Malibu Media is an entertainment company that produces pornographic films and other related adult entertainment for websites such as X-art.com. Recently, Malibu Media has filed lawsuits against individuals that, according to Malibu Media, have accessed their films illegally through the file sharing network Bit-Torrent.
Bit Torrent works by splitting video files into pieces, which reduces the amount of time and bandwidth it takes to watch a video. A user will not only download parts of films but also upload those same pieces of film once they have been viewed, since doing so allows other users to view those particular pieces of the video.
Theoretically, uploading videos as such is legal. However, the videos that originated from Malibu Media and end up on Bit-Torrent are allegedly pirated copies. If a person uploads any file, their IP address, or the unique identification tag similar to a telephone number, gets tagged to that file. If that file is a pirated file, then that can expose an individual to liability for copyright infringement, regardless of whether or not the viewer knew exactly how Bit Torrent worked.
Malibu Media began exploring the use of copyright infringement lawsuits in 2012, just as their profits and subscriptions began to sink due to an increased number of videos being viewed through Bit Torrent. Malibu Media claimed, and maintains, that the cases need to be filed in order to deter piracy. Soon, however, cases began to spike. Within one year, Malibu Media had filed 1,300 copyright infringement cases, or roughly a third of all copyright infringement cases filed that year. In February 2016, there were 113 cases pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois alone.
Malibu Media copyright cases have generally shared certain characteristics. First, an individual can only be identified by their IP address, which can yield a name only through a long process of reverse engineering (which can be inaccurate at times, since IP addresses can be mimicked by users “camping” on other individuals’ IP addresses). Once a user has been identified, they then tend to be sued for $150,000, the maximum statutory amount for which one can be liable for copyright infringement.
Almost all of the suits that Malibu Media has filed in Chicago have been filed by a single attorney, Mary K Schulz. While Chicago is not the biggest market for Malibu Media, the company has used Schulz to sue 827 people for copyright infringement since 2012, according to the litigation tracking website Pacer.
If you or anyone you know has been targeted in this way by Malibu Media, Saper Law can help. We have defended multiple individuals accused of copyright infringement by the company. Contact Saper Law to explore your options today: (312) 527-4100.