Federal Judge MAY Set Up Pro Bono Legal Assistance For Defendants Sued By Voltage Pictures/Carl Crowell [UPDATED]

from the it couldn't happen to a lousier person dept

[Update: as has been pointed out by Ars Technica’s Joe Mullin, Judge Mosman is not a chief judge yet and could not have signed those orders. As was correctly noted by Fight Copyright Trolls [and in the part I quoted!], these are only drafts. So, these have not been implemented at this point, but appear to be in the works. My apologies for raising the hopes of those on the receiving end of Crowell’s tactics and for failing to note that these were drafts in my post.]

It looks like Voltage Pictures’ hired gun, Carl Crowell, may soon need to find another state to ply his copyright trolling wares. Crowell has already established a reputation as being both shady and willfully obtuse. That reputation appears to have finally reached the federal court system.

Crowell, if you’ll recall, thought Oregon would be accommodating to his brand of trolling. Not content to simply sue dozens of Does for alleged copyright infringement, Crowell tried to take advantage of the state’s trademark law to pursue pirates. This hinged on the dubious claim that torrents of Dallas Buyers Club somehow veered into the production of counterfeit products. That seems to have gone nowhere, as has Crowell’s other legal pursuits.

Crowell also claimed simply being in possession of Popcorn Time (a torrent-based, entirely unauthorized streaming service) was a criminal act — calling it a “burglar’s tool.” Conflating theft and copyright infringement is nothing new for copyright trolls — but claiming the software was roughly analogous to… I don’t know, a ski mask and a bag with “$$$” printed on it — was novel. Of course, judges are rarely enamored with novel legal theories and Crowell’s assertion did little to win him powerful friends where he needed them most.

Now, it appears Crowell has made an enemy in the federal court system. Unfortunately for him, this enemy is presiding over most of his Doe lawsuits. Fight Copyright Trolls reports federal judge Michael W. Mosman has set up Default Judgment Roadblock, Esq. in response to Crowell’s tactics.

Out of [Crowell’s] recent sleazes, the most disturbing is the practice of deposing putative defendants prior to amending the complaint (replacing “John Doe” with an actual name). Since the majority of the targeted are laypeople of modest means, they tend not to spend money on attorneys, so they make a grave mistake of agreeing to be deposed without a lawyer. I don’t think it makes sense to explain why it is a real problem…

Apparently, the judges are not deaf and blind, and they are increasingly concerned with both the sheer volume of docket-clogging lawsuits, and the troll lawyers’ overreach. Chief Judge Michael Mosman recently drafted a standing order urging putative defendants to seek legal help.

Mosman’s order, if implemented, has would set up a panel of lawyers who will provide up to three hours of pro bono assistance to anyone accused of copyright infringement by Crowell. That should be enough time to generate the small amount of friction needed to convince the trolling entities to drop the case. Trolling is built on easy wins, not actual courtroom battles.

On top of that, Judge Mosman isn’t going to may not let Crowell file lawsuits against single plaintiffs en masse in hopes of increasing his default rate. Not only will this funnel Crowell’s lawsuits into Mosman’s courtroom, but it will force Crowell and the company he represents to inform defendants of the free legal assistance being provided by the state. The draft order also requires any communications to defendants be put on the record. Crowell will have to file copies of any contact made with defendants, as well as submit proof that these communications were received.

Considering the hurdles Mosman is considering forcing Crowell to leap, it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to find him exiting the trolling business… at least in Oregon.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: voltage pictures

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Federal Judge MAY Set Up Pro Bono Legal Assistance For Defendants Sued By Voltage Pictures/Carl Crowell [UPDATED]”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment

Add Your Comment

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

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Older Stuff
13:40 It's Great That Winnie The Pooh Is In The Public Domain; But He Should Have Been Free In 1982 (Or Earlier) (35)
12:06 Norton 360 Now Comes With Crypto Mining Capabilities And Sketchy Removal Process (28)
10:45 Chinese Government Dragnet Now Folding In American Social Media Platforms To Silence Dissent (14)
10:40 Daily Deal: The 2022 Ultimate Cybersecurity Analyst Preparation Bundle (0)
09:29 A Fight Between Facebook And The British Medical Journal Highlights The Difficulty Of Moderating 'Medical Misinformation' (9)
06:29 Court Ruling Paves The Way For Better, More Reliable Wi-Fi (4)
20:12 Eighth Circuit (Again) Says There's Nothing Wrong With Detaining Innocent Minors At Gunpoint (15)
15:48 China's Regulatory War On Its Gaming Industry Racks Up 14k Casualties (10)
13:31 Chinese Government Fines Local Car Dealerships For Surveilling While Not Being The Government (5)
12:08 Eric Clapton Pretends To Regret The Decision To Sue Random German Woman Who Listed A Bootleg Of One Of His CDs On Ebay (29)
10:44 ICE Is So Toxic That The DHS's Investigative Wing Is Asking To Be Completely Separated From It (29)
10:39 Daily Deal: The 2022 Complete Raspberry Pi And Arduino Developer Bundle (0)
09:31 Google Blocked An Article About Police From The Intercept... Because The Title Included A Phrase That Was Also A Movie Title (24)
06:22 Wireless Carriers Balk At FAA Demand For 5G Deployment Delays Amid Shaky Safety Concerns (16)
19:53 Tenth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity To Social Worker Who Fabricated A Mother's Confession Of Child Abuse (35)
15:39 Sci-Hub's Creator Thinks Academic Publishers, Not Her Site, Are The Real Threat To Science, And Says: 'Any Law Against Knowledge Is Fundamentally Unjust' (34)
13:32 Federal Court Tells Proud Boys Defendants That Raiding The Capitol Building Isn't Covered By The First Amendment (25)
12:14 US Courts Realizing They Have A Judge Alan Albright Sized Problem In Waco (17)
10:44 Boston Police Department Used Forfeiture Funds To Hide Purchase Of Surveillance Tech From City Reps (16)
10:39 Daily Deal: The Ultimate Microsoft Excel Training Bundle (0)
09:20 NY Senator Proposes Ridiculously Unconstitutional Social Media Law That Is The Mirror Opposite Of Equally Unconstitutional Laws In Florida & Texas (25)
06:12 Telecom Monopolies Are Exploiting Crappy U.S. Broadband Maps To Block Community Broadband Grant Requests (7)
12:00 Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2021 At Techdirt (17)
10:00 Gaming Like It's 1926: Join The Fourth Annual Public Domain Game Jam (6)
09:00 New Year's Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path (33)
19:39 DHS, ICE Begin Body Camera Pilot Program With Surprisingly Good Policies In Place (7)
15:29 Remembering Techdirt Contributors Sherwin And Elliot (1)
13:32 DC Metro PD's Powerful Review Panel Keeps Giving Bad Cops Their Jobs Back (6)
12:11 Missouri Governor Still Expects Journalists To Be Prosecuted For Showing How His Admin Leaked Teacher Social Security Numbers (39)
10:48 Oversight Board Overturning Instagram Takedown Of Ayahuasca Post Demonstrates The Impossibility Of Content Moderation (10)
More arrow
This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it