Showing posts with label downloading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label downloading. Show all posts

Thursday, July 19, 2012

UK Student Faces Extradition and 10 Years in US Prison for Aiding Piracy

By Hellerick (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The New York Times is reporting that the US Department of Justice is seeking to have Richard O’Dwyer, a 24-year-old college student from Great Britain, extradited on criminal charges of copyright infringement. The possible punishment: 10 years in a federal penitentiary.

In 2008, O’Dwyer first set up a website,, which allowed users to search for and link to other sites, including ones that the federal authorities argue showed pirated movies and television shows.  

The US government shut down in summer 2010.  But Mr. O’Dwyer was apparently unbowed. had been growing in popularity, and it made about $230,000 from advertising over the course of two years, federal prosecutors claim.

“America? They have nothing to do with me,” Mr. O’Dwyer had declared, according to his mother.  He then subsequently reopened his site as, which he reckoned was beyond the reach of the United States.  He was wrong.

A few months later came a knock on the door from the British police. A judge ruled that Mr. O’Dwyer would not be prosecuted in Britain.  Instead, the US Department of Justice would seek to extradite him.

Prosecutors also claim that O'Dwyer was well aware that the material was copyrighted.  They cite an announcement on TVShack that urged users to be patient with download times because they were “saving quite a lot of money (especially when putting several visits to the theater or seasons together).”

The British home secretary has approved the extradition order and reaffirmed recently that she would let the order stand. O’Dwyer has appealed and a hearing in British courts is expected this fall.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sanctions Against "Rogue" Porn-Copyright Attorney Upheld by 5th Circuit

A federal appeals court has affirmed monetary sanctions assessed against an Intellectual Property lawyer who represents a maker of adult films in a series of copyright-infringement-by-downloading cases.

U.S. District Court Judge David C. Godbey in Dallas had ruled in January that attorney Evan Stone of Denton, Texas had abused the discovery process, and termed him a “rogue attorney" with "staggering chutzpah" in a blistering decision.

In a July 12 ruling, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals  affirmed the District Court's sanctions levied against Stone.

Stone represents Germany’s Mick Haig Productions E.K. against a large number of unnamed "John Doe" Defendants who stand accused of downloading Haig’s “Der Gute Onkel” film without authorization. 

Stone, no stranger to controversy, was depicted strangling pirates near scantily-clad porn stars in a recent Dallas Observer article.

The District Court had appointed attorneys from Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Citizen as "ad litem" attorneys to represent the interests of the John Doe defendants and it was these lawyers who had sought the sanctions in District Court. The sanctions included attorneys' fees of more than $22,000, and $500 per day for each day Stone failed to comply with a court order.

Stone filed an appeal to the 5th Circuit, arguing the sanctions were unjustified and that the court-appointed attorneys lacked standing to seek them.

The appeals court flatly rejected Stone's argument.  It specifically held that “no miscarriage of justice will result from the sanctions” that were imposed “as a result of Stone’s flagrant violation” of court rules.

The appeals court said Stone committed the violations by using the subpoena power of the court to find the identity of anonymous Internet users “then shaming or intimidating them to settle for thousands of dollars” each.

The appeal is captioned Mick Haig Productions E.K. v. Does 1-670, 11- 10977, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (New Orleans). The District Court case is Mick Haig Products E.K. v. Does 1-670, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).

The tactic of using the threat of John Doe subpoena discovery against pornography downloaders has come under recent fire in high-profile class action litigations against a number of adult film companies.