Copyright trolls cut and run at suggestion that they're a front for disgraced firm Guardaley

Now that evidence has surfaced suggesting that Guardaley, a disgraced firm of German copyright trolls, is secretly behind the legal actions of notorious US trolls like Malibu Media, the US plaintiffs are running scared, asking judges to dismiss their cases before they can be dragged into a discovery process that might confirm the link.

Guardaley is seriously toxic in the USA, and any suggestion that they were pulling the strings of US plaintiffs would likely be enough to get any case booted -- and possibly result in sanctions for the lawyers representing the trolls.

The defendants in a case over downloading the B-movie Elf-Man has presented evidence that not only links Guardaley to the suit, but also suggests that Guardaley was one of the seeders of the Elf-Man bittorrent file. In other words, they were sharing the file while acting as representatives for the copyright holders, making the downloads they're suing over authorized, and not infringing.

As FightCopyrightTrolls points out, what may be even more interesting is the declaration from Lamberson's lawyer, Chris Lynch, which includes an email he sent to Elf-Man's then-lawyer Maureen VanderMay. As you may recall, in our post about the connection to Guardaley, we also noted that VanderMay had suddenly told the court she could no longer represent the copyright holders of Elf-Man, saying it was "impossible for counsel to both continue with representation and comply with the governing rules of professional conduct." In Exhibit B in the declaration, Lynch lays out evidence that the Guardaley shell company APMC was actually the one who hired VanderMay, rather than the copyright holder, and also that APMC had seeded various films from Vision Films itself, with the goal of then copyright trolling any IP address that downloaded them (i.e., just like Prenda's scam of uploading the films themselves). This raises all sorts of legal (and ethical issues), including the basic fact that if the copyright holder or one of its agents is seeding the films itself, it's no longer an unauthorized distribution, and thus not infringing.

We see this same pattern time and time again with the various copyright trolling efforts. Righthaven, Prenda and other copyright trolls seem to regularly try to dismiss cases when they're called out on questionable behavior in an effort to hide any more of that behavior coming out. It usually doesn't work very well, as opposin

Once Again, As Details Of Questionable Copyright Trolling Practices Come To Light, Troll Desperately Tries To Run Away [Mike Masnick/Techdirt]

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  1. Well thank God if the judiciary is wising up to these punks.

    So what worked here? Am I wrong in thinking one lawyer made more difference than 100 internet activists? Does this suggest a different approach with issues like fair use and neutrality?

  2. TAC says:

    Maybe posting the companies playbook after it was discovered helped.

    While covering copyright trolling in the US, media almost always avoids questioning who really directs the show. Press follows usual court reporter templates: there is a plaintiff who hires an attorney and/or investigator, and both work for a flat or hourly fee. Sometimes attorneys’ names don’t appear in news articles at all. In reality, the overwhelming majority of shakedown lawsuits has been initiated by German “anti-piracy” cartels. As you will read in the documents below, it is them who scout around for plaintiffs and opportunistic lawyers, it is them who handle logistics and, of course, reap the lion’s share of settlement proceeds.
    Patrick Achache
    Patrick Achache

    Recently I stumbled upon an interesting presentation created by someone named Gerephil Molina from Cebu, Philippines. This presentation describes the inside operations of an infamous German copyright troll Guardaley (and its various facades, for example, IPP international — Lipscomb/Malibu Media’s “engine,” or the subject of this post — Anti-Piracy Management Company)¹.

    You can watch this Anti-Piracy Management Company Presentation on the Prezi site (Flash-based) [The original presentation was hastily removed on 4/21/2014 — scroll down to see update], or read the pdf embedded below: I spent a couple of hours creating this document in a premonition that Prezi’s material will be removed — once visitors from Karlsruhe show up in my blog’s log. Content wise, it should be exactly the same as the original presentation (sans graphics, which is meaningless anyway).

    This presentation does not look like a final product; and I’m still not sure who the target is. It looks more like an operations manual for the BPO Cebu office, yet the trolling technology description is definitely obtained from the original source — Guardaley. I have a feeling that it was not intended for public eyes.

    There is a little doubt that one of Guardaley’s key players, Patrick Achache is behind this particular Guardaley’s incarnation (Anti-Piracy Management Company — APMC). Another Guardley-connected name that appears in this playbook is Daniel Macek (p. 35), an “expert” in some US cases, in particular, a potentially fraudulent Elf-Man LLC, v. Lamberson (the other “expert” in this case is Michael Patzer, who played his small role in the Bellwether vaudeville nearly a year ago).

    I put quotation marks around “expert” not only because of my “biased opinion”: as we see in the presentation (p. 35 — emphasis is mine), I’m not the only one who questions this expertise:

    paragraph 2 in regards to software consultant (i.e., he can talk about software issues), & we’re hoping the judge won’t question his qualifications too much.

    I will not go over the statements and bullet points: they speak for themselves. The overall air is rather dry, business-like, cynical, which is not surprising: it’s a business based on exploiting the letter of the law, with little, if any, thought about the irreparable harm to thousands of families. Similar to how the military-industrial complex monetizes war, cartels like Guardaley monetize infringement, but in reality both thrive on suffering of others.

    The stated goal of “ending the infringement” is laughable: no sane businessman wants the source of income to dry out.

    I hope that defense lawyers (“bad guys,” according to the trolls, p. 5) will find some points that can be used in the ongoing fight against the copyright trolling plague.

     

    Update

    04/21/2014

    The original Prezi presentation was deleted around the time this post was published. Fortunately, yesterday I not only preserved the textual part (embedded above), but grabbed the video of presentation itself. Because of YouTube clip length restrictions, I broke it to four pieces.

    Update 2

    04/21/2014

    I was digging through my archives and found this 2+ years old document, a “business proposal” by the same entity, Anti-Piracy Management Company:

     

    The metadata reveals that the author of this champertious proposal is Josh Partridge. A quick search leads to his LinkedIn page, where he clearly states that Anti-Piracy Management Company is Guardaley:

     

    Since this man is in the US (San Diego), does the idea of deposing him sound crazy? I hope not.

    Also, don’t miss DieTrollDie’s update on the same topic: we are untangling the cobweb slowly but surely.

    Media coverage
    Followup

     


    ¹ You can read more about the tangled web of German shell companies in Morgan Pietz’s recent motion he filed with the Maryland court.

    Maybe they never looked at their "evidence" that was not what they claimed, was incomplete, incorrect, and made little sense.
    Maybe it was a Defendant who was innocent and willing to fight back against the allegations and could afford it.

    One would think that when discovery is granted, that it will be confirmed the event was created to profit from, the magic box is a lie, and there will be rulings about how NOT to run these investigations.

    I'd call it a team effort, as many lawyers are waking up to the simple fact that the community is not a bunch of psychotics who hate the other side for enforcing copyrights. We hate bullies.
    Oh and I clearly am a sociopath.

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