Another Federal Court Sanctions Lawyers For Filing Porn Copyright Infringement


MALIBU MEDIA, LLC v. John Doe, Dist. Court, ED Wisconsin 2013 – Google Scholar.

This is another chapter in the legal warfare over copyright infringement in the adult film context. The district court sanctioned counsel for the plaintiff $200 for each case it filed on the ground that the complaint used inflammatory exhibits to intimidate and coerce settlements.

The court explains the rationale:

In these and many other cases filed in federal courts all over the country, Malibu Media is suing individuals for illegally downloading their copyrighted adult films. The pattern that emerged, both here and elsewhere, is that Malibu Media would sue an anonymous defendant associated with an Internet Protocol address and then attach an exhibit to its complaint listing a large number of downloaded titles that do not correspond to the copyrights-in-suit. See Complaints, Exhibit C. Some of these titles are crude, obscene, and pornographic, much more so than the works copyrighted by Malibu Media, a purveyor of “sophisticated erotica.”[1] Thus, an initially anonymous defendant, who may or may not be guilty of infringing Malibu Media’s copyrights, would likely feel pressured to enter a quick settlement to avoid having his or her name associated with a particularly embarrassing list of pornographic films….

Finally, the entirety of Malibu Media’s litigation conduct strongly suggests that Exhibit C was filed for an improper purpose. According to a PACER search, Malibu Media has filed over a thousand cases thus far in 2013.[4] The Court doubts that Malibu Media has the resources to fully litigate even a fraction of this amount of cases. Malibu Media has the legal right to enforce its copyrights, but the sheer number of lawsuits corroborates the Court’s belief that Exhibit C was being filed to coerce quick and early settlements. Malibu Media explains that at the beginning of 2013, it stopped suing people in joined suits and began to sue defendants on an individual basis.”

The adult film infringement cases have spawned a great deal of litigation. Many have come to regard the cases as acts of extortion or as efforts to blackmail and intimidate defendants. The federal courts have begun to ask questions of the lawyers who filed these cases, cases that those lawyers have not been able to satisfactorily answer. Why include an exhibit that the defendant did not download if you are suing for copyright infringement?

Edward X. Clinton, Jr.

 

 

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