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US Copyright Group Attacks Defense 'money-making scheme'
November 23, 2010
Thomas Mennecke
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The US Copyright Group case involving Voltage Pictures (The Hurt Locker) vs Does 1-5,000, it appears the barrage of motions to quash and motions to dismiss are getting to the US Copyright Group - at least financially. In a motion filed on November 22nd, the USCG is looking to have all future motions to quash and dismiss summarily denied by the court, and to have lawyer Graham Syfert sanctioned for providing a streamlined form, allowing John and Jane Does to filed motions to quash/dismiss easily and without the need for legal counsel.

Much like the Far Cry case, the Judge's docket in this case is being inundated with motions to quash and dismiss from John and Jane Does looking to protect themselves from identification. Attorney Graham Syfert has developed a fillable form that numerous John and Jane Does have been using in an attempt to have their cases dismissed. Typically, the defendants using these forms are unable to afford an attorney, and opt for the $20 form instead. This onslaught of motions to dismiss is wearing on the USCG, who wants to see the court bring an end to this siege.

"Accordingly, Plaintiff requests that the motions and any similar future motions be denied in their entirety, without the need for Plaintiff to file any additional oppositions, and that the Doe Defendants and the attorney selling the form motions be sanctioned," the USCG wrote in their motion yesterday.

Of course, it would be very convenient for the USCG to not have to write an opposition to every motion to dismiss entered. According to the motion, it has cost the USCG $5,000 to respond to these Does - responses to motions they feel are without any merit whatsoever. Additionally, the USCG wants Mr. Syfert to foot the bill.

While it's true that the form that Mr. Syfert provides indeed takes a Gatling gun approach, such as claiming innocence due to using a WIFI connection, using a VPN, claiming no knowledge of infringement, multiple connections used by multiple people, and so on (most of which have been already denied in the Far Cry case), it does bring up the very important issue of jurisdiction. As you'll recall, last week in the Far Cry case, Judge Rosemary Collyer denied the USCG's motion for a 5 year extension to process the identities of the 4,000+ Does - and also ruled that only those the court has personal jurisdiction over could be sued. Perhaps most of the claims are frivolous as the USCG claims, but certainly not the most important one - jurisdiction.

Lastly, the USCG attacks the originator of the forms, requests sanctions against Mr. Syfert and the defendants - and to top it off, attacks him for his "money-making scheme". A curious charge since the current P2P litigation campaign in the US is designed to provide an additional revenue stream to copyright right holders.

"Attached as Exhibit 1 hereto is a true and correct copy of an email from Mr. Syfert, wherein he admits that his form motions are a money-making scheme. The Court should not tolerate such actions."

We'll find out soon whether the Judge in this case, Justice Ricardo M. Urbina, will agree whether jurisdictional issues are indeed frivolous enough to warrant a summary judgment against all future motions to quash/dismiss.


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