Feeds

Smut-spreading copyright trolls lose John Doe case

US Appeals Court smacks down AF Holdings

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Notorious copyright troll AF Holdings has had a second “copyright shakedown” smacked down, with the US Court of Appeals denying it access to end user data.

The decision seriously undermines the model by which many copyright trolling operations function. AF Holdings had sought the names and addresses of more than a thousand John Does on the basis of IP addresses it claimed had downloaded copyrighted porn movies.

The next step of the operation is to send letters to the targets demanding payment, with a threat to commence court action in a jurisdiction of AF Holdings' choice. Faced with both the likely cost of legal action and the remoteness of the court, many of the targets would simply pay up.

According to Bloomberg, the appeal court decided that the attempt to sue users for downloading the skin-flick Popular Demand in the District of Columbia because few of the targets lived in that jurisdiction, and because “it’s unlikely any connection exists among all of the Internet addresses subject to the subpoena”.

As the Electronic Frontiers Foundation says in this media release, AF Holdings had won the approval of a lower court to obtain the identities it sought, but the EFF, the ACLU, Public Citizen and Public Knowledge joined forces to take the case to appeal.

The EFF release notes that “it is unfair to sue thousands of people at once, in a court far from home, based on nothing more than an allegation that they joined a BitTorrent swarm”.

AF Holdings' last smackdown was in November 2013, when the US District Court of Minnesota found that it hadn't demonstrated ownership of the content claimed in a previous shakedown. That court ordered that the company return the money it had obtained from punters, as well as paying their legal costs.

That ruling, however, didn't stop one of the two movies, Popular Demand, being the subject of the Columbia and then US Court of Appeals case.

AF Holdings was represented by Paul Duffy, who at the previous lower court hearings as associated with Prenda Law. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.