Adult entertainment outfit Malibu Media has often been characterized as a copyright-trolling operation.
The Los Angeles company, known for its popular “X-Art” brand, has gone after thousands of alleged file-sharers in U.S. courts, collecting millions of dollars in settlements.
Not too long ago Malibu was one of the most active anti-piracy litigants in the U.S., but in recent years this activity ground to a halt. However, there was one case that continued, and not because Malibu wanted it to.
The case in question started in 2018, when Malibu Media accused Mr. Mullins of downloading 11 pirated videos. The defendant fought back and contested the evidence up to the point where Malibu Media agreed to dismiss its claims, but that wasn’t enough.
The defense wanted to see the company’s piracy evidence but this was never presented, despite a court order. That frustrated the court, the accused subscriber, and even Malibu’s own attorney, who withdrew from the case because her client failed to comply.
Wrongfully Accused ‘Pirate’ Wins
After several back and forths, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin eventually handed a win to Mr. Mullins. Last year, the court ordered Malibu to pay $48,656.73 in costs and attorneys’ fees. When Malibu initially failed to pay, the total amount owed more than doubled to $108,271.
These rulings were a major win for the wrongfully accused ‘pirate’ and his legal team. In fact, it is one of the largest judgments we’ve seen in these types of cases.
While the defense was pleased with the outcome, recouping the money wasn’t easy. Malibu didn’t pay the required amount and on top of that, actively diverted funds that should have been used to pay these fees.
To recover the money owed, the defendant hired collection attorney Joseph Stewart, who obtained a restraining order that required Malibu Media and its payment processors to restrain the “X-Art.com Proceeds.”
The extra work increased the initial judgment from $48,656.73 in costs and attorneys’ fees to $108,271. After several turnover orders, the full amount was eventually recouped through payment processors Epoch and CC Bill last month.
“The undersigned attorney for the judgment creditor certifies and acknowledges full payment of both judgments, as well as all costs and interest,” collection attorney Joseph Stewart informed the court.
The defendant’s attorney, J. Curtis Edmondson is pleased with the outcome and stresses that his client should have never ended up in the situation.
“Malibu Media never provided any evidence that the Defendant infringed, but still claimed this was the case even after the Court ruled in the Defendant’s favor. This claim by Colette Pelissier, Malibu’s owner, after judgment was entered, was a bald-faced lie,” Edmondson tells TorrentFreak.
According to the attorney, Malibu’s boss has been lying since “Day 1” when she claimed that the company didn’t use the court system as the primary source to generate revenue.
“In the post-judgment proceedings, before Judge Durkin, it was demonstrated that very little income was from their websites and licensing. Malibu Media used the court system as their primary source of income.”
Malibu’s Boss is Disgusted
Malibu Media boss Colette Pelissier, meanwhile isn’t happy with how things went down. She doesn’t believe that the former defendant is entitled to the compensation and previously accused the denfense of “extortion” and “unjust enrichment”.
A few days before the full amount was paid off, Pelissier wrote another scathing letter to the court. This time, she added The Hollywood Reporter, The New Yorker, and The Chicago Sun Times as recipients as well.
None of these mainstream publications appear to have covered the letter, which urged the court to cancel the turnover order, with Malibu’s boss suggesting that she wasn’t properly heard.
“I am disgusted with Chicago’s judicial system and the citation to discover assets that they will send to anyone who needs to pay you, then make a deal with them. We have had a 10 year relationship not pay us since June.”
“I implore you to have that turnover order cancelled [sic] and a hearing held, where we have time to discuss the real issues,” Pelissier added.
Despite the letter and the outspoken critique, the turnover order wasn’t scrapped. Although Malibu refused to pay voluntarily, the payment processors used by the company restrained the funds and eventually handed them over to the defendant, effectively ending the case.
Pelissier informed TorrentFreak today that she believes that the court clearly made the wrong decisions in this case, which we may not have heard the last of.
“Mullins and Peacock’s pathetic attempts at extortion did not go unnoticed and we will be filing retaliatory litigation against ALL involved. Malibu, X-Art.com and myself want to thank all of our supporters who have stood by us for so long!” she says.
Pelissier plans to keep X-Art.com members informed about the matter, answering questions during live sessions on the platform. “I will be doing something super special for everyone. Down with corruption and lies. Don’t be a sheep. More later!”