Copyright Lawyers Sued by Copyright Infringers

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
45,698
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Copyright Lawyers Sued by Copyright Infringers


The U.S. Copyright Group and the law firm of Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver, who recently demanded sanctions [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/105651-Copyright-Lawyers-Sue-Lawyer-Who-Helped-Copyright-Defendants] against a lawyer who offered cheap assistance to people accused of copyright infringement, are now facing a class-action lawsuit filed by those very same people.

Earlier this year the United States Copyright Group issued threats of lawsuits to "tens of thousands" of people it claimed had illegally downloaded movies including Far Cry [http://www.amazon.com/Hurt-Locker-Blu-ray-Jeremy-Renner/dp/B00275EGX8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1290795359&sr=8-2]. When an attorney began offering cheap "self-help" documents to people who couldn't afford to hire lawyers fight the action in the courts, the USCG's law firm Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver demanded sanctions against him, to the tune of $5000.

But now the tables appear to have been turned, as the USCG and its lawyers have themselves been sued by the alleged Far Cry downloaders, who charge that the defendants are engaging in extortion, fraudulent omission, mail fraud, wire fraud, racketeering, abuse of process, copyright misuse and a laundry list of other unpleasantness. The gist of the accusation is this: Dunlapp, Grubb and Weaver promotes itself to prospective film industry clients as being able to "obtain settlement," not win judgments, and makes millions by threatening thousands of lawsuits that it has no intention of actually prosecuting and, with only 13 lawyers on staff, couldn't even if it wanted to.

"USCG tells prospective clients that civil prosecution of copyright claims has not been 'practical,' in light of the financial stats of individual infringers," the lawsuit claims. "Settlement fraud has proven far more practical for Defendants. Defendants use the demand letters and other means to coerce settlements, routinely demanding $1500 from each recipient, increasing to $2500 if not sent promptly, under deceptive threats of impending (and even more expensive) litigation."

The lawsuit claims that the "DGW revenue model" doesn't require that its individual cases have any merit, or that the people accused of infringing on its clients' copyrights actually be guilty at all. "DGW is well aware of the extremity of the damages awards it claims in its demand letters, and that its 'settlement offer' is less expensive than attorneys would charge merely to begin a litigation defense," the suit says. "Nonetheless, DGW capitalizes on fear and aims to intimidate, such that even non-infringers will be likely to pay up rather than risk higher fees and damages."

Like all good lawsuits, this one demands a host of various damages and injunctions, but its real significance is way beyond that. If successful, the action might not just end the USCG rampage but change the very nature of copyright infringement legal actions. If law firms are required to operate within their means, so to speak, and must be ready and able to litigate every case they threaten, it could make the prospect of engaging in these carpet-bombing campaigns prohibitively expensive even for the most deep-pocketed plaintiffs, or, more likely, bring the practice to an end altogether.

A full copy of the class-action lawsuit being filed against the U.S. Copyright Group, Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver and other defendants can be found at TorrentFreak [http://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-lawyers-sued-for-fraud-abuse-and-extortion-101129/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Torrentfreak+%28Torrentfreak%29].


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kaizen2468

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Nov 20, 2009
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If what this post says is true and they're fear mongers intimidating people into settling, I hope they get destroyed in this.
 

MurderousToaster

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Aug 9, 2008
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This seems to be turning into a rather large and confusing string of lawsuits.

Next thing you know, a unicorn may have sued them all for stealing its cheesecake.
 

vrbtny

New member
Sep 16, 2009
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MurderousToaster said:
This seems to be turning into a rather large and confusing string of lawsuits.

Next thing you know, a unicorn may have sued them all for stealing its cheesecake.
Dammit I wanted Vannila Cheescake, not Bannana cheescake!!

OT: Arhg, pirates me-hearies!!
 
Apr 28, 2008
14,634
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Wait, so the assholes who started suing everyone are now getting sued by the people that they sued?

Sweet. I think.

EDIT: Oh, also...

 

sir.rutthed

Stormfather take you!
Nov 10, 2009
979
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Finally, proof that there is still some modicum of justice in the American legal system. Weird to actually see someone suing for a legitimate reason rather than extortion though.
 

antipunt

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Jan 3, 2009
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*watches the dice roll*

c'mon!c'mon!c'mon!c'mon!c'mon!c'mon!c'mon!c'mon!c'mon!c'mon!c'mon!
 

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
45,698
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Good news, of course.

I don't care that those people are pirates, this sort of legalistic bullying is a bad thing.
 
Jul 22, 2009
3,596
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MurderousToaster said:
This seems to be turning into a rather large and confusing string of lawsuits.

Next thing you know, a unicorn may have sued them all for stealing its cheesecake.
I wonder if I can sue them for wasting my time by reading about their actions... that'd work right?

OT: I'm no longer sure who to root for... go team unicorn!
 

Canadamus Prime

Robot in Disguise
Jun 17, 2009
14,334
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kaizen2468 said:
If what this post says is true and they're fear mongers intimidating people into settling, I hope they get destroyed in this.
I hear that! This nonsense couldn't come to an end soon enough!
 

runedeadthA

New member
Feb 18, 2009
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Aw man, this is turning out pretty awesome. The only way this could get better (apart from aforementioned Unicorn) is if Judge Dredd Busts in the court shouting "I AM THE LAW!"
 

deth2munkies

New member
Jan 28, 2009
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Fuck the piracy is wrong or right part of this story, this is some brilliant legal maneuvering. It's 100% true that these RIAA, USCD, MPAA, and other agencies have no possible way to back up every lawsuit threat with an actual suit, and if they're required to do so (I don't know the federal or state laws on this atm, but I'll be researching), then it'd destroy their whole fearmongering campaign.

Also:

Sup dawg, we heard you liked lawsuits, so we sued you for your suit so you can sue while you sue.
 

dragontiers

The Temporally Displaced
Feb 26, 2009
497
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Andy Chalk said:
If law firms are required to operate within their means, so to speak, and must be ready and able to litigate every case they threaten, it could make the prospect of engaging in these carpet-bombing campaigns prohibitively expensive even for the most deep-pocketed plaintiffs, or, more likely, bring the practice to an end altogether.
Maybe it's my own nievitie, but I'm of the opinion law firms should do this anyways. That's just me though. This is also where their "blood-sucker" reputation comes from. I find the whole practice disgraceful.
 

Sir Subtle

New member
Jul 24, 2009
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Irridium said:
Wait, so the assholes who started suing everyone are now getting sued by the people that they sued?

Sweet. I think.

EDIT: Oh, also...

'This video contains content from Vevo, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds'

Classic.
 

mjc0961

YOU'RE a pie chart.
Nov 30, 2009
3,847
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I'd say "Good job sticking it to them", but I have to remember that they are still people who are illegally downloading stuff instead of purchasing it. Both sides in this are the bad guys and I hope a way is found for them to both lose.
 

Delusibeta

Reachin' out...
Mar 7, 2010
2,594
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mjc0961 said:
I'd say "Good job sticking it to them", but I have to remember that they are still people who are illegally downloading stuff instead of purchasing it. Both sides in this are the bad guys and I hope a way is found for them to both lose.
They're accused of downloading illegal content. With accused by the main word here. AFAIK there was not much in the way of proof.
 

Choppaduel

New member
Mar 20, 2009
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This is truly good news.

Suck on that lawyers, your own system knows is better than you.
 

Dastardly

Imaginary Friend
Apr 19, 2010
2,420
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Andy Chalk said:
Copyright Lawyers Sued by Copyright Infringers


The U.S. Copyright Group and the law firm of Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver, who recently demanded sanctions [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/105651-Copyright-Lawyers-Sue-Lawyer-Who-Helped-Copyright-Defendants] against a lawyer who offered cheap assistance to people accused of copyright infringement, are now facing a class-action lawsuit filed by those very same people.

Earlier this year the United States Copyright Group issued threats of lawsuits to "tens of thousands" of people it claimed had illegally downloaded movies including Far Cry [http://www.amazon.com/Hurt-Locker-Blu-ray-Jeremy-Renner/dp/B00275EGX8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1290795359&sr=8-2]. When an attorney began offering cheap "self-help" documents to people who couldn't afford to hire lawyers fight the action in the courts, the USCG's law firm Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver demanded sanctions against him, to the tune of $5000.

But now the tables appear to have been turned, as the USCG and its lawyers have themselves been sued by the alleged Far Cry downloaders, who charge that the defendants are engaging in extortion, fraudulent omission, mail fraud, wire fraud, racketeering, abuse of process, copyright misuse and a laundry list of other unpleasantness. The gist of the accusation is this: Dunlapp, Grubb and Weaver promotes itself to prospective film industry clients as being able to "obtain settlement," not win judgments, and makes millions by threatening thousands of lawsuits that it has no intention of actually prosecuting and, with only 13 lawyers on staff, couldn't even if it wanted to.

"USCG tells prospective clients that civil prosecution of copyright claims has not been 'practical,' in light of the financial stats of individual infringers," the lawsuit claims. "Settlement fraud has proven far more practical for Defendants. Defendants use the demand letters and other means to coerce settlements, routinely demanding $1500 from each recipient, increasing to $2500 if not sent promptly, under deceptive threats of impending (and even more expensive) litigation."

The lawsuit claims that the "DGW revenue model" doesn't require that its individual cases have any merit, or that the people accused of infringing on its clients' copyrights actually be guilty at all. "DGW is well aware of the extremity of the damages awards it claims in its demand letters, and that its 'settlement offer' is less expensive than attorneys would charge merely to begin a litigation defense," the suit says. "Nonetheless, DGW capitalizes on fear and aims to intimidate, such that even non-infringers will be likely to pay up rather than risk higher fees and damages."

Like all good lawsuits, this one demands a host of various damages and injunctions, but its real significance is way beyond that. If successful, the action might not just end the USCG rampage but change the very nature of copyright infringement legal actions. If law firms are required to operate within their means, so to speak, and must be ready and able to litigate every case they threaten, it could make the prospect of engaging in these carpet-bombing campaigns prohibitively expensive even for the most deep-pocketed plaintiffs, or, more likely, bring the practice to an end altogether.

A full copy of the class-action lawsuit being filed against the U.S. Copyright Group, Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver and other defendants can be found at TorrentFreak [http://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-lawyers-sued-for-fraud-abuse-and-extortion-101129/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Torrentfreak+%28Torrentfreak%29].


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Gaming the legal system is just as bad as piracy.
 

JordanMillward_1

New member
May 19, 2009
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As a trainee solicitor in the UK that wants to get into Intellectual Property Law, I just want to say...

Good. These companies and lawfirms that accuse people of IP theft and don't in any way intend to back up their claims with actual evidence or cases brought to court deserve to be sued into oblivion. Those bloodsucking parasites are one of the major reasons the legal profession is hated by gamers, and I hope that this case will help stop the huge number of allegations being thrown out every month by some of these advocacy groups and publishers.