From Cell publicity. Davis sued John Does that had stolen the 2016 movie Cell..
  • From Cell publicity. Davis sued John Does that had stolen the 2016 movie Cell..
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Catching thieves who steal and distribute movies using BitTorrent software is a difficult business. San Diego County attorney James Davis last year sued John and Jane Does that had stolen a movie called Cell. Early this year, he thew in the towel; he couldn't locate the pilferers.

Now he is getting a hair of the dog. On June 13 in federal court, Davis filed a suit against a group of individuals and institutions who allegedly used false information to lure him into the business of catching movie filchers. The group getting sued is called the Copyright Litigation Campaign, whose purpose is to sue and collect funds from those stealing movies and distributing them.

Davis had filed 58 cases on behalf of the Copyright Litigation Campaign when he decided he had been hoodwinked. In the suit, Davis said he was "unfamiliar" with such litigation and the campaign "made numerous false representations" to lure him in.

As far back as February, 2014, the publication Mother Jones reported that thousands of suits had been filed against people using BitTorrent, but judges were then getting skeptical of such litigation.

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Comments

Cassander June 19, 2017 @ 1:57 p.m.

I don't know. "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me 57 more times, more shame on you" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

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Don Bauder June 19, 2017 @ 9:24 p.m.

Cassander: True. His 58 filings suggest he was a little slow to realize he was being conned. Still, these groups filed suits rapidly. He was probably following instructions. Best, Don Bauder

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swell June 19, 2017 @ 2:22 p.m.

Graduating from law school isn't the road to fame and fortune it once was. Too many attorneys despite the bar assn attempts to cull the herd. New lawyers struggle for work, and this may be one of those sad cases of desperation. There is also a big question about suspicious law schools and the ignorant young people who expect good results when they enroll.

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Don Bauder June 19, 2017 @ 9:25 p.m.

swell: Davis argues that he is an immigration lawyer and this line of work was not familiar to him. Best, Don Bauder

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SportsFan0000 June 19, 2017 @ 9:10 p.m.

It took this guy 57 suits to realize that he was being scammed?! Remind me not to hire this guy. You don't always get what you pay for...

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Don Bauder June 19, 2017 @ 9:26 p.m.

SportsFan0000: He is an immigration lawyer and perhaps not used to fast-fire filing of lawsuits in this business. Best, Don Bauder

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SportsFan0000 June 20, 2017 @ 8:30 a.m.

It was his duty to get up to speed on an area he was not familiar with if he chose to litigate in that area OR Associate with a competent counsel with experience in that area.

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Don Bauder June 20, 2017 @ 7:11 p.m.

SportsFan0000: Yes, I do not find a lawyer pleading that he was unfamiliar with the field in which he was working a compelling argument. Lawyers shouldn't succeed when arguing they were unfamiliar with the subject. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi June 20, 2017 @ 9:49 a.m.

John Doe lawsuits with little to go on but an IP address is a losing game. Unless the lawyer has a very talented expert to sleuth out the networking connections and convince a judge. IP addresses are often dynamic, so they change. They may also be spoofed. They may also be downloading the files in another country (outside of U.S. jurisdiction and treaties). And at then end of the road if you find the movie thief, what damages can you collect? If he can't afford popcorn and a movie, I think not much.

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Don Bauder June 20, 2017 @ 7:14 p.m.

Ponzi: That's an interesting thought: what kind of damages could you collect if you are lucky enough to catch a thief? I think that because billions are stolen in this area, the entertainment industry is just trying to make some noise to see if that thwarts the thieves. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi June 20, 2017 @ 8:20 p.m.

Don,

You have a point. I may be oversimplifying it. But I can download pirated software or movies, but I don’t. I guess some of these movie files could end up on DVD’s that are copied by the thousands and sold in the streets and bazaars of Bangkok or Beijing. Then it requires footwork to go to these exchanges and work your way up the distribution chain until you can snag a big fish. But trying to track the crime from an IP address is a complete waste of time and involves such technical testimony that the jury (and judge) doesn’t comprehend it.

These kinds of cases usually never reach trial so they are settled. But how do you settle a case with a 14 year old in some random city in Asia? That is what this lawyer is most likely up against. Those billions in losses that the Hollywood studios claim are done one download at a time. I also don’t feel sorry for Hollywood. They seem to all be doing okay even if some kid in Bangladesh is downloading Wonder Woman.

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Don Bauder June 21, 2017 @ 6:16 a.m.

Ponzi: You make very good points. The chase may be futile. Best, Don Bauder

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