Over the last year a handful of lawyers have sued well over one hundred thousand alleged BitTorrent users in the United States. Usually, when these lawyers respond to the press, if they even choose to do so at all, we are given only generic comments. Until now. In a quite revealing interview, Texas lawyer Evan Stone becomes the first of his kind to open the book on the motivations which see him going after “smarmy entitled little brats.”
In recent months we’ve written dozens of articles on copyright trolls and BitTorrent mass lawsuits, but we’ve heard little from the people who orchestrate these witch hunts.
Thanks to an interview arranged by Patrick Michels of the Dallas Observer we are now given the opportunity to get a little more personal with one of them. Even at six long pages it’s well worth the read, but for the time sensitive, here are the juicy parts.
Meet Texas Lawyer Evan Stone.
Stone is a Junior Attorney who describes himself as a programmer, filmmaker and musician. Together, these skills turn him into the perfect pirate chaser, or so he thinks. Suing tens of thousands of pirates is Stone’s destiny, and despite the fact that he hasn’t won a single trial case yet, he will continue this fight.
“I was born to do this shit,” Stone says. “I eat, sleep, breathe, shit this stuff.”
Despite the perfect fit, the Texas lawyer didn’t come up with the pay-up-or else schemes himself. It was another law firm that inspired him. When he read about the cases started by law firm Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver (who in turn were inspired by operations in Germany and the UK) he immediately knew that the wanted to follow in their footsteps.
At the time he was providing legal services to anime distributor FUNimation, where he recalls a fellow lawyer saying: “Wouldn’t it be great if we could do this?” Stone agreed, and in the months that followed he approached several content owners, offering his assistance.
Closer to home in the anime business, he didn’t have much success initially. Anime producers know that their audience can be characterized as being pro-BitTorrent. So, suing the very same people who also buy their content was probably not in their best interest, some may have thought. This meant that Stone had to try his luck elsewhere.
“I said, you know what, I know a whole bunch of people whose shit is pirated all the time that don’t give a fuck about bad press.”
And he was right.
Through his contacts at FUNimation, Stone got in touch with people in the porn industry who were happy to work with him. Not just because Evan Stone carries the name of a ‘huge’ porn star, but mainly because there’s some serious cash to be made.
The money is also one of the main motivators for Stone. He admits that he gets about 45% of the cash recouped through settlements, money he uses to take care of his family. But financial incentives aside, Stone thrives simply on his hatred of pirates.
Some of this grudge originates from early last decade when he founded a music company that was planning to sell MP3s. The timing was perfect, bands were interested and the first MP3-players were just hitting the mainstream. However, there was a slight problem that burst the bubble – a problem called Napster.
“My vendetta against pirates has been building for years and years,” he says, commenting on that history.
Back to the present day, Stone admits that he enjoys going after pirates, but the scheme has also met resistance from various sides. Among other issues, ISPs are putting up a fight, with some claiming they can only lookup a few IP-addresses a month. Stone doesn’t buy it.
“I know what’s involved, and it’s such horseshit for them to say they can’t get this stuff,” he says, later referring to them as “those fuckers” at Verizon and “those snakey fucks” at Time Warner.
Similarly, the porn industry hasn’t given him the love he was looking for either, at least not in a business way. The legal community in the porn business didn’t like the newcomer and turned against him. This is one of the reasons why Stone decided to pull out.
“Fuck the adult industry,” he says. “You can quote me on that,” he told the Dallas Observer journalist.
Stone is now looking for more mainstream clients to continue his business. According to him there is no shortage of pirates and plenty of publishers who want to make a few extra bucks after all. Interestingly enough, one of Stone’s latest clients is FUNimation, who sued 1337 BitTorrent users earlier this year.
And so this hatred-fueled battle of a generally likeable lawyer continues.
“I hate hardly anybody,” he says, “but when I think about pirates, I do tend to think about a lot of them as smarmy entitled little brats,” Stone says.
The above is just a small sample of the excellent piece just published in the Dallas Observer. We encourage everyone who’s interested in more background on Stone to have a read.