QOTD Film Investment, Ltd. lawsuits come to Colorado and elsewhere

Queen of the Desert or “QOTD” was a 2015 American film starring Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson, and James Franco and directed by Werner Herzog. The story is about Gertrude Bell, the British traveller, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer and political officer following her from her 20’s up through her death. While the subject of the story has a colorful interesting life, the means in which it was portrayed in the film was more like a docudrama and less like a big budget film. Unfortunately the film did not perform as well at the box office as the producers may have liked. As a result, the film company has filed several lawsuits across the United States including Colorado against Bit Torrent users for alleged copyright infringement. If you are in receipt of a subpoena from your ISP in relation to QOTD or Queen of the Desert (not to be confused with Queen of the Damned), then contact one of our attorneys for a free consultation with a Bit Torrent copyright defense lawyer today. Here is a list of the west coast filings for QOTD in federal court.

Southern District of California
QOTD Film Investment Ltd. v. Doe 3:16-cv-00749
QOTD Film Investment Ltd. v. Doe 3:16-cv-00756
QOTD Film Investment Ltd. v. Doe 3:16-cv-00759
QOTD Film Investment Ltd. v. Doe 3:16-cv-00773
QOTD Film Investment Ltd. v. Doe 3:16-cv-00926

District of Colorado
QOTD Film Investment Ltd. v. Doe 1 et al 1:16-cv-01366
QOTD Film Investment Ltd. v. Doe 1 et al 1:16-cv-01260

District of Nevada
QOTD Film Investment Ltd. v. Does 1-30 2:16-cv-00928
QOTD Film Investment Ltd. v. Does 1-37 2:16-cv-00929

District Court of Oregon
QOTD Film Investment Ltd. v. Doe 3:16-cv-00930
QOTD Film Investment Ltd. v. Doe 3:16-cv-00523
QOTD Film Investment Ltd. v. Doe 3:16-cv-00524
QOTD Film Investment Ltd. v. Doe 3:16-cv-00525
QOTD Film Investment Ltd. v. Does 1-7 3:16-cv-00246
QOTD Film Investment Ltd. v. Doe 3:16-cv-00715

Western District of Washington
QOTD Film Investment Ltd. v. Doe et al 2:16-cv-00371

LHF Productions, Inc. sue downloaders in Colorado, California, Washington State for copyright infringement

LHF Productions, Inc. or “London Has Fallen” is a Nevada company who produced and distributed the recent action movie London Has Fallen starring Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman. While LHF won’t win an Oscar for Best Picture, it is an entertaining movie that people want to watch. Being unsatisfied with the number of people sharing the movie via Bit Torrent, LHF Productions has taken upon itself to start suing downloaders for copyright infringement in federal court in states such as Colorado, Washington, California, Oregon and elsewhere.

ISPs have begun to receive subpoenas because the Plaintiffs have initiated expedited discovery to ascertain the identities of the John Does. If you are in receipt of a subpoena issued from a federal court sent by your ISP, then you or someone in your household is a target of this Plaintiff. Before contacting the Plaintiff, it is highly important to discuss this matter with an experienced copyright attorney. Wessels & Arsenault offers experienced copyright infringement defense regarding online activities. Our attorneys know more about computers and the internet than most other attorneys and can use that to their advantage. If you are in receipt of a subpoena stating they will turn over your personal information in this or another Bit Torrent copyright infringement lawsuit, contact us at 303-459-7898 for a free consultation with an experienced Bit Torrent copyright defense attorney.

In Colorado, the case numbers are:

LHF Productions Inc. v. Does 1-19 16-cv-01309

LHF Productions Inc. v. Does 1-10 16-cv-01230

In California, the case numbers are:

LHF Productions, Inc v. Doe 3:16-cv-01157

LHF Productions, Inc v. Doe 3:16-cv-01158

LHF Productions, Inc v. Doe 3:16-cv-01035

LHF Productions, Inc v. Doe 3:16-cv-01045

LHF Productions, Inc v. Doe 3:16-cv-00999

In Oregon, the case numbers are:

LHF Productions, Inc v. Doe 3:16-cv-00745

LHF Productions, Inc v. Doe 3:16-cv-00746

LHF Productions, Inc v. Doe 3:16-cv-00716

LHF Productions, Inc v. Doe 3:16-cv-00717

LHF Productions, Inc v. Doe 3:16-cv-00591

LHF Productions, Inc v. Doe 3:16-cv-00592

LHF Productions, Inc v. Doe 3:16-cv-00594

LHF Productions, Inc v. Doe 3:16-cv-00595

In Washington State, the case numbers are:

LHF Productions, Inc v. Doe 1 – 16 2:16-cv-00621

LHF Productions, Inc v. Doe 1 – 17 2:16-cv-00623

LHF Productions, Inc v. Doe 1 – 17 2:16-cv-00551

LHF Productions, Inc v. Doe 1 – 10 2:16-cv-00552

 

Production company Clear Skies Nevada LLC sues Colorado residents for allegedly downloading “Good Kill”

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Although released last year, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) drama Good Kill directed by Andrew Niccol (Gattaca) and starring Ethan Hawke is the center of attention regarding recent lawsuits filed in Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin. Internet subscribers have begun to receive subpoenas from their internet service providers informing them of the pending order to disclose their personal information. The accused are alleged to have used the Bit Torrent network to distribute the film.

Unfortunately these letters are serious and reflect an actual lawsuit that has been filed in U.S. Federal District Court for copyright infringement. These letters do not also tell a subscriber what their options are. Please do not ignore these letters and instead contact an attorney to discuss with you the various options you have. Our attorneys have handled countless numbers of Bit Torrent related cases and can likely help you out by explaining to you your options so you can at least make an informed decision about how to handle the subpoena. Contact a Colorado Bit Torrent defense attorney today to talk about your options via a free consultation. Our number is 303-459-7898

Cobbler Nevada, LLC comes to Colorado to sue for Bit Torrent downloads

Cobbler Nevada, LLC is currently suing multiple defendants in the State of Colorado over the film “The Cobbler” starring Adam Sandler for a Bit Torrent download. According to wikipedia.org, The Cobbler grossed a whopping $24,000 in domestic revenue after it was released in March of 2015 with a budget estimated to be about $10,000,000.00. So, in order to recoup that the holding company appears to have created a LLC with the right to sue under certain circumstances. The early discovery subpoenas for these lawsuits went out late last month and early this month to Comcast and Centurylink. If you received a letter for Cobbler Nevada, LLC from your ISP stating that they will disclose your information if you do not act by a certain date, please contact our law firm for a free consultation with an experienced copyright infringement attorney.

New Bit Torrent Plaintiffs Good Man Productions, Inc. and Poplar Oaks, Inc.

Although it has been a while since we posted a new article on our website, a lot has changed. First, there are a lot more copyright lawsuits out there in federal court as related to Bit Torrent downloads, and people are searching for answers. Over the years, our law firm has defended hundreds of individuals against these types of Bit Torrent copyright lawsuits.

Good Man Productions produced a movie in 2014 starring Steven Seagal called “A Good Man.” Interestingly, the film was owned by Voltage Pictures (maker of the Hurt Locker), and so they decided to continue their trend of suing individuals for allegedly downloading the content through Bit Torrent (very different from their original strategy of suing thousands in a single forum).

Poplar Oaks, Inc. produced a 2014 film called Puncture Wounds starring Chung Le and Dolph Lundgren. The film is an action movie about a veteran who experiences PTSD after returning home from Iraq. While we cannot comment on the quality of the film, downloads via Bit Torrent are certainly being flagged by monitoring companies.

The attorneys at Wessels & Arsenault, LLC are already helping clients currently involved. If you are being contacted by your ISP or one of these Plaintiffs about a lawsuit, please contact us for a free consultation with one of our copyright infringement defense attorneys. We have a number of strategies that we can consider to help minimize the Plaintiff’s claim and hopefully reach a dismissal.

 

 

Dallas Buyers Club, LLC (DBC) continues to sue Colorado residents for alleged use of Bit Torrent or Popcorn Time

Dallas Buyers Club
While Dallas Buyers Club was the recipient of multiple film awards, the owners have continued to seek compensation from individuals accused of downloading Dallas Buyers Club without paying the proper license. Most of these downloads are identified from Bit Torrent or the movie watching service Popcorn Time, with alleged download dates occurring during 2014-2015. While the Plaintiffs may use software that determine the IP address of the sharer, it is not always accurate. Unfortunately the subscriber to the ISP ends up being the recipient of the letter despite the activity occurring without their knowledge. John Arsenault has worked against Dallas Buyers Club and defended countless individuals in Colorado and elsewhere accused of downloading the movie since 2013. For more information see the following 9 news story and interview published in 2014 about one of his clients.

http://www.9news.com/story/news/local/2014/12/26/dallas-buyers-club-lawesuit-colorado-pirating/20923933/

The USPTO and DOJ squabble over DNA patents

Last week, the DOJ submitted a court filing that proposed to substantially limit the ability of genes to be patented at the USPTO.  The submission was made in response to the dispute between Myriad Genetics who is defending their patents on isolated DNA sequences in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.   The ACLU and others are attempting to invalidate the patents, arguing that genes should not be patentable subject matter.  The matter is now pending at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), and will likely be decided later this year or early next year.

Other major patent offices such as the EPO severely limit what can be claimed regarding genes and genetic treatments, so the USPTO is the office currently taking the contrarian approach to gene patents.  Myriad argues that the ability to patent genes in the United States contributed to the growth in biotechnology sector over the past twenty years and that growth could be hindered if gene patents are no longer permissible.  Myriad also states that gene patents are necessary because they help protect the multi-million dollar investments into their biotechnology innovations.  In spite of the recent DOJ court filing, the USPTO states that for the time being they do not have any plans at this time to change their rules on gene patents.

We’ve already talked in detail about the Myriad decision at the District Court level here.  The brief recently submitted by the DOJ coming out against Myriad’s position shines some light on the current administration’s view on the patentability of genes. You can bet that whoever loses at the CAFC level will appeal the case to the Supreme Court.  Although the submission by the DOJ is the latest salvo in the battle into whether gene sequences are patentable subject matter, there will be much more to come as the case is eventually decided by the Supreme Court.

Federal judge rules in favor of Microsoft in 2004 video game patent lawsuit

In 2004, several Michigan inventors sued Microsoft and Sony asserting U.S. Patent #5,292,125 an “apparatus and method for electrically connecting remotely located video games.”  Specifically targeted were Microsoft’s Xbox Live service and Sony’s Playstation Network.  The allegations were that the companies infringed the plaintiff’s patents seeking an injunction and royalties.

The patent discloses “a video game communication assembly for communicating command signals between a local video game and at least one remote video game.”  Unlike Microsoft who decided to challenge the substance of the argument raised by the patent holders, Sony settled out of court for an undisclosed sum in 2009.

The decision to settle was unfortunate for Sony because last week, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Borman ruled in favor of the remaining defendant Microsoft, dismissing the plaintiff’s challenges and permitting Microsoft to recover legal fees from the plaintiffs.  In the opinion, Borman questioned the interpretation of  “electrical connection” given that the Xbox didn’t use an electrical connection to communicate between players.  Although the Xbox Live network utilized electrical signals, the Judge found that the technology in question didn’t rely on an “electrical connection” as described by the patent.  Had the game systems connected via an electric connection (which most systems don’t), the decision may have easily gone the other way.

The lesson to take from the events of last week is if you are Sony not to settle when you have a good legal argument.  If you are Microsoft, the lesson is if you have a good argument, keep arguing it, it may end up more profitable than settling.  When litigating a complex patent, it is difficult to receive quality advice without a good patent attorney on your side.  The lawyers at the law firm of Wessels & Arsenault can provide such sound advice if you are facing possible or actual patent litigation.

Copyright Office rules that “jailbreaking” a smartphone doesn’t infringe copyright laws

Every three years the US Copyright Office via the Librarian of Congress reviews hot copyright issues to ensure that the copyright laws stay current as applied to specific technologies.  The rulemaking statute was part of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  The Librarian’s rulemaking power comes from 17 USC 1201(a)(1).    The Register of Copyrights provides recommendations about the specific questions that the Librarian can choose to enact.  http://www.copyright.gov/1201/.  Because findings are issued only every three years, yesterday’s decisions are especially interesting.

During this session, the Librarian inquired into whether “the prohibition on circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works is causing or is likely to cause adverse effects on the ability of users of any particular classes of copyrighted works to make non-infringing uses of those works.”  One specific question for the Librarian was whether owners of smartphones can modify (“jailbreak”) their device to use unauthorized applications.  The concept of “jailbreaking” involves modifying the OS of your smartphone to permit any number of modifications or customizations to the software.

Apple first argued in opposition that the rulemaking section of the statute did not protect unauthorized modifications to smartphones such as jailbreaking.  This was because the section was only supposed to apply when the copyright owner’s interests aren’t harmed from the reported infringing activity.  The substance of Apple’s argument however, was that “jailbreaking” a smart phone should result in copyright infringement which includes liability of up to $2500 USD per violation and possible jail time for willful infringement.  Apple’s argument is that jailbreaking phones results in pirated intellectual property, decreased performance, and an increase in support costs for smartphone manufacturers.  Moreover, no fair use argument existed according to Apple because jailbreaking a phone diminishes the value of the copyrighted works (in this case the OS).  http://www.copyright.gov/1201/2008/responses/apple-inc-31.pdf.

Proponents of jailbreaking (the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) amongst others) argued that jailbreaking a smartphone gives users ultimate choice over the phone and what applications that should be run on it.  Using an industry analogy, the EFF argued that if a car manufacturer were to retain control over a vehicle after the sale and prohibit owners from adding aftermarket parts, the prohibitions would be considered by almost anyone to be wholly unreasonable.  In addition, jailbreaking a smartphone is considered a fair use of the work that serves as an affirmative defense to actual copyright infringement.

The Librarian concluded in favor of smartphone owners, finding that circumvention of the copyright protections is permissible when “circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications, when they have been lawfully obtained, with computer programs on the telephone handset.”  This means that those seeking to jailbreak their iphone or Android handsets can lawfully do so so long as they own the programs they are attempting to make compatible.  This doesn’t mean that you should go out and jailbreak your phone, but you can at least go to sleep knowing that if you do choose to jailbreak your phone you are not a criminal at this time.

Home Depot liable to Florida inventor for $25 million USD in patent infringement claim

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hurley this week found home improvement giant Home Depot liable to small inventor Michael Powell for $25 million dollars in damages.  The judge also awarded $3 million dollars in punitive damages, $2.8 million dollars in attorneys fees, and $1 million dollars in interest annually on the judgement.

Sadly for Home Depot, Powell offered to sell each invention for a lowly $2000 which would have cost a total of $4 million dollars. Instead, Home Depot is now liable for a lot more in damages because of Powell’s claim against them.  According to the Palm Beach Post, an executive for the company upon hearing about the possibility of Powell’s claim against Home Depot was alleged to have stated, “(expletive) Michael Powell.  Let him sue us.”

What was the invention in question you might ask.  Powell invented a novel method to prevent injuries when cutting wood using a radial/panel saw.  Powell was awarded Patent 7,044,039 by the U.S. Patent Office in 2006, a Radial arm saw safety top.  This invention would be valuable to companies because of the number of work related injuries caused by cutting wood for customers.  Home Depot had previously been paying out at least a million dollars in claims annually in saw related work injuries.  After installing the guards, the annual payout claims for Home Depot dropped to approximately $7000 a year.

Why didn’t Home Depot decide to pay up at first?  Powell was after all, a Home Depot contractor for several years and developed a way to prevent further workplace injuries after observing the inherent problems with the system used by Home Depot.  Powell even allowed Home Depot to test eight guards at its stores.  Judge Hurley found then that Home Depot duplicated the saw guards and installed them at Home Depots around the country.

Home Depot argues that they respect the intellectual property rights of others and did not infringe the rights of anyone.  It is expected that Home Depot will appeal the ruling.  Judge Hurley seemingly found otherwise given the damages and unflattering words during the ruling.

The takeaway is that small inventors can prevail in the event of infringement, and that patent protection is key to securing your rights as an inventor.  Even a guard to prevent injuries on a radial/panel saw can be protected.  Although big companies often appear to have more power, if you protect yourself in advance it is a lot easier to ensure that your rights are upheld in the event of a dispute.  If you have an idea that needs protection, then contact our law firm today!