Sued by Malibu Media?
The letter was his worst nightmare. They had his name, they had his address, and they said they were going to tell the world he had downloaded porn from the internet. Indeed, they had already filed a lawsuit in Federal Court against an IP address they claimed they could connect to his home, and they were threatening to send a U.S. Marshall to his house to serve the lawsuit. They called him John Doe, but he knew it was only a matter of time before that phrase was replaced with his real name. They had a list – dozens of videos, and even the names of them were embarrassing. He had teenagers living in his home, and their parade of friends using his WiFi. He may have looked at the occasional video, but nothing like this. His professional license required him to report it any time he was served with a lawsuit. He had to get help. Fast.
This story could have ended in disaster. He could have lost his job, ruined his reputation, and been subject to a damages of up to several hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you’ve gotten one of these letters, you are probably asking yourself some of these questions.
Will my name be made public?
It will be, unless you take the right action. Our goal is to keep your name private in every case we take. Even though Malibu Media and companies like it will often file suit initially against an IP Address, they will quickly ask the court to have you named publicly in the lawsuit. It is nearly impossible to keep your name out of it without the help of a lawyer, because you cannot appear in court without a lawyer anonymously. A lawyer, however, can represent you and fight to keep your name anonymous while the litigation proceeds. A lawyer can’t guarantee you won’t be named in a lawsuit, but acting on your own almost guarantees your name will be made public.
Can they really sue me for this?
Yes. And if you don’t act to defend yourself, they will win automatically, and you could be publicly on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Copyright infringement is a serious matter, and the courts take it very seriously. You need to take it seriously, too. The company that makes a video owns the copyright in it, even if it’s been posted on the Internet, and even if they don’t say on it that it is copyrighted. If you haven’t been sued yet, it is possible the plaintiff won’t file suit if you ignore them (possible, but not likely). But once a lawsuit is filed, you have been sued, and you can’t ignore it.
What if I didn’t do it?
The technology used to identify your IP Address is not foolproof, and some people just simply didn’t do it. There are a lot of things that can be done to prove that you didn’t download illegal copies of the movies. In one case, a defendant proved he was out of the county during the time period he was accused of illegally downloading files. In another, he proved he didn’t live in the house. We can also do a forensic search of your computer and show that the files simply are not on it, and never have been. There are many ways to show they have the wrong person, and each case calls for a unique analysis of the facts and circumstances. Our goal is to help you solve this issue efficiently, cost effectively, and privately.
Can you make this go away?
Whether to fight the litigation or settle it is both an emotional and financial decision. We can help you resolve the case with minimal litigation if that is your goal, and that will likely mean paying a settlement. But working with an attorney is the only way to keep yourself anonymous once a court case is filed. What you cannot do is ignore a lawsuit that has been filed against you. Ignoring a lawsuit leads to judgment entered against you by default, and that can lead to you owing the other side tens, or even HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars.
How much is it going to cost?
Our goal is to even the playing field so that you have access to competent legal help, and to that end, we offer a modest flat fee for the initial stages of litigation, and reasonable hourly fees for a full-on fight.
Can I hire a lawyer from outside Florida?
You can, but it may well be more expensive. A non-Florida firm has to hire a lawyer admitted in the Middle District of Florida to actually appear in court, and so you end up paying for two law firms instead of one. A non-Florida firm also is much less likely to know the judges and local quirks of the Middle District of Florida the way we do.
We Can Help. Call us at 813-778-5161
If you’ve gotten a letter from your ISP stating that it has been subpoenaed to turn over your personal contact information, or if you’re personal information has already been turned over and you’ve been contacted by Malibu Media lawyers or served with a lawsuit, call us today for a fast, discrete, non-judgmental and confidential case consultation. Our offices are standing by at 813-778-5161.
How Does the Story End?
As you can probably guess, our John Doe’s story did not end in the disaster he feared. We were able to resolve his case without his name coming out. Here’s his take on his experience, in his own words:
I must admit that this has been one of the harder weeks of my entire life, especially starting last Monday when I found out from Verizon that they had released my personal information to these people and I didn’t even know about it. In any event, I’m glad I found you and that you were willing to help me with all of this. You’re an excellent lawyer as well as a very good person. I don’t know what else to say, except to say thank you.