915 New Porn BitTorrent Piracy Defendants

Mar 15, 2012 11:00 AM PST

LOS ANGELES — Thirteen more porn BitTorrent piracy lawsuits were filed in federal courts throughout the U.S. in the past week, targeting 915 new John Doe defendants.

The suit with the largest number of defendants in the past seven days was filed against a swarm of 416 in Louisiana by West Coast Productions, which sued those who allegedly traded the film, "Super Anal Black Cougars," released for commercial distribution last October.

Malibu Media filed six suits against 110 unnamed defendants in a federal court in New York, Elegant Angel filed two claims against 20 in New York and Sean Cody's 808 Holdings named a swarm of 10 in California.

Combat Zone filed two suits against 350 defendants and First Time Videos sued at least one defendant, but that suit seeks to add "unknown co-conspirators" at a later date.

Each of the suits ask federal judges to order ISPs to disclose user identities of the unnamed John Doe defendants and claim infringement damages of up to the statutory maximum of $150,000 per Doe.

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Last Friday, attorney Terik Hashmi, who had been accused of taking on 27 porn BitTorrent cases in Florida but not having a State Bar license to practice, asked forgiveness of the court, while acknowledging he had transferred the cases to substitute counsel.

"Counsel is extremely sorry for the error made in relation hereto, and is willing to admit publicly to such and fully accepts complete responsibility," Hashmi said in a response to the court. 

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle last month put on hold the porn BitTorrent piracy lawsuits targeting 3,394 John Doe defendants pending the determination of plaintiffs' counsel's authority to practice law in Florida.

Later Hinkle green lighted a motion for substitute counsel but reiterated that plaintiffs must show cause why the cases should not be dismissed due to the “illegal filing of the cases, if that is what occurred.”  The cases have been transferred to attorney Mike Meier.

While Hinkle has yet to rule on Hashmi's response, which could merit court-imposed sanctions,  the original order is having some impact on the 27 cases involving the top studios in the adult entertainment business, including Elegant Angel, Wicked Pictures, Digital Sin, Devil's Film, Zero Tolerance and others.

At least one defendant law firm, Lalchandani Simon, has asked the court to dismiss the cases, which have been consolidated into one, because Hashmi was integral in the cases because he participated in investigating the cases and is no longer litigating the cases.

XBIZ publishes a weekly report each Thursday on porn BitTorrent filings in the U.S.

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