ExpressVPN

Just one porn related copyright troll files 40 percent of copyright lawsuits

Malibu Media is an odious law firm that we have had the displeasure of writing about in relation to its practice of copyright trolling downloaders of porn films before (see here and here).

It now turns out that in 2013 alone, Malibu Media filed 1,141 court cases, and researcher Matthew Sag found that,

Malibu Media filed 343 out of the 872 US copyright claims in Q1 2014. That’s almost 40% of filings! The Copyright system is clearly working.

Sag has published a paper, ‘Copyright Trolling, An Empirical Study’, which crunches a lot of data on the subject ‘showing the astonishing rate of growth of multi-defendant John Doe litigation in United States district courts over the past decade’. Most notably, Sag finds ‘new evidence of the association between this form of litigation and allegations of infringement concerning pornographic films.’

porn lawsuits

To explain the prevalence of pornography in copyright trolling cases (defined as ‘such litigation, when initiated with the aim of turning a profit in the courthouse as opposed to seeking compensation or deterring illegal activity, reflects a kind of systematic opportunism that fits squarely within the concept of litigation trolling’) Sag finds that,

  1. The ‘explanation is simply that the economics of copyright trolling are particularly well suited to pornography because the plaintiff can threaten accused infringers with public exposure in addition to statutory damages. This additional incentive to settle can fundamentally transform the viability of such an enterprise.’ And,
  2. ‘A significant amount of this litigation has been initiated by a small number of entrepreneurial lawyers and plaintiffs.’

Sag concludes by suggesting a number of reforms aimed at redressing the balance of justice away from opportunistic law firms, such as limiting the amount of damages the plaintiff can seek or threaten to seek, the appointment of an independent attorney to supervise the process, the option for defendants to have an express mini-trial on their ‘it wasn’t me’ defences, and the right for defendants to maintain their anonymity, at least until the case is found against them.

As the MDJD [Multi-defendant John Doe] cases show, statutory damages stack the deck in favor of the plaintiff such that the underlying liability of the defendant is effectively irrelevant to the settlement calculation.’


Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. Find me on Google+

Related Coverage


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *