In recent years more than 250,000 individuals in the United States have been sued for allegedly downloading and sharing unauthorized content.
But out of dozens of lawsuits, from those focusing on regular movies such as The Hurt Locker to others dabbling in the world of hardcore pornography, one stood out as being even more unsavoury than the rest.
World Digital Rights, Inc. v. John Does 1-80 was a suit brought on behalf of the indie metal label Nuclear Blast against individuals alleged to have downloaded ‘This Is Where It Ends’, an album by the band All Shall Perish. But not only did this one victimize alleged infringers, it also victimized the people the lawsuit claimed to protect – the band themselves.
The lawsuit was not only brought without the band’s permission, but also without their knowledge. In the days after the suit was filed, the band’s manager Ryan Downey fought a battle to defend the band’s reputation. The heavy metal image and ethos of the band was hardly compatible with a sleazy bullying campaign.
“The band wasn’t consulted whatsoever and none of us have ever heard of this company,” Downey told TorrentFreak.
Downey (and band members through him) spoke with TorrentFreak on a number of occasions, desperately trying to get to the bottom of what was happening to them. But despite being given assurances by Nuclear Blast that the case would be brought to a halt, it was in fact pressing ahead, with a judge eventually giving World Digital Rights authorization to unmask the alleged infringers through their ISPs.
Quickly, however, it became clear that something was amiss. After a Doe in the case hired a lawyer to defend against a demand for cash settlement, it was discovered that far from handling the case properly, World Digital Rights did not have the copyrights to the All Shall Perish album. In fact, none had been registered at the United States Copyright Office at all.
TorrentFreak informed Downey that the case was pressing ahead and through his emails back we could sense his anger. He approached Nuclear Blast yet again – and then somehow the balance must have tipped. Shortly after a document was filed at the Florida District Court. It contained the following text:
PLAINTIFF’S NOTICE OF VOLUNTARY DISMISSAL WITHOUT PREJUDICE
Plaintiff, WORLD DIGITAL RIGHTS, by and through undersigned counsel, pursuant to Federal Rule of Procedure 41 (a)(1)(A)(i) files this Notice of Voluntary Dismissal and hereby dismisses the above style action against Defendants John Does 1-80.
There were no explanations and no further embellishment, but it’s there in black and white – the case has been pulled voluntarily.
This Is Where It Ends – hopefully at least…