Copyright Suits a Shakedown?

February 25, 2015

Copyright imageJim Gibson was on This Week in Law (TWIL) last Friday discussing the ‘topography’ of the copyright landscape. See his related article:

Christopher A. Cotropia & James Gibson, Copyright’s Topography: An Empirical Study of Copyright Litigation, 92 Tex. L. Rev. 1981, 2001 (2014)

The Gibson/Cotropia study focused on filings from 2005-2008. It’s an interesting read.

If the story of that era was file sharing, today’s story has to be the torrenting of … erotica. I’ve been running a simple Docket Alert for all dockets with Nature of Suit Code, 820 (for Copyrights). Nearly every delivery of that alert has included a reference to Malibu Media, owner of the “x-art” site.  Following last week’s TWIL episode, I was inspired to run a simple Westlaw Search* to measure the prevalence of Malibu in the Copyright dockets. In 2014, Malibu filings accounted for ~41% of all Copyright filings:

copyright suits shakedown

A recent Villiage Voice article interviews Malibu Media attorneys who reprise the recording industry’s we’re-only-after-the-bad-guys argument.

Attorney Jacqueline James, who is handling the cases in New York, says Malibu Media is simply trying to protect its intellectual property from what it claims is 80,000 illegal downloads every month. And she says she’s targeting only the worst offenders.

Still, it’s not difficult to understand why the EFF considers these suits “strong arm” tactics to coerce settlements (settle or make your porn habit public).

*Search Strategy was as follows:

Copyright Filings:

FLD([year]) and NOS(820)

Copyright Filings w/ Malibu Media:

FLD([year]) and NOS(820) and PTN(“MALIBU MEDIA”)