Mystery Post Answer

June 9, 2010



Question: Two weeks ago we asked,  what is the following query designed to deliver?

ptn(2094) and nos(820)

Answer: An organization called the U.S. Copyright Group is suing a very large number of ‘doe’ defendants for infringing copyrights of independent films including The Hurt Locker.  So, we constructed a docket query where

  • ptn = participant name (in this case, 2094 Doe defendants); and
  • nos = nature of suit code (in this case 820 for copyright infringement).

In order to identify these doe defendants, plaintiffs need to subpoena Internet Service Providers.  For more on this procedure try,

Database: tp-all

Query: ti,pr(copyright) & subpoena /s i.s.p. internet-service-provider /s doe /3 defendant

Time Warner is reportedly fighthing the subpoenas which prompted the U.S. Copyright group to claim Time Warner is a “good ISP for copyright infringers.” Interestinlgy, we know even less about the plaintiffs’ organization, the U.S. Copyright Group.  Only one attorney is listed on the docket, Thomas Dunlap (Westlaw Profiler link).  His LinkedIn page says he’s co-founder of the group whose purpose is “dedicated to monetizing illegal download/ upload activity in the film and entertainment industry.” Some have called this organization, “copyright troll”.  But, the U.S. Copyright Group isn’t the only one turning infringement into a business opportunity.  Techdirt has this article on other “pre-settlement groups.”

There are as many thousands of defendants so far.  Plaintiffs are  film distributors.  So, the named parties in these cases do not make them immediately identifiable as US Copyright Group cases.  As a result,  we recommend searching dockets by nos code and attorney name.  For example:

nos(820) and at(dunlap)