BitTorrent Litigation Tips by Attorney Steve® – The Settlement Agreement – anonymous or not?
Our law firm has appeared in over 100 federal court cases dealing with federal copyright law. We have helped many people resolve internet law disputes involving illegal movie download (reproduction) and file sharing on the internet, or on other porn tube sites (distribution of copyrighted material in violation of the exclusive rights of the copyright holder). Typically, we seek to settle these cases anonymously to avoid what they refer to as “shame settlements” but the question will often arise – “should I sign the settlement using my name so that this does not happen again in the future?” This is a good question, to me, which has two possible answers. Let's explore these.
The Settlement Release with Strike 3 Holdings, LLC
When you enter into a settlement agreement for Strike 3 Holdings (makers of Tushy, Blacked, and Vixen) or Malibu Media, LLC (X-Art) you will sign a settlement agreement when the case is finally settled. The negotiation / confirmation of the settlement terms are important as this is the copyright infringement release you will be relying on. Typically, the release will waive all rights and claims against the subscriber, homeowner, and the IP address. These entities are released from all claims (typically whether known or not known) up until the date of the settlement signature (the “effective date”).
This is good because you want legal liability closure for the movie company you are dealing with.
If I settle with Strike 3 Holdings, does that clear me for other movie companies like Flava Works or Malibu Media?
No. A settlement agreement will only cover you for the movie company that is signing the release agreement. However, if the settlement agreement is negotiated properly, there will be a CONFIDENTIALITY CLAUSE prohibiting them from sharing information after the case is settled.
Should you sign the settlement with your name, or anonymously?
The question we get quite often as Torrent defense attorneys are “should I settle anonymously or sign my name to the settlement agreement?” As noted above, typically your torrent settlement agreement will state that the settlement is confidential. For this reason, you should not worry too much about signing your name to the settlement, and/or having your name on the settlement agreement itself. The deal is done, the terms are negotiated, and I have not seen these adult porn companies or their copyright lawyer reneg on a deal once negotiated. So, normally we are good if a client wants their name on the settlement so that if the issue ever pops up again, they can point to their settlement agreement and say “you can't sue me, we already settled this.”
Keep in mind, there are other times when we have clients who have security clearances with the government. They do not want their names coming out at all under any circumstances. So, in those cases we settle the case and I will sign the settlement agreement on their behalf as their Attorney in Fact. After all, if your name ends up in some law firm's database you never know when they can be hacked and your name could come out, I think we all understand even the biggest companies get hacked. But under this scenario, what if you get sued a second time? Well, I would pull our my client's prior retainer agreement, and settlement agreement with IP address, and I would make the case that they cannot be sued again, “they already settled” and here was the check they wrote. I would imagine that this would do the trick and compel the movie production company to dismiss the second case. It should be noted, however, that I have never had a client face a second lawsuit as of the date of this blog post.
There may be two different ways to settle a Bittorrent litigation. One having your name on the settlement agreement, and one where your name is NOT on the settlement agreement. Talk this over with your copyright infringement law firm.
Contact a BitTorrent Defense & Technology Law Firm
We have extensive experience in Torrent defense litigation. We have helped many clients across the United States handle these copyright infringement cases. We have appeared in over 130 federal court lawsuits. In this niche area of copyright law, there is no substitute for experience. We offer low flat rate fees for most cases, and we have over 40 client reviews available upon request. Call us at (877) 276-5084.