For more than a decade, file-sharers around the world have
been pressured to pay significant settlement fees, or face worse in
The practice is particularly common in the United States. While
there is only a small group of independent companies involved,
thousands of people are taken to court each year.
These efforts, often characterized as copyright trolling, share
a familiar pattern. After the film companies acquire a subpoena to
get the personal details of an alleged pirate, they contact this
person with a settlement request.
These cases are not intended to go to trial, however. Instead,
the copyright holders often drop their complaint when the accused
person fights back.
This was the case when Darren Brinkley was sued in a Utah
federal court last year. In a complaint filed by Criminal
Productions, he and 31 others were accused of illegally sharing a
copy of the movie Criminal.
Brinkley denied these claims and rejected the settlement offer
but the film company still didnt back off.
Plaintiff persisted, forcing Defendant to retain counsel and
incur significant attorneys fees and costs. Yet Plaintiff had no
intention of litigating its claims, Brinkleys lawyers write.
Rather, these filings are shameless efforts to extort inflated
settlements from infringers and non-infringers alike.
The above is quoted from a recent motion for attorney fees,
because things changed significantly when Brinkley lawyered up.
While Criminal Productions initially refused to let the case go,
recently it voluntarily dismissed the case.
According to Brinkleys lawyers, the film company dropped the
case like a hot potato when it discovered that the defendant was
attempting to look into its business.
As expected, when Plaintiff realized a Motion to Compel
discovery was in draft, Criminal sought voluntary dismissal of both
its affirmative claims and Brinkleys counterclaims, which this
Court granted, with prejudice, on July 6, 2018.
The dismissal came after nearly a year and all this time
Criminal Productions failed to produce any evidence. The defense
argues that, while the filmmakers had no intention to litigate the
baseless suit, their client was forced to run up significant
The same also happened in other cases, where so-called copyright
trolls quickly bailed out when defense attorneys sought discovery.
Brinkleys attorneys see this as a typical example of cut and run
litigation, and argue that Criminal Productions must pay their
clients legal bill.
These tactics should at minimum require that Defendant Brinkley
be made whole for Plaintiffs filing of...