The (Not So) Fairy Tale of the Copyright Troll

Date: 
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Extortion Scam Thwarted

Susan Malter, Susan Malter Law

Picture this. You open up your mail one day to find a threatening letter from a high-powered attorney. The letter says that you illegally downloaded a movie and violated copyright law. You read a little further to find out you have to pay $3,000 to settle the lawsuit, or potentially face $150,000 dollars in legal fees.

You start to panic. You think, “I should consult an attorney about this.” After you call an attorney, you find out that it would cost thousands of dollars to hire someone. You can’t afford to settle, but you can’t afford to hire an attorney. You’re also fairly certain you didn’t download that movie. What do you do?

This is the exact situation that CVLS client, Robert, found himself in. Later, he would learn that he was dealing with the notorious “copyright troll.”

Copyright trolls may not live in caves or have green skin, but their actions are undeniably ugly. These lawyers all have the same approach. They know they’ll never be successful in court because they don’t have the evidence to prove a copyright violation, so instead they turn to extortion.

Longtime CVLS volunteer, Susan Malter, is no stranger to copyright trolls. “The evidence just isn’t there. Every case where the defendant fights back, he or she wins,” she said. Susan knows that trolls usually aim for low-income individuals, some of whom are undocumented, because they make easy targets.

Susan filed an Appearance on behalf of Robert and quickly filed a Motion to Dismiss. She then contacted the other attorney and threatened to file a counterclaim. After hearing from Robert’s sword-wielding protector, the copyright troll dropped the lawsuit that same day.

While this case was relatively straightforward for Susan, Robert was eternally grateful. He knew he didn’t do anything wrong, but he had no idea how to defend himself. Thanks to Susan, Robert can go back to living his life without having to worry about the “copyright troll.”