By now readers may have heard about a handful of lawsuits being pursued by XPays, Inc., a company that apparently specializes in the monetization of celebrity sex tapes through its “performance commerce network.”
Two cases filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California have sought to protect the rights to some version of a controversial sex tape featuring model, reality show participant, and “celebutante” Paris Hilton.
In one matter, XPays, Inc. v. Does, Case No. 2:11-cv-00652-SJO-MAN, several individual defendants were served and named after being disclosed through the subpoena process. Ultimately, the case was dismissed in October of last year “without prejudice” after a court ruling that XPays would need to pursue separate cases against each of those named individuals.
A second case, XPAYS, Inc. v. Does 1-995, Case No. CV 11-05880 ODW, remains active in the Central District. Both cases were filed by lawyer Michael Fattorosi. According to sources, XPays has “stiffened” its settlement demands as of late, and plans to again name individual defendants personally in the very near term.
With more intrigue, a secret lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, with Case No. 4:11-cv-00545. The matter was placed under seal, and court filings are generally unavailable to the public through the PACER system. However, it is known that the case bears the unruly caption of XPays, Inc. v. JOHN DOES INVOLVED IN FILESHARING SWARM MARKED BY HASH: 8ED7417E11635B1F8E8109995FF5EA68700BA5CB, suggesting that the allegations of the complaint bear some resemblance to the “swarm”-specific averments previously used by Randazza Legal Group on behalf of Liberty Media Group (a sample Liberty Media complaint is here). The XPays case was filed by Kevin Harrison, an entertainment lawyer in the Denton, TX area.
The Texas matter invovles a sex tape featuring aspring actress Jasmine Waltz, who has been publicly linked to Hollywood men Ryan Seacrest and David Arquette.
Very recently, one motivated Doe filed a motion to quash the subpoena issued in the secret XPays case through public filings made separately in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut. With all due respect to the filer, the pleadings themselves show the difficulty–and frequent futility–of trying to conceal one’s identity by filing public documents in the court, which effectively requires the publication of the filer’s name and address. This is, of course, the very information sought via the subpoena process. However, this particular motion does bring to light some of the secret filings in the Texas matter, and apparently the reviewing judge has issued an order to show cause why the motion should not be granted.