Downloading Pirated Movies Can Damage Your Career And Cost You Thousands Of Dollars

July 23, 2011
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 “Unless my client enforces its copyrights, the public will come to learn that it can infringe my client’s copyrights with impunity.  When that happens, my client fears that it business will suffer more or even fail since its primary product is a movie capable of being converted into a digital media file and downloaded illegally through the internet.  The way I see it, PCI’s decision to enforce its copyrights is really no different, except that PCI’s store is on-line, than Home Depot’s decision to prosecute every person who shoplifts from it,” said the lawyer whose client is better known as Elegant Angel Productions, which produces hard-core porn videos. (his complete statements are at the end of the column)

“First, by establishing that the subscriber’s IP address was used to commit the infringement, we have pled a prima facie case for copyright infringement,” he wrote me. “If Claudette wants to claim her Wi-Fi was unprotected and someone else used her IP address to download the movie, she will have to prove it.  In response to our prima facie case, a Doe can defend on the basis that its wifi was hacked pleading it in an answer and affirmative defenses,” he said.

“Should that defense ever be raised in a litigation then, among other things, my clients would investigate by verifying how far the subscriber’s wifi signal carries.  Most modems don’t project signals far enough to establish a good connection into a neighboring house.  If it did carry a signal to another house then we would, subpoena and depose the Doe’s neighbors to ascertain whether: (a) they have a computer, (b) they have internet service, and (c) they have ever used a neighbor’s open access wifi connection.  If the neighbors have a computer and internet then there is no reason to hack.”

“Here is the bottom line, however, merely because a Doe could possibly prove that its wifi was hacked and that it was not the infringer does not make my client’s copyright enforcement campaign overbroad, unlawful or unethical.  To underscore the point, let me pose the question back to you: What would you do if your revenue model was pay per download and your articles were being illegally downloaded on the scale that my client’s digital movies are being illegally downloaded?  I think you would do the same thing.  I know I would and I am personally very proud to be defending my client’s copyrights to the best of my ability.”

Attorney Anita Ramasastry, a D. Wayne and Anne Gittinger Professor of Law at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle and a Member of its Law Technology and Arts Group, in a column for the Verdict Internet site this month said these suits are a recent phenomenon. NEXT PAGE

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20 Responses to Downloading Pirated Movies Can Damage Your Career And Cost You Thousands Of Dollars

  1. George Gombossy on October 25, 2011 at 9:29 am

    From a woman in Washington state sent to me Oct 25:

    I was named in one of those lawsuits. I live in Washington State. There is no way me or anyone else did this. My nearest neighbor is 250 feet away. I think that when they asked for the list of IP’s a number was transposed (which they say is impossible). I am 69 years old, on social security $770 a month. There is a medicare deduction of $110. And I have COPD. My advair copay is $57 a month and so I only get it every other month so I can use $57 for food every other month.

    I write bible studies and there is no way I did this. No one has been on my computer and my router is protected. My husband has mac notebook that is old and he only uses it to read the news paper. He doesn’t even know how to send an email or turn the computer on, I have to do it. He tried to watch news, but it did not have enough memory to do that and the circle kept rotating and would not load. When I told them this, they said too bad and I can settle out of court for $2380, payable in three payments (beginning the 4th of November this year), I have no savings and bad enough credit that I cannot borrow the money. Mind you a payment is more than my social security a month. I told them I could pay $25 a month, but then I would have to give up my advair and will probably die.

    They don’t care. They said I did it or I was responsible for someone who did. I am not saying I am praying for this horrible man to die, but it would not hurt my feelings if he did. He is preying on old people who do not do these things he is claiming.

    My computer is used for my writing and for my pictures of my grandkids. That is all.
    I wrote the Attorney General of Washington, they sent me an email address of a lawyer that might take the case, but I have not heard back from him. The EFF or whatever it is, will not help either. Anyway, I did record the whole conversation on my phone and the woman ended up yelling and finally hung up.

    It seems like it is a scam where they grab a bunch of IP’s that may or may not have done anything and then sue them – there really should be something that someone can do to make them stop.
    Margaret

  2. George Gombossy on October 25, 2011 at 9:30 am

    From Dennis In Colorado

    I have received notice from my internet provided that they have received a subpoena requiring them to supply name, address, user name and activity log for my IP address.
    This is for copyright infringement for downloading a film. I don’t deny that I did that out of curiosity, saw what it was and deleted it. Never the less, I did down load it. From what I see on the internet, including your post, it appears that I will be pressured to settle out of court and pay them a fine. My internet provided said I could notify them if I had an objection and I would also need to file that objection with the court. I would ask, is there any point of hiring a lawyer and filing an objection? What would be my best course of action?

    Thank you for a response,

    Dennis

  3. George Gombossy on October 25, 2011 at 9:31 am

    From Gary in California

    Hi, I have questions about a call that I received and it’s regarding some kind of lawsuit. A lawyer named Bill Higgins called me and said that a website (or some kind of porn company) filed a lawsuit against me for downloading a porn movie from that website. But, as I recalled, I have never downloaded that kind of porn. (It is possible that someone used my IP address to download the porn). The lawyer also talked about settling the lawsuit for $3,200 or going to court. He suggested that I go find myself a lawyer, and he provided me with his phone number and name. I do not know what I should do. Should I ignore it? or do something about it? Please help me out.

  4. Sued in Texas on November 23, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I also received a call from Bill Higgins with the same message as above but agreeing to a $1600 settlement.
    NO PRIOR letters from ISP or ANY official notices- Just an ‘out of the Blue” phone call.

    **Here are the Players**
    According to Wikipedia and other internet sources Bill Higgins is an actor/producer of hard core gay (Homosexual) pornography and not an attorney. http://www.iafd.com/person.rme/perfid=williamhiggins/gender=m/william-higgins.htm

    Patrick Collins Inc. is a low budget porno movie/Lawsuit generator (See Link for $$Millions Generated)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Collins_(film)

    **The Game**
    It appears that there is a real lawsuit and they do have some proof, I am not sure it would stand up in court or not because I have not seen reports of clients winning. Not winning because they are settling out of court and not going the distance.

    They use prosecuting everyone who shoplifts from Home Depot as an example. Let’s look at that a bit closer. I asked Bill Higgins if (hypothetically) someone associated with them could legally put a movie of theirs out on the interned (Initially seeding the bit Torrent programs) that would be accessible to anyone to download, monitor where the movies/files went and prosecute anyone’s IP who downloaded it and/or transmitted it. His reply is, “Yes, that is possible.”

    So, back to the Home Depot example. What if Home Depot installed cameras to video and identify shoplifters, then left the doors open 24/7 with NO EMPLOYEES even present to take your money, making everything appear free for the taking. Afterwards suing everyone for theft. With a 90% out-of-court settlement rate their profits would skyrocket. That $1.50 item now costs you $2500! Would you be guilty? Yes. Was this entrapment? Pretty much. Was the legal system used for legal extortion? You bet. Will a lawyer represent you? Yes, and the cost would greatly exceed the settlement offered. Is this the case with Patrick Collins and Bill Higgins? I don’t know, but as Bill Higgins said, it could happen (hypothetically).

    What do you do? Your hands are tied, and if you settle you allow this to perpetuate and that is not the intent of the law. If you do not settle, you risk greater financial losses. What can they get? A judgment. A judgment cannot touch many things you have- research judgments

    Additionally, I have spoken to six attorneys (some already representing Defendants of Patrick Collins Inc.) about his and the cost to defend is greater than the settlement. No doubt the plaintiffs know that and it makes the settlement more attractive. So, do you settle?

    I feel like these people are a bunch of sewer rats using the judicial system for profit in one hand, and a bunch of lawyers in the other hand. At least the sewer rats will quote you a firm price, the lawyers may financially bleed you to death. [Strictly my opinions]

    ONE MORE THING: It is fishy to me that they (Bill Higgins and Lionel Matrin Atty Sugarland Tex,) refuse to use the U.S. Mail for their correspondance. What’s up with that? (Mail Fraud?)

  5. jojo on January 11, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    I am in a similar situation.. received a letter from my ISP that provided me access to a document “Notice of Copyright Infringement”….have yet went to Copyright Enforcement Group’s website (www.copyrightsettlements.com) to see “my damages”…

    but what if I already own the DVD but was downloading a digital copy via bittorrent client? (dvd burner is broken on computer, besides, last I checked no one has permission to rip physical media onto their computer) is that still an infringement on their rights? or on mine? concenairng “fair use” or what have you….

    this is bizarre and very frustrating…

  6. Dean on January 26, 2012 at 1:08 am

    I too have received this letter. Call it what you will but it seems more like extortion to me.

    The IP address is mine but the MAC address doesn’t match any device in my house. I have talked to a lawyer but it seems stupid to pay money I don’t have for something I didn’t do.

    Everyone has express frustration but no one has actually said what they plan to do. Are most people just settling?

  7. John Doe on January 26, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    I run a blog dedicated to posting news and views concerning copyright trolls – http://dietrolldie.com/. Many people are settling out of fear and nothing else. Take a look at the facts that the Trolls do not take people to actual trial. They will sure threaten you with that, but it is just scare tactics. I went through the same thing for about a year. The Troll never served me and the case was dismissed. This abusive business model generates hundreds of thousands of dollars and wastes the time of our courts/judges. And don’t let the fancy lawyer talk fool you – they don’t want this to stop, as it is making them (porn producer & Troll) rich. Don’t settle – read and take action.

    DieTrollDie :)
    – also see fightcopyrighttrolls.com

  8. CTVic on January 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Do not be afraid! Do not listen to the lawyer threatening to sue you! Do not speak to the lawyer threatening to sue you!! Do your own independent research, and get a free consult from a KNOWLEDGABLE defense attorney about the possibilities and ramifications of actually being sued in this settlement extortion scheme!!

    Keith Lipscomb is in the business of COLLECTING SETTLEMENTS. Lawyers can tell you anything they want, and are not prohibited from lying, in the name of settlement negotiation. This is a defense that is currently being used by the U.S. Copyright Group after they were sued for Extortion, Fraud and Conspiracy in demanding settlements for the movie Far Cry.

    The lawyer in the U.K., Andrew Crossley, who was a pioneer in this mass-lawsuit scheme BEFORE U.S. Copyright Group even got started is now bankrupt, broke, out of work, and SUSPENDED from practice by British Disciplinary Tribunal. The Davenport Lyons who came before Crossley were slapped even HARDER.

    MAKE NO MISTAKE.

    A Copyright Troll’s evidence is FLAWED. An IP Address that is detected as infringing on a copyrighted work has NO DIRECT CORRELATION to the person whose name is on the ISPs monthly bill.

    Do not succumb to fear! Do not listen to the people sending you threatening letters! Do not listen to the people making threatening calls! CONSULT YOUR OWN ATTORNEY WHO IS KNOWLEDGABLE AND AWARE OF THIS UNETHICAL BUSINESS MODEL OF EXTORTING SETTLEMENTS WITHOUT SUFFICIENT PROOF OF A CRIME!!

  9. SJD on January 26, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    I double DTD and CTVic’s words. After you do your research, I have no doubt that you will be converted from “scared” to “pissed off”.

    This blatant abuse of law must end, and it will end sooner or later. 250,000+ victims were targeted in this extortion scheme in 2011 alone in US.

    1. Stop being scared. You are NOT in danger. If you don’t incriminate yourself, no troll lawyer can extort money from you. There is simply no court-grade evidence, and that’s exactly why trolls use scare tactics. If they had any solid proof of your wrongdoing, they would simply proceed to trial, but they are scared of such perspective as all their “business” will fall apart as a house made of playing cards. 250,000 Does and how many judgments based on their evidence? 0 (Zero).

    2. Ignorance is your main enemy. Educate yourself. Don’t let anyone scare you. Think critically.

    3. Don’t feed the troll. Those who pay out of fear and ignorance do a great disservice to the society. That’s what makes trolls’ “business” lucrative.

    4. Make a buzz. The lady from the first comment was disappointed by GA’s response, but if hundreds of us bombard General Attorneys, Bar associations and press, we will be heard and troll’s demise will be accelerated.

    Good luck to every victim. Stay strong and fight back.

    • john on May 23, 2012 at 9:59 pm

      Here here, I got a notice from patrick collings and then from carroll law firm out of arizona. I told them the date on the paperwork i was not even with centrylink. isp. I was told the normal bull/ he offered us the out of court settlement. We said no We plan on letting this go all the way. All of us like you statted need to stand together and fight. spread the word even if you have settled write everyone you can news, judges, att. general, better bussn. your local and federal represenitive. I plan on starting with the governor of arizona. PEOPLE FIGHT! THIS IS A SCAM

      • nicole on September 25, 2012 at 9:33 pm

        i also received one from patrick colliins. just the part that comcast is going to give them my info. i would love to fight it and end the trolling but how do i do that? as of right now im doing nothing. i realize they are going to get my info and probably file a suit. im not too scared everything ive read has told me its a scam. should i be scared or doing something about my case and what can i do to fight the evil trolls!?

    • John on June 21, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      We also recived a letter from CARROLL law firm of AZ. stated that we were being sued from Ya! YOU GUESSED IT. PATRICK COLLINS. I made the mastake of contacting carroll Law firm. but I told them that no one in our home downloaded this 1 movie. Of course they did not care. After exstinsive research I found out you should not have called them at all, but at the time we figured it was a joke. The more I read about Collins the mader I get. These trolls are destroying lives and reputations for money. Then also I recived a sencond letter with the option to seattle out of court for $3900. My first thought was if they have a strong enough case to take me to court and win between $30,000 to $150,000 then why are they asking to seattle for $3900. Also we looked at when this was suppost to have happened and found out that we were not even home at the time, we were at a fund raiser for x mas and can prove it. I was told by an attorney to only contact them 1 more time and ask for a copy of the orginal date collins filed for a copy right of the movie in question. Also here in AZ the same case was dismissed and the scum office of Carroll law refiled it and had it moved. Todate I have found 59 seperate law suits from Collins in 7 differnt states. If you google copyright infringments he is listed on every page. That tells me it’s a huge scam and I cannot belive someone has not been able to stop him. ALSO HAS ANYONE FOUND 1 CASE THAT HAS GONE TO TRIAL. IF SO PLEASE POST IT SO THE REST OF US FIGHTING CAN USE THE INFO ON OUR CASE. WE PLAN ON FIGHTING HIM. LIke the person up above we need to write to all of the attorney generals in every state you can find that he has filed a sueit so they can see a pattern. good luck everyone. Its people like this that will ruin the internet. Dont settle and make hime take all of us to court because its a huge expense for him also and if he looses you can counter sue for your time and attornys fees.

  10. defendant123 on February 2, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    hi , i received similar letter from my ISP saying some production company has filed a federal lawsuit and has asked for my identity details throough court order … I see there are around 4000 other who received same letter … Since getting this letter me and my wife are very disturbed as we know we didnt do it .. but we want this thing to go away ASAP due to personal reasons … dont know about what course of action to take ?? wont lawyering up be expensive than settling out of court ??

  11. John Doe on February 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I just recieved a call from a Mike Thornton out of CA today! My case was out of Miami Patrick COllins v.John Does 1-915. At first I was scared but as I have done more and more research on this I am less scared and more annoyed by this whole thing! I also know that no one in my house downloaded any porn. I think its ridiculous that any courts would even allow any of these cases to go to court!

  12. Joey on February 22, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Okay, so I will not say if I do or do not download movies online illegally, but if I were too download a file from the internet could my following simulating situation ever incriminate me? If I download the file to an external drive of which I remove from the actually computer and leave somewhere outside of my house, could they say I actual downloaded it even if it came from my computer? So even if they were not able to find the file or if I were to delete it could I get in trouble for it? And also is true that movies to download over the internet can be slowed by a mere frame per second to technically make it a new pierce or work, therefore it is no longer that copy righted item?Also if I were to get it from a Swedish site?

    • George Gombossy on February 23, 2012 at 11:46 am

      Don’t illegally download movies. Period. Companies can track it through your IP address. Doesn’t matter where you put the movie, you may have to prove you didn’t download it, they don’t have to prove you have it.

  13. Ben on March 29, 2012 at 11:05 am

    George is clear whose side you are on?
    This is pure extortion.
    Why haven’t you investigated it?
    Some of this movies make more money sueing than actual sales.
    Would you put an inocent person to death?
    Of course not.

    These are civil claims, and suits.
    They file 100’s at a time.
    The laws need to be changed.
    Instead the copyright laws are getting tougher.
    What’s next laws suit because people are pirating “Happy Birthday”.
    I noticed nobody complained when the law entending copyrights form 75 to 100 years. You think any of the authors are alive?
    BTW no matter what you are making the lawyers who made these stupid laws rich.

  14. s. stingle on April 10, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Is there any lawyer or group in NY that is handling these kind of cases? How much do they charge?

  15. Neil Gale on August 2, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    i illegally downloaded 452 movies and 8232 mp3 songs so far COME GET SOME!

  16. Digit Embroidery on November 12, 2012 at 6:20 am

    I am in a identical scenario.. obtained a page from my ISP that offered me entry to a papers “Notice of Trademark Infringement”The attorney in the U.K., Phil Crossley, who was a innovator in this mass-lawsuit plan BEFORE U.S. Trademark Team even got began is now split, split, out of perform, and SUSPENDED from exercise by English Disciplinary Tribunal. The Davenport Lyons who came before Crossley were smacked even HARDER.

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