Malibu Media is the most frequent copyright litigator is the United States and doing so has gotten them a bad reputation. The adult film company was rebuked by a federal judge calling it a copyright troll and accusing it of abusive ligation tactics.
Malibu Media is the love child of a husband and wife team that produce adult content for their website. Subscribers pay $40 a month for access to the videos but they ran into a problem with piracy; that’s when the lawsuits started. Malibu started suing “John Doe” individuals identified by only IP addresses that were used to download and share pirated content. Almost 40% of all copyright infringement lawsuits filed last year were on behalf of Malibu Media. Malibu, after it files the cases and issues subpoenas, then has the names of people downloading the adult content’ it also has the names of the movies people have downloaded. Usually Malibu settles these cases quickly as people fear having their names and the graphic titles of the movies they downloaded exposed. Malibu used to sue many “John Does” in one lawsuit but a Virginia court called this type of lawsuit improper and now just sues one IP address at a time.
The backlash against Malibu has not been kind as they have been called copyright trolls. Trolls are synonymous with the creepy dudes under bridges and plaintiffs that bring a lot of lawsuits just to make a profit.  Recently, Malibu claims that anti-troll groups have issued death threats against its founders.
In an ongoing lawsuit in Ohio, the defendant Ryan Ramsey (the name of the downloader has been exposed and this is why a lot of people settle these cases quickly) was sued as a “John Doe” in September 2014. Malibu had problems serving the defendant and had to seek extensions of time to do so. The court issued several orders on the extension motions and issued an Order to Show Cause as to why the case should not be dismissed due to Malibu’s failure to serve. However, Malibu, despite telling the court otherwise, already did serve the defendant but did not timely notify the court by filing the returned summons forcing the court to expend judicial resources in issuing its orders. Basically, Malibu is accused of wasting the court’s time and misrepresenting facts to the court.
The court used this opportunity to lay into Malibu pretty hard and heavy. The court noted that Malibu has filed a whopping 60 cases in Ohio in the past year. The court called Malibu a “troll” and stated that trolls merely file lawsuits as a primary or supplemental revenue stream. The court accused Malibu of abusive litigation tactics by: the mass lawsuits (that have since stopped) against several “John Does”; by listing the movies the defendants have downloaded with particularly graphic and explicit titles; and by extorting settlements. The court refused to issue Rule 11 sanctions at this time but gave Malibu 14 days to justify its behavior or the case will be dismissed.
Malibu has a lot of explaining to do to justify the incorrect statements made to the court and to explain its litigation tactics to prevent this case being dismissed. Even if this case is not dismissed, it appears as though Mr. Ramsey is going to fight the lawsuit as he has hired an attorney. Seems like both sides will need a good luck troll instead of a copyright one.
TROLL