Bittorrent Defense Updates – Did you receive a subpoena notice from your ISP regarding “Mechanic Resurrection” movie?
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Our copyright defense law firm helps clients across the United States who are accused of using the torrent protocal to illegally download and share movies online which is usually asserted as a case of willful copyright infringement. We have helped clients deal with movie companies such as Malibu Media, Flava Works, London Has Fallen (LHF) and others. This post deals with the movie Mechanic Resurrection by ME2 Productions which is currently filing lawsuits in Chicago Illinois, Utah and other courts. If you received a notice of infringement, contact us for a free no pressure consultation to discuss your case, the pros and cons of fighting your case and to answer other questions you may have.
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What is Mechanic Resurrection?
According to Wikipedia
“Mechanic: Resurrection is a 2016 French–American action thriller film directed by Dennis Gansel. It is written by Philip Shelby and Tony Mosher from a story by Shelby and Brian Pittman. It is the sequel to the 2011 film The Mechanic, which was a remake of the 1972 film of the same name. The film stars Jason Statham, Tommy Lee Jones, Jessica Alba and Michelle Yeoh. Mechanic: Resurrection premiered in Hollywood on August 22, 2016 and was theatrically released in the United States on August 26, 2016. It received negative reviews but was a “box office success”, grossing $109.4 million worldwide.”
The movie is believed to have been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office under Registration No. PA-1-998-057. The movie company, ME2 productions, has already filed lawsuits in The Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana, Nevada (Century Link ISP) in Colorado, Illinois, Utah and other states.
Overview of Torrent Lawsuits
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What is an illegal “screener copy”?
A screener copy of a movie or music album is a copy of the media on a disc (ex. CD Disc) that is part of an early release for promotional purposes only. These are NOT allowed to be shared online in most cases. Uploading these to a Torrent website so that other people can watch the movie without paying for it is considered illegal and could lead to legal trouble. The label on the movie (basically like a “shrinkwrap” license). For example, the label or sticker on the cover may read:
“WARNING – “SCREENING COPY” – for promotional use only. Not for resale on eBay, Amazon.com or other internet websites, and not for public distribution, performance, or duplication”
NOTE: Many times the infringer is detected using GeoLocation Technology.
According to Wikipedia:
“Internet and computer geolocation can be performed by associating a geographic location with the Internet Protocol (IP) address, MAC address, RFID, hardware embedded article/production number, embedded software number (such as UUID, Exif/IPTC/XMP or modern steganography), invoice, Wi-Fi positioning system, device fingerprint, canvas fingerprinting or device GPS coordinates, or other, perhaps self-disclosed information. Geolocation usually works by automatically looking up an IP address on a WHOIS service and retrieving the registrant's physical address.”
Sample allegations from the Federal Court Complaint
Here are some sample allegations you might find in the lawsuit filed by ME2 Productions and their intellectual property lawyers with the Courts:
“The Plaintiff comes to court seeking relief because its Work has been illegally pirated over the Internet hundreds of thousands of times worldwide, and many of these instances of piracy occurred in this judicial district. In fact, the Plaintiff's copyrighted Work, “Mechanic: Resurrection,” was the most pirated film in the United States during the same week that it was shown in local theaters in this jurisdiction.”
“The volume and titles of the activity associated with each IP address accessed by each Defendant indicates that each Defendant is likely either the primary subscriber assigned to the IP address, someone who resides with the primary subscriber, or someone who is an authorized user of the IP address and had consistent and permissive access to it.”
“On the specific dates and times of the infringing activities alleged in this Complaint, the IP addresses accessed by the Defendants were managed by ISPs, who on information and belief, generally assign an IP address to a single party for extended periods of time, often for months, and provide Wi-Fi systems with pre-installed security and passwords.”
“Torrent sites” are websites that index torrent files that are currently being made available for copying and distribution by people using the BitTorrent protocol. There are numerous torrent websites, including www.TorrentZap.com, www.Btscene.com, and . Upon information and belief, each Defendant went to a torrent site to upload and download Plaintiff's Work.”
“The IP addresses, Unique Hash Number, and infringement dates and times that are shown on Exhibit 1 accurately reflect what is contained in the evidence logs, and show.”
As you can probably tell, the complaint relates to sharing, reproducing, and distributing their copyrighted content on the internet without a license to do so and without paying any licensing fee. The complaints seek damages for copyright infringement, including statutory and attorney fees along with an injunction.
Potential Defenses in a Torrent illegal file sharing (P2p) lawsuit
Here is a blog we wrote on possible defenses to Torrent Lawsuits. Another blog discussed potential defenses to copyright infringement in general. Some of the common defenses that arise in these cases can include:
- I didn't download anything (must have been a guest or roommate)
- Unsecured wifi (third party internet freeloader must have been the culprit)
- ISP has the wrong IP address / wrong subscriber account (ex. Cox, Comcast, AT&T and Verizon got their records wrong)
- All the packets and files were never downloaded (i.e. the “digital handshake” was interrupted or never completed, thus the movie was never downloaded or shared).
- Illegal hacking or spying
- Entrapment (this is something I have not seen work, but basically relates to wrongdoing by the copyright holder, which may go to a defense of “unclean hands” for example)
These are some defenses that come to mind. Some clients are willing to engage a digital forensics specialist to prove they did not download anything. However, the movie companies and their intellectual property lawyers might be willing to accept the results and reduce their demands (which could range from a dropped lawsuit, to a couple hundred dollars up to tens of thousands of dollars) they are more likely to drop a subscriber or “John Doe” from the lawsuit if they submit to a deposition under penalty of perjury where the opposing counsel can ask questions and verify the credibility and veracity of the witness.
What to do if you receive an ISP notice with information about a subpoena.
The first and most important thing to do is to NOT talk to anyone else. Call a Torrent Defense Attorney so you can explore potential defenses, and potential legal risk. I would not run out and destroy all the evidence as this could come back to bite you if the litigation moves to the discovery process. Call copyright counsel to discuss a strategy. Also note, if you DON'T respond, you could be subject to being hit with a “default judgement” that, while it might not be worth much today, could cause you troubles as you get older and start making more money. The other thing to consider is that once the ISP submits the subpoena information to the Plaintiff (i.e. your name and address), you could be inserted into the lawsuit and this then becomes a public record. In some cases, it may simply make more sense to just resolve the issue. We can help companies and individuals do this.
Contact a Copyright Infringement Lawyer
We offer a free initial discussion for persons who received a notice of subpoena from their ISP or were served a copy of a summons and complaint. Call us at (877) 276-5084. In most cases we can offer flat rate fees depending upon the facts of the case and which stage of the litigation the case is in. Click here to learn more about our federal court experience.
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