At some point, however, the company decided that there was potentially more money to be made from suing companies than getting the public to pay for its photos.
Over the years the company developed an increasingly aggressive anti-piracy policy, filing lawsuits against any company it felt had infringed upon its rights. After suing Google and Amazon, the company went after MasterCard and Visa. It even took legal against hosting providers such as LeaseWeb and OVH.
While the company wasn’t always successful, the commodity fueling these suits were cash settlements in several cases. In time, Perfect 10 became better known as a copyright troll than a publisher and in 2011, the company added Usenet provider Giganews to its target list. The effort failed spectacularly.
In November 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California found that Giganews was not liable for the infringing activities of its users. Perfect 10 was ordered to pay Giganews $5.6m in attorney’s fees and costs.
The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit subsequently had little good to say about Perfect 10. The company failed again, losing the appeal and facing potential liquidation.
Now, Giganews is turning the tables on Perfect 10 in the most devastating and ironic way imaginable. After making a business out of using its intellectual property assets to intimidate technology companies, Perfect 10 is now set to lose all of those assets in order to settle Giganews’ bills.
“We are excited to announce that the United States District Court for the Central District of California has granted Giganews’ motion to appoint a receiver to carry out a levy on all of Perfect 10’s intellectual property,” Giganews says.
That intellectual property includes (but is not limited to) all of Perfect 10’s domain names, all of its copyrights, and all of its trademarks. In light of more than a decade of aggressive troll-like litigation, it’s the ultimate insult to Perfect 10. Some might argue it’s the most fitting conclusion.
Giganews says that the receiver will now begin the process of liquidating the intellectual property. All proceeds will go towards satisfying Giganews’ $5.6 million attorney’s fees judgment that was awarded by the California court back in 2015.
“We won victory after victory over the course of the case, prevailing on every claim and obtaining the attorney’s fees award, culminating in a unanimous victory before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in January 2017. That ruling upheld early rulings of three separate federal judges in favor of Giganews,” the company says.
The victory over Perfect 10 is undoubtedly an important one but it remains to be seen whether the former publisher’s assets will be worth anything like the $5.6m they need to realize. Nevertheless, for Giganews CEO and Co-Founder Ron Yokubaitis, putting a troll out of action is still a good result.
“We are determined to collect 100% of what is owed to us by Perfect 10 from this cowardly and frivolous lawsuit,” Yokubaitis says.
“This is a big win for Usenet and for user platforms over the entire open Internet. This ruling will now put a copyright troll out of business and free up the courts from baseless lawsuits.”
Giganews’ says that anyone interested in purchasing Perfect 10’s intellectual property can contact its litigation counsel at Fenwick & West.