Intellectual Property | Real Estate | Technology | Software

What to do if you receive an internet porn demand letter

Nov 5th, 2014 | By | Category: Copyright Litigation

Copyright Troll 101 – Receiving a Porn Demand Letter

porno and movie infringement lawyer

JUMP TO VONDRAN LEGAL HOUR PODCAST ON COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IN ADULT VIDEOS

Introduction

We have talked so many times about the digital jungle, cyber-risk and copyright trolls.  This blog derives from the Copyright Troll variety, or should we say the dark side of the internet.  What happens if you use an online software system to download pornographic pictures, images and videos – all for free- from an illegal download or piracy website?  When I say illegal site I am only referring to websites where there are copyrighted products being downloaded for free where you know the copyright owner is expecting some type of payment.

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

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.

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), 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).

If you find out, or get notice from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) that a company is trying to ascertain your identity, you should immediately contact us.  Your reputation is on the line.  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 whether you are a Plaintiff copyright holder, or a Defendant named in a federal copyright lawsuit.

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

This would cause you or even your business several problems including:

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;

3.  Illegal software downloading could be the type of conduct that could lead to criminal charges, and perhaps loss of a professional license (such as a real estate, nursing, or teaching license);

4.  You could lose your job and face other legal problems.

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.

Internet Porn Resources

1.  Internet porn mass piracy lawsuits

2.  Federal Judge makes mass joinder piracy lawsuits more difficult

3.  Malibu Media, LLC case discussion

4.  Torrent Trolls Illinois State Bar

Contact a Federal Copyright Lawyer

We help both Plaintiff’s and Defendants in federal copyright litigation case in California and Arizona federal district courts and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal.  We can serve as local counsel in these internet law cases.  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.  We have flexible fee arrangements.

[contact_form]

 

 

The following two tabs change content below.
We are a business and civil litigation firm with a focus on copyright infringement cases involving illegal movie downloads (torrent cases such as London Has Fallen, ME2 Productions and Malibu Media defense), software audits (ex. Microsoft audits, SPLA, Autodesk audit notification letter, Siemens PLM defense, SIIA, Adobe and Business Software Alliance defense) and other software vendors threatening piracy and infringement. We also handle cases involving internet law, anti-SLAPP, media law, right of publicity, trademarks & domain name infringement, and we have a niche practice area handling California BRE licensing disputes, accusations, subpoena response, statement of issues and investigations. We have offices in San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, San Diego & Phoenix, Arizona and accept federal copyright and trademark cases nationwide. All content on our website is general legal information only and not a substitute for legal advice, and should not be relied upon. Decisions to hire counsel should not be based on advertising alone. Blogs, videos and podcasts are authored by Steve Vondran, Esq. unless otherwise noted. We can be reached at (877) 276-5084.

Latest posts by Vondran Legal - Civil Litigation firm handling Software audits, Copyright Infringement, Internet law, and general Business & Real Estate law (see all)

Comments are closed.