“Copyright Troll” must pay an additional $ 60,000 to compensate wrongly accused “pirate” * TorrentFreak
Homepage > Lawsuits > Copyright Trolls >
Adult entertainment company Malibu Media continues to dig a deeper hole. After failing to pay tens of thousands of dollars to a man wrongly accused of film piracy, the company’s assets were stranded. And after a dramatic hearing last week, the total amount owed more than doubled to $ 108,271.
In recent years, adult entertainment company Malibu Media has often been described as a copyright control operation.
The company, known for its popular âX-Artâ brand, has sued thousands of alleged file sharers in US courts, collecting millions of dollars in settlements.
Accused of pirate response
Most of the accused hackers don’t fight, but sometimes one does. Among them, MWM who filed a counterclaim and asked Malibu to back up his claim with the digital evidence that led to their piracy charge.
Despite a court order, this evidence never arrived. It frustrated the court, the accused subscriber and even Malibu’s own lawyer, who withdrew from the case last year because his client failed to comply.
In the months that followed, little progress was made, and earlier this year U.S. District Court Judge Thomas M. Durkin handed Mr. WM a victory. The court ordered Malibu to pay $ 48,656.73 in legal costs and fees.
Malibu did not pay
In most cases, an order like this would end things but, in this case, things turned from bad to worse. Malibu Media did not pay and on top of that the company actively embezzled funds that should have been used to pay these charges.
To recover the money, MWM hired Joseph Stewart, an experienced collection lawyer. They went so far as to secure an order that required Malibu Media and its payment processor Epoch.com to restrict subscription income from âX-Art.comâ members.
That ordinance also applied to ZO Digital, a company operated by the husband of Malibu boss Colette Pelissier, which raised more than $ 100,000 in revenue in the first half of the year.
Things get out of hand
A few weeks ago, the matter started to escalate. The court ordered Epoch to ensure that all Malibu income is frozen, and then sent to MWM’s legal team, until the fees are paid.
The judge found that Malibu interfered with the legal process on several occasions, despite having sufficient financial means to pay. Harsh comments were also directed at Malibu’s designate, Colette Pelissier, who failed to appear in court without a valid reason.
To ensure Pelissier attends an upcoming meeting, Judge Durkin signed an order for the conditional seizure of the body. This effectively meant that she would be arrested if she did not obey.
The prison threat worked but things haven’t improved for Malibu and its CEO. In a digital court hearing last week, Mr. WM’s legal team asked Malibu to pay additional legal fees, to cover expenses incurred in attempting to recover the previously awarded money.
We did not witness the hearing ourselves, but the copyright lawyer and YouTuber Leonard J. French, who is not involved in this case, told us that the procedure was quite complicated.
Pelissier would have had a complete breakdown. She spoke quickly and in panic, while repeatedly interrupting the judge, referring to issues that seemed unrelated to the case at hand.
The Malibu boss also criticized lawyers for trying to profit from the copyright lawsuits. She said the company had stopped filing new cases because it didn’t want to be hard on people during the COVID pandemic and added that this was the only remaining case.
Judge Durkin asked him to slow down but that didn’t help much. Pelissier continued to interrupt what was not appreciated by the court, to say the least.
“I deal with prisoners who are more appropriate, I have mentally ill people who can behave more decently,” Justice Durkin said, before cutting the call.
Fee increase to $ 108,271
Shortly after the hearing, Justice Durkin issued an order partially granting the motion for additional costs. Post-judgment fees of $ 59,614 for the collection lawyer and $ 764 in costs were awarded. However, the $ 23,775 requested for the previous lawyer was refused.
Malibu Media and its representative Collette Pelissier are jointly responsible for this amount and the same applies to ZO Digital.
In addition to the pre-judgment costs awarded earlier, Malibu Media must pay a total of $ 108,271 in costs and expenses. This is one of the most important judgments we have seen in favor of a wrongly accused file sharer.
The next step is to collect the money and Mr. WM’s legal team continues to work on it. In a case filed this week, they note that payment provider Epoch has already withheld $ 67,289.
Epoch is required to limit future charges to Malibu Media (X-Art.com) until the full amount is paid, which means approximately $ 41,000 remains.
A copy of Justice Durkin’s order upholding the additional legal costs claim is available here (pdf)