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What to do if you receive an internet porn demand letter

Posted by Steve Vondran | Nov 05, 2014 | 0 Comments

Copyright Troll or IP Defenders?  [Receiving a Porn Infringement Demand Letter].  Yes it's scary, but you will survive!

internet movie download attorney bittorent

Introduction

When you are accused of copyright infringement by illegally downloading adult pornographic movies, this can be very scary,  You do not know what your rights are, or what the settlement amount be.  For some, they are worried their name will be made public which could hurt their chances at getting a VISA or applying for a job.  Our law firm is a leader in handling cases in federal courts (and in responding to legal demand letters) in regard to companies like Strike 3 Holdings, LLC, Malibu Media, Grooby Productions and Flava Works.  Some people say "well isn't this extortion" and I usually respond "these companies have a legal right to protect and enforce their intellectual property, namely their copyrights to their movies.  We have spoke time and time again of the need for parents to notify their kids that using BitTorrent, uTorrent or other software clients to download and share movies on the internet can lead to big financial liability and unwanted stress of dealing with a ISP subpoena for example.

What is a Copyright Troll – isn't it just a company enforcing it's copyrights?

In my opinion, when a Plaintiff rights-holder goes too far, causes financial hardships, or plays other types of games in regard enforcing their copyrights they may move from being a copyright enforcer to a copyright troll.  Even some courts have used this analogy in their legal decisions in certain cases.

According to Wikipedia:

“Copyright troll is a pejorative term for a party that enforces copyrights it owns for purposes of making money through litigation, in a manner considered unduly aggressive or opportunistic, generally without producing or licensing the works it owns for paid distribution. Critics object to the activity because they believe it does not encourage the production of creative works, but instead makes money through the inequities and unintended consequences of high statutory damages provisions in copyright laws intended to encourage creation of such works.”

One man's copyright defender is another mans copyright troll.  Regardless, when the copyright demand letter comes it should be taken serious.  We can help you assess the potential liability and represent you to get the case settled (many times out-of-court).

What do I do If I am charged with or accused of illegally downloading pornographic movies, software, videos, pictures or sex talk wav's and mp3's?

If you get a letter from a company that accuses you of downloading pornos or copyrighted movies from websites such as Bittorrent – without paying for it, or you find out you are named as a “John Doe” Defendant in a lawsuit),

1. you should contact an intellectual property lawyer immediate as you could have to deal with a federal copyright lawsuit.  Some advice on the internet says to ignore the letter.  If you are named in a lawsuit and ignore it the Plaintiff could take a “default judgement” against you, and if you have a full time job as an employee, your wages could be garnished (that might be a little difficult to explain to the boss).

2.  Do not delete or destroy potentially relevant evidence.  This does not "make the problem go away" and could be used against you if your case goes to Court.  If you get notice from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) that a company is trying to ascertain your identity, you should immediately contact us at (877) 276-5084.

3.  Do not talk to other people.  It is important that your first discussion be confidential with an experienced BitTorrent attorney

4.  Don't panic.  We can get you though this.

The Plaintiff may seek to make a copy of your hard drive during the discovery process and this could lead to serious privacy as well as liability problems.  We are a litigation law firm and we can help protect and defend your legal rights when you are a Defendant named in a federal copyright lawsuit.  We have appeared in over 200 federal cases since 2004.

What is the potential exposure for downloading copyrighted pornography on my computer without paying for it?

If you or a family member is accused of illegal internet file sharing, here are some of the possible penalties and consequences.

1.  A costly copyright litigation (damages for willful copyright infringement can run high);

2.  A lawsuit is public, and can “go viral” on the internet with the growth of social media networks (this means, if a case is publicly filed it may be searchable on the internet);

3.  Illegal software downloading could be the type of conduct that could lead to copyright criminal charges, and perhaps loss of a professional license (such as a real estate, nursing, or teaching license if forced to disclose all civil lawsuits you have been involved in);

4.  You could lose your job and face other legal problems (especially if they seek to garnish your wages and your employer does not like the fact that you were sued for copyright infringement).

5.  A lawsuit may harm a chance to get a VISA.

My point is not to scare you, but copyright infringement cases can cause you or your company a lot of stress.  Again, the best advice if a company (such as an independent film producer or their attorneys) contacts you is to “lawyer up” before you start giving statements to this person and that person.  These statements can come back to haunt you.

Example of an internet porn download lawsuit against John Doe ISP subscribers

In Malibu Media LLC v. John Doe subscriber assigned IP address 24.183 .51.58, No. 13-CV-205-WMC, 2013 WL 4821911, at (W.D. Wis. Sept. 10, 2013) the Court discussed the illegal download of movies lawsuit:

“In recent months, plaintiff Malibu Media, a  purveyor of so-called adult films, has joined many others in bringing lawsuits in federal courts against anonymous defendants, who are alleged to own internet addresses associated with the unlawful distribution of copyrighted materials by use of an online “BitTorrent protocol” service in violation of federal copyright law 17 U.S.C. §§ 101 et seq. Apparently, the lewd and obscene nature of the graphic titles and content are enough to persuade many initially anonymous defendants to reach early settlements out of fear of being “outed” should the lawsuit proceed. See Malibu Media, LLC v. Reynolds, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31288 at *18–23 (discussing cases that have recognized the power of lawsuits alleging illegal downloading of pornographic movies “to shame defendants into settlement agreements where they may otherwise have a meritorious defense”).

In each of the lawsuits at issue here, Malibu Media and its counsel chose not to rely on the relatively tame names given its own pornographic material downloaded by defendants, but instead attached to the complaint an “Exhibit C,” comprising a list of the numerous other files downloaded to that targeted address via BitTorrent in the preceding several months. Malibu Media concedes it holds no copyright on any of these other downloaded files listed in “Exhibit C,” meaning they have no direct relevance to its own copyright claims. Particularly troubling to the court, the list on Exhibit C consistently includes far more disturbing lewd, unusual and unredacted titles of pornographic films allegedly also downloaded by the defendant than those belonging to plaintiff. For example, Malibu Media titles include “Red Satin,” “Dreams Come True” and “Tuesday Morning,” while the titles in Exhibit C include “[Bestiality] Young Blond … Dog (www.sickporn.in),” “Lada.Nice … Young.Girl” and “Dirty … Stories 5.” This pattern repeats itself between the titles copyrighted by plaintiff in Exhibit B and those for which plaintiff holds no copyright in Exhibit C for each of the eleven cases captioned above.

Under federal copyright law, if the Plaintiff can show “willful infringement of copyright” the damages could be up to $150,000 per downloaded copyright item.  This staggering amount of potential civil liability is criticized by many, and shows the reasons why you need to speak with a lawyer if you feel you are being named in a lawsuit, or have been served with summons and complaint.  In most cases, they will seek much less than this amount, which is unaffordable for most.

Internet Porn Download Resources [video library]

1.  Overview of BitTorrent lawsuit

2.  Potential copyright infringement penalties

3. Strike 3 Holdings lawsuit investigators

4.  Can parents be held liable for kids porn downloading

5.  Movie download defenses and mitigating factors

Contact a Federal Copyright Lawyer

We have helped hundreds of clients who have received a subpoena from their ISP (ex. Cox, Comcast, Frontier, Spectrum, AT&T and Verizon) respond to allegations of copyright infringement.  We seek to keep the case ANONYMOUS and settle for as low as possible.  Every cases is different and there are a variety of factors the Plaintiff will look at (for many cases involving Strike 3 the law firm will be the Bandlow Law Offices).  We handle a large portion of the California litigation and it is best NOT to hire an out-of-state counsel as the Plaintiff counsel will know they are not likely willing to travel, and may have to "associate with local counsel" to do so.  This can put you at a great settlement disadvantage.

We have flexible fee structures.  Call (877) 276-5084 or fill out the contact form below to have one of our copyright litigation attorneys contact you, usually within the hour.  

You can review our excellent Client reviews here.

FOR OUT-OF-STATE COUNSEL:  We can serve as local counsel in these types of p2p internet law cases

About the Author

Steve Vondran

Thank you for viewing our blogs, videos and podcasts. As noted, all information on this website is Attorney Advertising. Decisions to hire an attorney should never be based on advertising alone. Any past results discussed herein do not guarantee or predict any future results. All blogs are written by Steve Vondran, Esq. unless otherwise indicated. Our firm handles a wide variety of intellectual property and entertainment law cases from music and video law, Youtube disputes, DMCA litigation, copyright infringement cases involving software licensing disputes (ex. BSA, SIIA, Siemens, Autodesk, Vero, CNC, VB Conversion and others), torrent internet file-sharing (Strike 3 and Malibu Media), California right of publicity, TV Signal Piracy, and many other types of IP, piracy, technology, and social media disputes. Call us at (877) 276-5084. AZ Bar Lic. #025911 CA. Bar Lic. #232337

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