- Alsup Threatens To Bar Any More Malibu Media Porn Suits
- By Bill Donahue
- Law360, New York (May 11, 2017, 2:52 PM EDT) -- U.S. District Judge William Alsup on Wednesday threatened to ban Malibu Media LLP, a pornograpahy studio that has lodged thousands of copyright lawsuits in recent years, from filing any more cases until the accuracy of the technology it uses to identify the location of defendants is "fully vetted."
- In a ruling that quoted from previous orders calling Malibu Media’s mass litigation practices “essentially an extortion scheme,” Alsup ordered the studio to show him evidence that the so-called Maxmind database it uses to tie offending IP addresses to actual geographic locations is accurate.
- “Malibu Media is hereby ordered to show cause ... why the court should not bar further Malibu Media cases in this district until the accuracy of the geolocation technology is fully vetted,” the judge wrote. “Malibu Media shall file a written statement, with all factual assertions supported by declarations sworn under the penalty of perjury.”
- An attorney for Malibu Media declined to comment on Thursday, saying only that the company would respond to the order.
- Alsup, the same tech-savvy judge who oversaw last summer’s copyright battle between Google Inc. and Oracle and is currently handling the patent fight between Uber Technologies Inc. and Waymo LLC, has repeatedly voiced skepticism about Malibu Media’s behavior, which critics call copyright trolling.
- In his order on Wednesday, “skepticism” might be putting it lightly.
- Alsup called the case one in “a monsoon” of cases in his district that are part of a “litigation campaign” that “pervades the federal courts throughout the nation.” He cited a news story reporting how a glitch in the Maxmind database “mapped more than six hundred million IP addresses to a single farm in Kansas.” He said that Malibu Media’s “pattern” of dropping cases without explanation after subpoenaing broadband providers raised doubts about the accuracy of the geolocation technology.
- But harshest of all, he quoted extensively from an infamous 2012 ruling by U.S. District Judge Otis Wright that chastised Malibu Media for seeking “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in “nuisance level” settlements from internet downloaders too “embarrassed” to fight back
- “The federal courts are not cogs in a plaintiff’s copyright enforcement business model,” Wright wrote in the quote chosen by Alsup. “The court will not idly watch what is essentially an extortion scheme, for a case that plaintiff has no intention of bringing to trial.”
- Wednesday’s ruling was prompted by a request from Malibu Media to delay a case management conference, scheduled for next week, on the grounds that the studio had only recently received the identifying information about the alleged downloader and needed more time to file a summons.
- But Alsup instead ordered the studio’s attorneys to appear as scheduled and explain the Maxmind database. His doubts about the accuracy of that technology appear fueled by Malibu Media’s recent decision to drop dozens of similar cases without explanation.
- Malibu Media is represented by Henrik Mosesian Mosesi of Pillar Law Group APLC.
- The defendant has not yet been publicly identified.
- The case is Malibu Media LLC v. Doe, case number 3:16-cv-05975, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
- --Editing by Stephen Berg.
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