Copyright Troll Asks Court to Ban the Term ‘Copyright Troll’

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Adult movie studio Malibu Media has asked the Indiana federal court to ban negative terms during an upcoming trial against an alleged BitTorrent pirate. According to the copyright troll, descriptions such as "copyright troll," "pornographer" and "porn purveyor" could influence the jury.

trollsignMalibu 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 a 1,104 individual cases against alleged downloaders.

The main goal of the company is to demand settlements of a few thousand dollars, without going to trial. However, defendant Micheal Harrison decided to fight back and wants to have his case heard before a jury.

The lawsuit in question dates back to 2012 and both sites are now gearing up to present their arguments in court. This is new territory for the porn company, and recent motions reveal that the ‘copyright troll’ is worried about its image.

In particular, Malibu Media is worried that the ‘porn’ stigma and terms such as ‘copyright troll’ may influence the jury. It therefore asks the court to ban the use of these terms during the trial.

“If Defendant is permitted to refer to Plaintiff as ‘a copyright troll,’ ‘pornographer,’ ‘porn purveyor,’ or ‘extortionist,’ the negative connotations of those titles are clear and Plaintiff would be unfairly prejudiced in attempting to prove its case,” Malibu writes (pdf).

“The jury would likely be led to abandon its impartiality if those or similar titles are permitted in the courtroom,” they add.

According to the porn company using the term “porn” in court may lead the jury to believe that it its films are not entitled to copyright protection. In addition, they believe that it would trigger preconceived negative connotations.

“Such preconceived negative connotations may impart that Plaintiff’s works are not entitled to copyright protection or that Plaintiff should be treated differently under the law simply because of the industry that it is in,” Malibu writes.

The company wants to avoid these potential problems and has asked the court to restrict the defendant to the terms “Plaintiff” and “Malibu Media” when referencing the porn company during trial.

Defendant Micheal Harrison doesn’t agree with the request and this week he asked the court to dismiss the motion (pdf). Malibu Media is a producer of pornographic movies and should be described as such, he argues.

In addition, the defendant points out that “copyright troll” is a proper description for the business Malibu is engaged in, noting that the company has filed approximately 3,539 lawsuits in the United States.

If Malibu’s requests are granted it would not mark the first time that certain terms have been banned during a copyright trial. Hotfile was previously granted a motion that prohibited the MPAA from using “piracy,” “theft” and “stealing,” but this case was settled before the proceedings started.

Aside from the controversial terms, Malibu Media also asked the court not to accept references to “copyleft” blogs and to exclude an expert testimony of WiFi hacking and other speculative defenses.

The court has yet to decide on whether any terms, citations or other evidence will be off-limits during the trial. In any case, it will prove to be an interesting battle.


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