Headhunter, LLC, the movie company behind “A Family Man” starring Gerard Butler, Alison Brie, and William DaFoe has begun to sue many internet users. In one Texas Headhunter, LLC lawsuit complaint the movie company alleges that it observed AT&T internet users obtaining the movie without authorization, “using forensic software to identify the IP addresses using the BitTorrent protocol to
reproduce, distribute, display or perform plaintiff’s Motion Picture via the internet.”
The lawsuit further alleges “each defendant had to ignore the copyright notice advising the viewer that the Motion Picture is protected under copyright law found on all publication and advertising associated with the Motion Picture, install file distribution software on a computer, search for and load
a Torrent file from a website such as The Pirate Bay or Popcorn Time, select plaintiff’s Motion Picture to download, and then participate in the peer-to-peer distribution of A Family Man.”
Finally, the lawsuit alleges a legal theory called vicarious liability. The lawsuit states:
“To the extent defendant ISP subscriber allowed a household member whom defendant has the ability to control or reasonably discipline to use the internet connection to copy and obtain A Family Man, and thereby avoid cost to defendant, defendant is liable.”
In our opinion this legal theory of vicarious liability in this context is on shaky legal ground. Since most of the Texas defendants in this lawsuit are located on Houston, any defendant who has concerns about this legal theory being asserted against them should discuss it with our local counsel Tristan Robinson whose primary practice are is in Houston, and attorney Jeffrey Antonelli, or other attorneys at Antonelli Law.
While Headhunter, LLC is Filing Lawsuits Across the Country, This Texas Lawsuit Blames BitTorrent For Flat DVD Video Sales – But Leaves Out U of T Study Disclaimer
In the Texas lawsuit’s special motion to the court requesting permission to subpoena AT&T for the internet subscribers’ identities (4:17-cv-02352 filed on August 3 2017), Headhunter, LLC tries to persuade the Court it really needs to find out these internet users’ identities because internet piracy is hurting their business. In doing so, it uses a chart from a 2010 University of Texas study which appears to blame flat video sales on online BitTorrent file-sharing.
Headhunter, LLC states: “This economic harm is illustrated in the graphs below from a University of Texas research paper, showing the precipitous decline in video and DVD sales coinciding with the rise of BitTorrent file sharing”
But when we looked at that 2010 University of Texas study, we saw that its authors also stated a disclaimer:
“Our results indicate that the effect of peer-to-peer file sharing is negative and large on video sales, but we do not have confidence regarding the impacts of file sharing on either the theatrical commercial performance of movies or video rentals” Bold added.
We therefore think that use of the U of T study to blame online BitTorrent file-sharing by Headhunter, LLC for movie industry concerns is a bit misplaced.
First, the chart does not show if movie industry rental income has increased (such as through online services such as NetFlix, Hulu, and Apple TV. Second, the fact the chart shows video sales were flat after BitTorrent was introduced (the chart actually shows it continued to increase for several years after BitTorrent came out, then it flattened out) really says nothing. Two things happening at the same time do not indicate one caused the other. my college Logic class Professor taught me that.
So, if Headhunter, LLC uses specious evidence in support of its motion to obtain Court permission to subpoena AT&T internet users identities, can the Court trust its other assertions of fact? This remains to be seen.
Antonelli Law Can Help those Targeted by Headhunter, LLC
The Headhunter, LLC. lawsuit is one of many “free movie” download cases we see, which are sometimes called “copyright troll” lawsuits or BitTorrent lawsuits. BitTorrent is a common software people use to illegally obtain movies online. Our experience representing so many people and understanding the technology behind these lawsuits allowed us to write a legal article explaining these lawsuits to other lawyers. It was published by a prominent state bar Intellectual Property Section.
Antonelli Law represents people targeted in ISP subpoenas and movie download lawsuits nationwide. In fact, over the past 6 years we have represented nearly 2,000 clients from lawsuits filed by more than 50 different movie companies from Hawaii to New York who were targeted in these types of cases. Our experience has allowed us to develop a high level of proficiency, allowing us to defend people with fair legal fees that most people can afford – either by settling out of court or through vigorous lawsuit defense.
What have we seen for the past six years? Overall, these BitTorrent copyright infringement lawsuits all have the same thing in common: too often, the internet accountholder simply did not do it.
The IP address could have been “spoofed”, meaning some other computer somewhere in the world pretended to be the IP address associated with an American’s internet account. Its like having a fake driver’s license with your license number on it. Except their computer is pretending to be using your internet account with your internet IP address.
Other times, it could have been a family member, someone stealing your wi-fi signal from your home, or for some other reason that has nothing to do with the copyright infringement alleged. And yes, sometimes the IP address observation is part of an accurate description of the internet account holder illegally downloading the movie. See below for important information about these cases written recently by a law professor, Loyola Law Professor Matthew Sag.
Want to Speak with Antonelli Law in a Free Consultation about Headhunter, LLC ?
Call us at 312-201-8310 or use our contact form here.
We’re the nation’s most experienced BT copyright defense firm. Or scroll down to continue learning more about these lawsuits.
Antonelli Law’s Experience & Local Counsel Provides Competent & Affordable Legal Representation
We have defended our clients against over 50 different movie companies across the country. In the process, we have learned a great deal that benefits our current and new clients. Because we are seasoned attorneys that have dealt with “free movie download” copyright lawsuits across the country filed by so many movie companies, Antonelli Law has developed a series of methods to deal effectively and efficiently with these lawsuits no matter where in the country our client’s lawsuit was filed.
In the many states where we have retained local counsel, our local counsel (see below for a non-exhaustive list) can immediately appear in court should there be an emergency. Few if any other law firms providing BitTorrent Copyright Defense have any local counsel at all.
Every movie download case involves federal law. And federal courts allow lawyers to electronically file their paperwork through the court’s official website. This key innovation means we can effectively represent clients in district courts in every state of the country. Federal practice, especially in these kinds of cases, rarely require us to appear in court. When we do need to appear, we will be there. The days of having a law clerk walk printed legal briefs over to the courthouse and file them with the court clerk are long gone.
Start Here For More Information – And Free Explanations
If you are reading this article because you received a letter from your ISP internet company about a Headhunter LLC subpoena, or you have been served a summons, some of the following information will apply to you and some will not. If you have any questions call us for free at 312-201-8310. We excel at explaining the legal process and technology to people who aren’t lawyers or computer programmers!
Have you received a letter from the movie company’s lawyers?
If you received a letter from the movie company’s lawyers about the Cook Productions, Inc. lawsuit? If so, you may have questions regarding your legal options about defending yourself, settlement, and something called “Waiver of Service of Summons“.
Caution – Don’t Sign a Waiver of Service of Summons Form Before Speaking with an Attorney
As defense attorneys, we are concerned that people receiving a Waiver of Service of Summons form in the mail from the movie company’s lawyer will lead to an unfair default or consent judgment against them. Please speak with an attorney experienced in movie download federal copyright lawsuits.
Call us for a free consultation at 312-201-8310. or use the contact form above if you initially wish to use email.
What Are These Lawsuits About?
Headhunter, LLC. accuses defendants of copyright infringement by using software such as BitTorrent and the internet to obtain the film “A Family Man” without paying the appropriate license fee.
Critics of these lawsuits say its about the movie company generating more revenue. The movie company says it is filing these lawsuits to stop piracy of its intellectual property.
What Are Movie Downloading Cases in General About? What Are “Copyright Troll” Lawsuits?
If you want to read more, consider reading the article I wrote about “copyright troll” litigation which was published by the Illinois State Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Section:
Copyright Trolls, Legitimate IP rights, and the Need for New Rules Vetting Evidence and to Amend the Copyright Act
by Jeffrey J. Antonelli
Can Antonelli Law Help Me?
Copyright infringement lawsuits are based in federal law, so we provide affordable, experienced legal help anywhere in the United States. We’re the nation’s most experienced BT copyright defense firm, helping nearly 2,000 people across the country accused of downloading movies over the internet in these types of lawsuits. Antonelli Law will help you decide what to do about Headhunter LLC lawsuit letters, subpoenas, and summons.
We Will Give You an Individualized, No Pressure, Professional Consultation – For Free.
- Learn about what the notice means.
- Ask every question that concerns you.
- Learn the facts and decide if you want to settle the lawsuit anonymously, wait to see if nothing happens, or plan to fight back.
- File a motion to quash? We’ll help you to decide.
- Have us negotiate a settlement for you, including a proper settlement agreement that is in your interest, and a dismissal order entered by the federal court to protect you and which you keep for your records.
What Can Antonelli Law Do For Me?
Antonelli Law will help you decide what to do about the Headhunter, LLC letters, subpoenas, and summons. We have helped many people accused of downloading movies over the internet in these types of lawsuits.
Remember, don’t panic. Learn the facts and your legal options by speaking for free to an Antonelli Law attorney confidentially nationwide at 312-201-8310 or use the contact form below.
Our clients say Antonelli Law is very good at:
- Reducing your anxiety about the problem
- Giving clear information to help you decide what to do
- Responsive and accessible via phone and email
- Tenacious and effective lawyers in lawsuit litigation
We understand the shock you may be feeling from receiving a notice of this action, and have the experience to help you deal with this in the best way possible for you: anonymous settlement, or prepare to fight back.
Can I File a Motion to Quash the ISP Subpoena?
Yes, as long as it is not after the deadline to do so as stated in your notice from your internet service provider. If the deadline has not passed we will need to discuss with you the relative strengths and weaknesses of doing so.
Call us today for a free consultation at 312-201-8310 nationwide or use the contact form below. Don’t panic. Learn the facts and speak for free, confidentially, with our experienced attorneys.
Does Headhunter LLC. Have Enough Data to Prove Its Claims?
In many free movie lawsuits, the movie company alleges that its agents obtained data from the alleged IP address of the defendant in what is called a BitTorrent “swarm” – which is one way people download large files.
In one headhunter, LLC Complaint filed in North Carolina, the lawsuit Complaint simply says at Paragraph 20: “The Defendants in this action have been observed as making Plaintiff’s motion picture available to others in furtherance of the BitTorrent network.” This statement seems quite bare in light of modern federal court pleading standards.
How Much Data is Enough for a Legally Sufficient Lawsuit Complaint?
In some cases, these lawsuits can be challenged because the Plaintiff must show:
- It has ownership of a valid copyright and
- The defendant violated the copyright owner’s exclusive rights under the Copyright Act.
In one case Antonelli Law defended (a different movie than the one here), we contended that Plaintiff did not allege sufficient evidence to show that any of its copyrighted materials were violated. The movie company submitted a declaration of its agent (not the same as the company in this article) stating that “multiple bits were conveyed over [the] connection.” However, we argued, multiple “bits” of data do not translate to a viewable image close enough to approximate being substantially similar to the movie company’s copyrighted work.
As Law Professor Matthew Sag states in his recent article “Defense Against the Dark Arts of Copyright Trolling”:
“the isolated “bits” of the movie that [Plaintiff] supposedly received from the defendant’s IP address do not meet the standard for copyright infringement. In the cases that we have studied, the plaintiffs have offered declarations that defendant’s IP address was observed transmitting data with a certain hash value. That hash value, it is alleged, is the same as the hash value of a piece that the witness combined with other pieces to create a file identical to the copyright owner’s work… note that these declarations say nothing about the size or contents of the portions of the work actually downloaded from the defendant’s IP address. In essence, the plaintiff can only state truthfully that its software observed the defendant’s IP address transmitting a fraction of the work….”There is nothing in either declaration that would allow the court to conclude that the “bits” and “pieces” captured by [plaintiff’s experts’] technology as allegedly distributed from Doe’s IP address meet the standard of originality justifying a finding that they are protectable elements of the works.
So How Much Data Did Headhunter, LLC Allegedly Observe From Defendants?
In at least one Headhunter, LLC lawsuit, the movie company’s lawsuit Complaint states that “Each Defendant had copied a piece of the Plaintiff’s Work identified by the Unique Hash Number”.
Is this all the evidence that they have?
If so, are these allegations in the Headhunter, LLC lawsuit enough to withstand a motion to dismiss the Complaint under federal rule 12(b)(6)? A defendant will need to ask the judge to make that determination. It may cost more to do this than to settle, but this could be the right strategy for some who are targeted in Headhunter, LLC lawsuits.
Its Worth Repeating: Don’t Sign a Waiver of Service of Summons Form Before Speaking with an Attorney
As defense attorneys, we are concerned that people who receive a Waiver of Service of Summons form in the mail from the movie company’s lawyer will lead to an unfair default judgment against them. Please speak with an attorney experienced in movie download federal copyright lawsuits before you sign a Waiver of Service of Summons form.
Like other BitTorrent peer-to-peer file-sharing cases, Headhunter, LLC. accuses defendants of copyright infringement by using software and the internet to obtain the film “London Has Fallen” without paying the appropriate license fee. There will likely be more lawsuits filed by Headhunter, LLC.
If your internet address (“IP address”) is involved, your first notice of the lawsuit will probably be a letter from COX Communications internet and a copy of a subpoena from Headhunter, LLC. Scroll down for additional information about these lawsuits.
Received a Subpoena from Your Internet Company? The best thing to do is to talk with an experienced lawyer.
Antonelli Law has helped nearly 2,000 clients targeted in internet movie download lawsuits across the country, from Hawaii to New York and many states in between. We can do this because the lawsuits are in federal court, where all filings are done electronically. See our local counsel attorney information below.
Attorneys: Don’t risk malpractice in a copyright lawsuit if you don’t do this type of work regularly – the loser pays statutory and attorneys fees. We accept attorney referrals and are very experienced in this specialized litigation.
What Are the Steps in a Headhunter LLC, Lawsuit?
Each lawsuit is filed in federal court and requests permission to find out the real names of internet users associated with IP addresses suspected of being part of the movie downloading. This is done by sending a subpoena to the internet company (ISP). Most people find out they are involved in the lawsuit when they receive a letter from their internet company (ISP) such as Comcast, COX, Comcast, or Verizon informing them of the copyright infringement allegations. A copy of a Headhunter LLC subpoena will probably be enclosed.
The Headhunter LLC Subpoena – You Can File a Motion to Quash the Subpoena
If you are the account holder for an internet service provider (ISP), your name is linked to an IP address. If you receive an ISP letter or email informing you a subpoena was received to reveal your identity for a copyright infringement lawsuit. You have the right to file something called a motion to quash the subpoena, although the risks and benefits of filing one should be discussed with a qualified attorney.
Antonelli Law’s Local Counsel – Nationwide Defense Practice
Antonelli Law defense attorneys and local counsel are admitted to the district courts wherever Headhunter LLC. lawsuits are filed from coast to coast. We are able to represent you in your federal case without being more expensive or more difficult to hire than hiring a local law firm in part because federal courts require attorneys to file their papers electronically, and often conduct hearings by telephone. This makes frequent trips to the courthouse unnecessary.
We can defend you and also help protect your anonymity in a Headhunter LLC lawsuit if circumstances allow.
Who Are Our Local Counsel?
Byron L. Ames Jurisdictions: Nevada & Utah
Byron L Ames Nevada & Utah local counsel BitTorrent Copyright Defense for Antonelli Law
Mark Del Bianco Jurisdictions: Maryland, Washington DC
Attorney Mark Del Bianco is Antonelli Law’s Maryland local counsel for Maryland and Washington DC
Leslie Farber Jurisdictions: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
Leslie Farber – New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
Peter Glazer Jurisdiction: Virginia
Virginia copyright defense attorney Peter Glazer
Tristan C. Robinson Jurisdiction: Texas
Southern District of Texas
Jeffrey Antonelli Jurisdictions: Illinois, Indiana, Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin, and others through pro hac vice
Melissa Brabender: Illinois and Nationwide through pro hac vice admission
Attorney Melissa Brabender
Antonelli Law is the most experienced BT copyright defense firm in the country and represents clients nationwide – no more expensively than competent lawyers in your area.
Each lawsuit is filed in federal court and requests permission to find out the real names of internet users associated with IP addresses suspected of being part of the movie downloading. This is done by sending a subpoena to the internet company (ISP). Most people find out they are involved in the lawsuit when they receive a letter from their internet company (ISP) such as Comcast, COX, Comcast, or Verizon informing them of the copyright infringement allegations. A copy of a Headhunter LLC Subpoena will probably be enclosed.
If you are the account holder for an internet service provider (ISP), your name is linked to an IP address. If you receive a Comcast, COX, CenturyLink or similar letter informing you a subpoena was received to reveal your identity call Antonelli Law nationwide at 312-201-8310 or use the contact form below to learn your legal options including settling anonymously, filing a motion to quash or vacate the subpoena, or to prepare to fight the lawsuit.
Headhunter LLC subpoenas and summons can be scary or inconvenient, but we can help you manage the risk and the hassle.
Antonelli Law, a national BT Copyright Defense Group has defended nearly 2,000 people accused of online copyright infringement.
List of Headhunter LLC Cases Filed by State
Headhunter, LLC has filed the following cases:
- Headhunter, LLC v. Doe-18.104.22.168 et al 1:17-cv-05895
- Headhunter, LLC v. Does 1:17-cv-05314 22.214.171.124 et al
- Headhunter, LLC v. Does 1:17-cv-04155126.96.36.199 et al
- Headhunter, LLC v Does 1-8 1:17-cv-00545
- Headhunter, LLC v Does 3:17-cv-00342
- Headhunter, LLC v Does 1-11 5:17-cv-00325
- Headhunter, LLC v Does 1 et al 5:17-cv-00318
- Headhunter, LLC v Does 1-9 5:17-cv-00310
- Headhunter, LLC v Does 1-9 5:17-cv-00296
- Headhunter, LLC v Does 1-10 2:17-cv-00029
- Headhunter, LLC v John Does 1-11 2:17-cv-02986
- Headhunter, LLC v John Does 1-10 2:17-cv-02985
- Headhunter, LLC v. Does 1-17 4:17-cv-02352
- Headhunter, LLC v. Does 1-9 5:17-cv-00069
- Headhunter, LLC v Doe-188.8.131.52 1:17-cv-00793
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