Malibu Media, the Los Angeles based company behind the ‘X-Art’ adult movies, is one of the most active copyright trolls in the United States. This year alone they have filed 288 separate cases involving one or in some cases dozens of defendants.
Day in and day out the company scours the Internet for people sharing their movies via BitTorrent. They then collect the associated IP-addresses, and ask courts all over the country to help them find the perpetrators.
Nearly all of these cases end up being settled for a few thousand dollars each. However, every now and then a defendant fails to respond, giving Malibu Media the opportunity to obtain a default judgment.
This happened to L. Sagala from Muskegon, Michigan, who was found guilty of willful copyright infringement by a federal court last week.
Malibu Media found that the IP-address registered to Sagala was used to share several X-Art movies and asked the court to award $40,500.00 in statutory damages. A bargain, according to Malibu Media, who claim that the real damages are even higher.
“Despite the fact of Defendant’s willful infringement, Plaintiff only seeks an award of $40,500.00 in statutory damages. This amount is reasonable when considering that Plaintiff’s actual damages far exceed this sum,” Malibu Media’s lawyers write.
“To explain, Defendant materially aided each of the other participants in the BitTorrent swarm of infringers. This swarm contained thousands of peers and continues to grow. Plaintiff’s actual damages are the lost sales of its content to those thousands of infringers. In the aggregate, these lost sales far exceed $40,500.00,” they add.
In an order filed before the weekend, District Court Judge Robert Jonkert grants Malibu Media’s damages request, as well as $1,649.40 for attorneys’ fees and costs. As Sagala failed to defend himself the verdict doesn’t come as a surprise. However, the relatively high damages award is not something we see every day.
Over the past few months Malibu Media has scored several similar default “victories” and there is no sign that they will be stopping anytime soon. Together with numerous settlements, which are worth up to thousands of dollars each, the company and its lawyers are estimated to have made millions of dollars.
Malibu Media’s legal action against alleged BitTorrent pirates initially started in 2012, when it followed in the footsteps of several other adult entertainment outfits. Since then, the company has filed a total of 1,894 lawsuits. It’s pretty safe to say that in addition to its x-rated activities, Malibu Media has also perfected the ‘art’ of copyright trolling.