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The “Troll” – Malibu Media Continues to Sue and Scare Individuals

Over the law few months, we have been getting calls every week from Internet subscribers who think they’re about to lose their homes, their entire life savings, or in one particular instance, their freedom (one woman was terribly afraid that she and her husband were going to be sent to prison).

It has been over a year since we last addressed the Malibu Media issue in our post Malibu Media Makes Marylanders Miserable, but the onslaught of copyright infringement cases filed by Malibu Media in the mid-Atlantic has not slowed. At last count, Malibu Media had filed over two thousand alleged copyright infringement cases in the United States, with over 355 cases right here in STSW’s home state of Maryland. The semi-boilerplate “Complaint” that Malibu Media files with the Court in these cases is usually a frightening, lengthy, confusing document that seeks hundreds of thousands in dollars in supposed damages from the Internet subscriber, who is the “Defendant.” Each Malibu Media Complaint has an “Exhibit A” attached that lists sexually graphic video titles, and Malibu Media alleges the Defendant unlawfully downloaded and watched these sexually graphic videos with lewd titles.

If you are reading this, I am not sure where you work or with whom you live, but in my experience, explaining this to your boss or your partner usually doesn’t go over so well…that is until you and those who need to know understand who “copyright trolls” are and what “copyright trolls” do. This NBC Washington news story may help you and your boss or partner understand what has happened to you.

If you are the unlucky recipient of a letter from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) notifying you that Malibu Media is suing you for copyright infringement of its “soft-core” pornographic videos, there are a couple things you should do. First, sit down and take a deep breath. This is not the end of the world and there are hundreds, thousands even, like you. Second, contact us to discuss your options and best plan of defense or attack. We offer free consultations and can be reached during business hours Monday through Friday, though if you have a difficult schedule, we will find a way to accommodate you.

From what we have seen, the individual Internet subscribers targeted by Malibu Media generally fall into one of the three following categories:

1. No way did this happen: The subscriber is certain he personally did not download Malibu Media’s copyrighted materials and is also certain that no one else in the household did so;
2. Ummm, maybe: The subscriber is certain she personally did not download Malibu Media’s copyrighted materials, but thinks that perhaps someone else in the household may have done so, although no one has admitted to it; and 3. Ahhh, yeah: The subscriber or someone in the household thinks they may have downloaded Malibu Media’s copyrighted materials, but this is easy to do because Malibu Media’s soft-core porn videos are not obviously labeled as copy-righted materials. And guess what? Even if Malibu Media is aware of the infringement going on, they never seem to send a warning notice of the infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Nope. Instead, they wait to notify the subscriber by way of a Complaint with a larger number of infringements over a longer period of time and no prior DMCA notice to the subscriber. This, of course, drives up Malibu Media’s potential damages.

Though there are similarities among the cases we have seen, no two cases are alike and we approach each case on an individualized basis to offer you the best legal defense. We have substantial experience with these Malibu Media cases, with cyber- and copyright law, and with federal courts in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Whether you want to fight the “porn troll” or simply settle with Malibu Media to make the issue disappear for personal reasons, you need an experienced attorney who will protect your name and reputation while aggressively defending you. Here at SilverMcKenna, the Internet and Privacy Law Practice Group of Silverman|Thompson|Slutkin|White|LLC, we provide individualized service by tailoring the defensive strategy to your particular needs and financial constraints. You do not have to go through this alone. We are here to help.

For more information or to arrange a consultation, please email Anne T. McKenna at amckenna@silvermckenna.com or give her a call at 443-909-7496.