Expendables Producers Begin Process Of Shaking Down Thousands For Cash

from the how-to-piss-off-fans dept

As was widely expected, the producers of the big budget Hollywood movie, The Expendables have joined the coalition of the clueless with the producers of Hurt Locker in deciding to shakedown some of the movie’s fans. Once again, using law firm Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver under the name US Copyright Group (whose existing lawsuits of this nature haven’t gone too well so far), a lawsuit lumping together 6,500 unnamed people accused of file sharing has been launched. As with the previous lawsuits, the intent here is just to suss out names attached to the IP addresses, at which point they’ll be sent misleading and threatening letters, which suggest they pay up to have the lawsuits against them dropped. Of course, as with previous such lawsuits, I’m sure there will be a quick back and forth as someone points out that lumping all of these defendants into a single case is not proper, and it’ll depend on whether or not the judge is reasonable to see if the case will actually move forward.

Still, it kind of makes you wonder what the producers of The Expendables are thinking. The studio, called Nu Image, is pretty much deciding to purposely piss off a large group of fans, just at a time when they’re apparently working on a sequel. Nothing in this action will make any of those people more interested in paying money to see any more movies from Nu Image in the future. In fact, about the only thing it will do is give a large group of people an excuse not to pay to see Nu Image movies. And for what? To get a tiny group of folks who downloaded the movie to pay a few thousand dollars — a large chunk of which just goes to the lawyers? That’s not exactly a brilliant business strategy.

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Companies: dunlap grubb & weaver, nu image, us copyright group

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Comments on “Expendables Producers Begin Process Of Shaking Down Thousands For Cash”

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67 Comments
Jeff Rifesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Self-fulfilling prophecy in the title

I was thinking of renting it, despite some people saying it was bad, but not now that the producers have resorted to lawsuits.

Of course, I guess it becomes self-fulfilling when people don’t buy the movie to punish the producer for the lawsuit, and then the producers can blame piracy some more.

Well, let's not being disengenuous.

“Still, it kind of makes you wonder what the producers of The Expendables are thinking…To get a tiny group of folks who downloaded the movie to pay a few thousand dollars — a large chunk of which just goes to the lawyers? That’s not exactly a brilliant business strategy.”

I agree, it’s wrong-headed, but can this move be THAT surprising? Of course people clueless about how online movie pirating works are going to pay lawyers to try to suppress it. It’s not going to work, but they don’t know that.
Rather than act shocked and surprised when movie studios go after online pirates, a better solution might be to educated them on how/why piracy works. If they had knowledge, they wouldn’t try these worthless approaches.

Anonymoussays:

I guess they decided their target audience was expendable.

I am surprised to not see a website posting all of the companies supporting the extortion game so consumers can be more informed of who their money is supporting.

As I have pointed out elsewhere, at least in the porn game, it is not like there are not 5 other sites offering the same gimmick. If you knew that website had done some shady things and was in the business of suing people, would you go there or try out one of the competitors who might have a superior product now that they have an influx of customers.

Anonymoussays:

Sooo...

Is this another blanket lawsuit with the same misjoinder issues and jurisdictional issues they, and other lawyers, have been smacked down for in the past? Seems like a lot of Does for the DC District alone.

The UK is a little ahead of us with this shit and their judges are now wide awake to the scam going on…

http://www.hellmail.co.uk/postalnews/templates/postal_industry_news.asp?articleid=2770&zoneid=3

“Injustice is still injustice, even if sent through the post by someone who claims to be a copyright expert and has a brass nameplate on the door of a plush rented office in Mayfair. Do your homework. Whilst too many see the legal profession as a mysterious world, its worth bearing in mind that just because you receive a wad of legal jargon through the post, it does not follow that it is accurate or the person who sent it has integrity, a sufficient level of competence, or is even right.”

… but our judges are slowly waking up too. As the courts and ISPs continue to get over burdened with these claims, I can see these lawyers standing in Andrew Crossley’s shoes in the not too distant future.

Andysays:

Re: Re:

Maybe their IP, people are wising up and are using proxy’s like Tor with Tails or VPN’s or Usenet with Giganews to hide their actions and then their are some who just don’t care and welcome these Troll Lawyers to go after them. One thing for sure, anyone who pays their extortion letters are completely retarded and need to be committed into fear rehab. You heard of phishing as in email, well these lawyers are phishing IP’s to see who cracks for easy money. This whole Internet thing is going to be suppressed soon and it really won’t be worth using it. Back to the 60’s…

Dereksays:

strategery

It IS a brilliant business strategy ? if you’re a lawyer.

I have no doubt some law firms are busily marketin themselves in this newfound legal speciality, and no doubt that content producers are lapping it up as a way to extend their revenues.

As long as the lawyers aren’t taking more than 99%, producers could see it as a win. And no matter if there’s negative publicity ? lawsuits come after the big splash, when income is waning anyway, and they can just form new production or distribution company for the next one.

Anonymoussays:

Actually, I think it is just another move to show that the current copyright laws are ineffective at protecting content producer’s rights. If lawsuits like this keep getting tossed out, it’s more fuel on the fire for the government to act to change the laws to clear things up, to knock over the legal blinds that offenders are hiding behind.

average_joesays:

Re: Re:

Actually, I think it is just another move to show that the current copyright laws are ineffective at protecting content producer’s rights. If lawsuits like this keep getting tossed out, it’s more fuel on the fire for the government to act to change the laws to clear things up, to knock over the legal blinds that offenders are hiding behind.

Agreed. It sounds like some new tools for rights holders are in the works. Should be great fodder for our IP-abolitionist host whose de facto position is that any attempt to thwart piracy must be bad, even though, ironically, he says that he doesn’t think it’s OK to pirate. Um, yeah, sure…

average_joesays:

Once again, using law firm Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver under the name US Copyright Group (whose existing lawsuits of this nature haven’t gone too well so far), a lawsuit lumping together 6,500 unnamed people accused of file sharing has been launched.

How do you know the existing lawsuits “haven’t gone too well so far”? By whose standard are you judging them? Do you have specific information about how much money they brought in versus how much they anticipated? Isn’t it just as likely that the lawsuits went better than they expected?

Of course, as with previous such lawsuits, I’m sure there will be a quick back and forth as someone points out that lumping all of these defendants into a single case is not proper, and it’ll depend on whether or not the judge is reasonable to see if the case will actually move forward.

So if the judge allows it to move forward, that judge is unreasonable? And vice versa? Is that your reasoned legal analysis of the situation?

Nothing in this action will make any of those people more interested in paying money to see any more movies from Nu Image in the future. In fact, about the only thing it will do is give a large group of people an excuse not to pay to see Nu Image movies.

You mean the people who have already demonstrated that they are willing to rip off Nu Image’s IP may continue to rip off Nu Image’s IP in the future? That’s not very remarkable. These people don’t need an excuse not to pay, they’ve already decided that pirating is OK.

That’s not exactly a brilliant business strategy.

Says you. It’s hilarious how much disdain you have for anyone who tries to fight piracy. It’s very, very telling.

Re: Re:

Says you. It’s hilarious how much disdain you have for anyone who tries to fight piracy. It’s very, very telling.

Yes. Very telling. I want them to have more successful businesses and I think that focusing on “fighting piracy” is an expensive cost that provides almost no benefit.

Shocking how “telling” it is that I hope businesses succeed.

Praytell, AJ, how is that evil?

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Mike’s amazing view on the entire music industry….

“It’s ok to pirate music because i don’t like your business model”.

It’s amazing how ignorant a statement that is.

My view is that it’s DOESN’T MAKE A LICK of difference what my opinion is on your business model. What we know is that pirac IS happening. And if you can use that to your advantage and make more money, isn’t it moronic not to do so?

average_joesays:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’m not sure what this means. I’ve been interested in helping content creators of all types make more money since I began this site.

More bullshit. Sure, you might help some people make money, but that’s not the point. You consistently admonish anyone who doesn’t embrace your alternative business models. If you’ve got something that works for some people, then great, but don’t pretend like you don’t celebrate the demise of anyone who doesn’t agree with your alternative views. We can all tell how so very excited you get when someone fails using business methods that differ from your own.

average_joesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yes. Very telling. I want them to have more successful businesses and I think that focusing on “fighting piracy” is an expensive cost that provides almost no benefit.

You want them to roll over and just let anyone and everyone stomp all over their rights. You have absolutely no respect for other people’s choices of how to run their business. Trying to say that you’re concerned about the “expensive cost” of these lawsuits is absolutely hollow bullshit. Your claim they provide “almost no benefit” is similar bullshit. Why don’t you respect how other people decide to run their business? Your business models aren’t the only ones that matter.

You aren’t concerned for their business, Mike, you’re just concerned that someone is doing something about piracy. It’s hilarious what a two-faced liar you are. Piracy’s not OK, but no one should ever do anything about it, right? It’s not OK, but we should embrace it with open arms. It’s not OK, but you always side with the pirates in any lawsuit that may be brought against them. Do you really think people don’t notice your lies?

Shocking how “telling” it is that I hope businesses succeed.

Praytell, AJ, how is that evil?

Lots and lots and lots of businesses do just fine, and they aren’t following your business models. Explain that. You only want to defend piracy. That’s all this is about. Trying to pretend like you’re concerned for their business is absolutely bullshit. My God… Do you actually believe what you write, or are you just evil? I don’t know which is scarier.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

You want them to roll over and just let anyone and everyone stomp all over their rights.

Why? Seriously. What possible gain could there be to me — someone who makes my living helping companies do better — to simply tell them to do something against their own best interest?

You have absolutely no respect for other people’s choices of how to run their business

AJ, this is what’s called shooting the messenger. I am willing to tell a company when they’re making a mistake because it helps them do better. You can call that having “absolutely no respect,” or you can call it “helping them to avoid making a mistake.” I think that’s quite respectful. That you think saying “it’s okay if you make less money, because it’s your choice” is being respectful, well, then we have very different opinions on respect.

Trying to say that you’re concerned about the “expensive cost” of these lawsuits is absolutely hollow bullshit. Your claim they provide “almost no benefit” is similar bullshit.

Neither claim is bullshit. Both are borne out by facts. But, you know, I’ve only been actually helping companies and content creators do this since before you discovered any of this, so what do I know?

Why don’t you respect how other people decide to run their business? Your business models aren’t the only ones that matter.

Again, same thing I said above.

You aren’t concerned for their business, Mike, you’re just concerned that someone is doing something about piracy. It’s hilarious what a two-faced liar you are.

I love that you think you know what’s going on in my mind — and then make statements so incredibly wrong as the above statement. And what’s with calling me a liar? I have made my living helping businesses — and I still do it today, and I’ll continue to do it. What have you ever done?

Piracy’s not OK, but no one should ever do anything about it, right? It’s not OK, but we should embrace it with open arms. It’s not OK, but you always side with the pirates in any lawsuit that may be brought against them. Do you really think people don’t notice your lies?

Which is a lie, AJ? Come on. If someone told you that praying to the mighty Ostrich doesn’t help your business and is a waste of productivity, and yet you insist your entire company spends all morning praying to the mighty Ostrich, is it disrespectful of someone who actually knows something about productivity to tell you that doing so is a waste of time and likely hurting your business? Is it a lie to suggest that praying to the might Ostrich is not a good plan? Is it being “anti-might Ostrich”? No. I understand business and economics and I help companies and content creators understand it to. That’s not lying, AJ, and the folks I’ve worked with have the revenue to prove it.

Lots and lots and lots of businesses do just fine, and they aren’t following your business models. Explain that.

Doing fine is not doing the best they can.

You only want to defend piracy. That’s all this is about.

Really? What possible benefit to me could there be in simply defending piracy and that’s that? There’s none. I make my living helping people make more money. If my goal had nothing to do with that, then I wouldn’t be making a living.

Trying to pretend like you’re concerned for their business is absolutely bullshit. My God… Do you actually believe what you write, or are you just evil? I don’t know which is scarier.

It’s not pretend, and I don’t appreciate the insults — especially from you, who just a week ago started a footstomping childish rampage when someone made a similar insult towards you.

I don’t get it, AJ. Why do you so hate the fact that I help people make money? Does it threaten your world view? Is reality so scary?

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Also, businesses don’t get to simply “declare” a business model, and then have it work. If you business model is, “we’ve got to stop all this piracy first, and then our business model will work fine,” you need a new model.

Let’s work to build and adopt business models that work now, with things the way they are.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Masnick gave himself away (again) here, AJ. “I make my living helping people make more money.”

Masnick’s business model is based on siphoning money from people that suffer from piracy; he has a vested interest in it continuing.

Think about it, what is his worth in a non-piracy environment?

Big zippo.

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re:

Masnick’s business model is based on siphoning money from people that suffer from piracy; he has a vested interest in it continuing.

Say what?!? You do realize that these business models work whether or not there’s “piracy” going on, right? That’s kind of the point.

Think about it, what is his worth in a non-piracy environment?

Heh. Well, according to a musician I was helping this week, a hell of a lot. And that had nothing whatsoever to do with ‘piracy.’ But, you’re not big on facts, are you?

In the meantime, I will offer again: since you’ve admitted the band you advise not to listen to my advice is failing and your bandmates need to get dayjobs, why not contact me and I’ll help you out?

Seriously, what have you got to lose other than your pride? If I help you, you make more money. Isn’t that what you want?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

It is MY reasoned legal opinion that it is unjust to bring a suit against 6,500 plaintiffs. It provides no proper course of action for a respondent and is simply a cynical attempt both to intimidate those who have allegedly infringed copyright and to garner information on the same.

If I were the Judge in this case I would throw them out of Court so quickly it would make their collective heads spin and ensure that they pay court cost for bringing such a specious and malign suit.

Please note that my point has nothing to do with any alleged copyright infringement it is concerned with proper legal practice and the rule of law.

Its lawyers like them that Gives Lawyers a bad rapsays:

A article I read stating the US Copyright group visited a Film festival of some sort promoting the movie and film studios suggesting to try their luck at suing people for stealing their movies or was it maybe hire them to do it for them. I never appreciated lawyers advertising on television how to fall and sue, giving people ideas on how, when and where to sue. I detested those tv advertisements but to know that lawyers are soliciting in this manor sickens me. What is that group earlier callin in the Feds for racketeering. If this is the case, those guys could lose the shirts off their backs. Thanks TechD for keepin us Informed.

Anonymoussays:

Congress needs to be on Call here. a Monetary cap needs to be in place and taken out of the hands of lawyers as US Copyright group or copycat lawyers will landslide our country and it will create chaos for Americans and their rights. Why and how can College Universities fine students with a $25 first offense fine and Dunlap group of US Copyright Group could give a rats ass about first time offenders who were so immature to know the consequences. Who think there isnt much difference in recording a vcr movie verses catching a movie on internet. Write Virgina and Washington Bar Association Members and every state general attorney and elected official you can. Congress needs to be on the forefront of this. Tell them what US Copyright group is up to in this dragnet, mafia like shake down.

Anonymoussays:

Why pay that threatening mafia scheme intimidating settlement letter. I dont know maybe because they are sending it to me our of their jurisdiction. And I know for sure I was not in Washington or Virginia downloading a movie. I plan on gettin a form from Syfert on line (self help) and wait for court notice (50,000 to appear in court-yeah right .. what judge will put up with this circus) but I intend to ask Judge for a dismissal based on out of jurisdicition. I have receipts proving where I live proving I was not in Washington or Virginia vacationing etc.

zelzasays:

Notice it’s always the kettle calling the pot black. Like Larry, Curly and Moe at the Three stooge’s law firm a.k.a (U.S copyright Group) have been caught breaking copy right laws themselves. So has Nu image. The issue here is these movie production companies are FAILS, just like these loser Lawyers, who are lame, and have no one who see’s them as anything else but FAILS. Don’t pay their extortion they are THUGS. By the way blog your ass off over this, and put the word out to boycott every movie these losers put out. Their movies suck anyway! FAILS!

johndoe1zero1says:

Should i be concerned per Comcast's letter?

I got a registered letter from comcast the other day re the “maverick entertainment group” 1:10-CV-00569-RJL.

apparently comcast the IP associated to me download this 3rd-rate direct-to-DVD move “A Numbers Game”. The alleged download was to have occurred back in April 2010.

I’ve 30 days to file a motion to quash/vacate the subpoena else comcast is giving my name/address to USCG.

I checked the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) website and found a bunch of attorneys who can help with the defense.

Any one experienced the similar? Should i spend the $$$ for an attorney? What’s the chance the case gets dismissed?

Much appreciated.

JD.

BichFacePigsays:

Your mom

I like the movie, what’s wrong with you fools?

And I approve of their actions. Thieves should always be accountable for their actions. Arrest thieves. Throw them in jail. And make them pay.

Very simple really.

To the rest of you dullards, expressing your pathetic and unimportant opinions….shaddup! Your thoughts and opinions mean nothing, and literally have no effect whatsoever on….anything!

Suck it, pigs.

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