoBoyz" website showcasing African-American men in nude and erotic photos and videos. In 2000, Flava Works started "Thugboy", and a year later expanded with the creation of the "CocoDorm." Flava Works moved its operations to Miami, Florida, in 2006 and continues to operate a satellite office in Chicago, Illinois......Flava Works operates several websites offering pornographic images and videos to its patrons including Cocodorm.com, PapiCock.com, ThugBoy.com, CocoBoyz.com, and FlavaMen.com. Thugsforsex.com is an online dating portal for black and Latin men."
Sample allegations in a Flava Works lawsuit
Here is one lawsuit I found filed by Flav a Works alleging copyright infringement. Some sample allegations are:
Here is another lawsuit reviewed
From the motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction:
“Introduction Plaintiff, a Florida adult entertainment company, bases its action on the alleged posting of its copyrighted works on Internet websites by Defendant, an individual residing in New York with no relevant connections to Illinois. Since this court lacks personal jurisdiction over Defendant, dismissal is proper under Rule 12(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Since the venue is improper, dismissal is proper under Rule 12(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Furthermore, since the Complaint fails to state any claim upon which relief can be granted, dismissal is proper under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
As a threshold matter, this same Complaint was dismissed in its entirety by the Honorable Judge Edward Chang of this same Court “because the current complaint fails to allege the necessary operative facts.” Flava Works, Inc. v. Clavio, 11 C 05100, 2012 WL 2459146 (N.D. Ill. June 27, 2012). See a True and Correct Copy of Judge Chang's Memorandum Opinion and Order (the “Order”) attached as Exhibit B. 1 As Judge Chang's Order points out, Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint fails to plead any set of facts that would satisfy the elements of direct, contributory, vicarious or “induced” copyright infringement. Specifically, Plaintiff has failed to indicate the exact copyrighted material Rossi downloaded, when he downloaded it, where he made it available, to whom he made it available, and how he made it available. Consequently, it does not present any redressable cause of action against Rossi and must be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. As Judge Chang's Order points out, Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint fails to plead any set of facts that would satisfy the elements of direct, contributory, vicarious, or “induced” copyright infringement. Specifically, Plaintiff has failed to indicate the exact copyrighted material Rossi downloaded, when he downloaded it, where he made it available, to whom he made it available, and how he made it available. Consequently, it does not present any redressable cause of action against Rossi and must be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.”
Attacking the merits of the infringement claim:
“Plaintiff has failed to allege facts that would satisfy both elements of direct copyright infringement. The elements of copyright infringement are (i) ownership of a valid copyright; and (ii) copying of constituent elements original to the work. Feist Publ., Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., Inc., 499 U.S. 340, 361; JCW Invs., Inc. v. Novelty, Inc., 482 F.3d 910, 914 (7th Cir. 2007).
Plaintiff's Complaint does not address these requirements in sufficient detail. Plaintiff's Complaint does not allege any specific act of copying by Rossi and thus fails to satisfy the second element of direct copyright infringement. Plaintiff pleads only that Rossi “downloaded copyrighted videos of Flava Works” and “posted and distributed” them on certain unnamed websites. Plaintiff clearly, and appropriately, alleges that Rossi was at all relevant times a paid member of Plaintiff's website, and nowhere does Plaintiff allege that Rossi's downloading of any videos was improper.
The Complaint does not state:
(i) which specific videos were posted and distributed;
(ii) who among the original defendants did the posting;
(iii) when the posting and distribution supposedly occurred;
(iv) to which websites the videos were posted;
(v) to whom the videos were distributed; or
(vi) what steps were taken to effectuate the posting and distribution.
Plaintiff fails to specify any acts of downloading, copying, or distribution that Rossi committed. Notably, Plaintiff's Complaint would be deficient even had it been pled with sufficient specificity that Rossi had posted a particular video to a particular website.
Without more, this allegation would not support a cause of action for copyright infringement because “posting” a video to a website is not per se copyright infringement. Plaintiff bases its claim in Count I on 17 U.S.C. sections 106 and 501.
Section 106 gives the holder of a copyright the exclusive right to, among other things, “reproduce the work in copies,” “distribute copies . . . by sale or other transfer of ownership,” and “display the copyrighted work publicly.” 17 U.S.C. § 106. Rather than explaining how Rossi reproduced or displayed or transferred ownership of Plaintiff's works, Plaintiff rests on the conclusion that “Defendants' conduct interfered with Plaintiff's exclusive right to reproduce, distribute and display the copyrighted works.” Plaintiff's Complaint appears to assume that posting a video to a website is synonymous with reproducing the work in copies. This is not necessarily so. For example, a “post” might merely be a link to a preexisting file, necessitating no reproduction of copies. See, Perfect 10, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc., 508 F.3d 1146, 1155 (9th Cir. 2007); See, Flava Works, Inc. v. Gunter, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98451(N.D. Ill. 2011) (merely suggesting that “posting” a work can sometimes involve copying or displaying it).
Without a more specific description of what Rossi allegedly did, this court has been given nothing from which to conclude that the “posting” here involved copyright infringement.
As a result, Count I of Plaintiff's Complaint fails to adequately allege direct copyright infringement and it should be dismissed.”
Top Defenses to BitTorrent File Sharing Allegations
Here are a few defenses to consider in any BitTorrent case involving pirated movie allegations. This is not an exclusive list.
- One of the most effective defenses is that the defendant did not actually download or share the copyrighted material. This can be proven by showing that the IP address associated with the file-sharing was not assigned to the defendant at the time of the infringement.
- Another defense is that the defendant was not using BitTorrent when the infringement occurred. This can be shown by demonstrating that there were no active torrents on the defendant's computer at the time in question.
- In some cases, it may also be possible to show that the defendant downloaded an authorized copy of the copyrighted material from a legitimate source.
- Another common defense is that the defendant did not actually share the copyrighted material using BitTorrent. This can be proven by showing that the IP address in question was not logged onto a BitTorrent client at the time of the alleged infringement.
- Another possibility is that the IP address was hijacked at the time and was being used to commit infringement without the knowledge or consent of the legitimate owner.
Copyright law is complex, and there are a variety of possible defenses that may be available in any given case.
Flava Sues Cloudflare
Flava Works, an adult film company, has filed a lawsuit against Cloudflare, alleging that the cloud service provider is infringing on its copyright. Flava Works produces and distributes adult movies, and has registered its copyrighted content with the U.S. Copyright Office. The lawsuit alleges that Cloudflare is providing infringing content to customers who subscribe to its service. Cloudflare provides a variety of services to website owners, including protection from denial-of-service attacks and caching of content. The lawsuit alleges that Cloudflare is aware of the infringing content on its network and is knowingly contributing to infringement. Flava Works is seeking damages and an injunction against Cloudflare.
More Flava Suits in the News
Flava Works is a gay pornography studio based in Chicago, Illinois. The company was founded in 2004 and specializes in black and Latino-themed adult movies. On March 7, 2019, Flava Works filed lawsuits against two major torrent sites - KickassTorrents and The Pirate Bay - in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The lawsuits allege that the defendants are infringing on Flava Works' copyrights by making its movies available for download without permission. In addition, the lawsuit claims that the defendants are responsible for contributory infringement, inducement of infringement, and vicarious infringement. If successful, these lawsuits could result in significant damages for Flava Works. In addition, they would set an important precedent for copyright holders who are seeking to protect their content from online piracy.
Contact a BitTorrent Defense Law Firm – You CLICK we DEFEND®
If you received a letter from Flava Works, BEFORE you call them, CALL us to discuss your legal rights. Flava can be very tough in enforcing their legal rights, and as shown above, they are NOT AFRAID to file a federal copyright infringement lawsuit against a company, or an individual ignoring its demand letters.
Our boutique copyright infringement law firm has a vast amount of experience handling Flava defense, software audits, torrent defense cases such as Strike 3 Holdings lawsuits, and photography infringement cases (contingency fee recovery cases for select photographers).
In this complex area of law, there is no substitute for experience!
We have appeared in over 300 federal copyright infringement matters which puts us in the top 14 list of law firms in the United States. In 2020, Unicourt.com identified Vondran Legal® as the #1 copyright infringement defense law firm in the United States, an honor we are very proud of, and plan to repeat.
You can reach us at (877) 276-5084 for a free initial consultation or fill out our contact form and we will contact you.