Some weeks after a batch of its Oregon state trademark lawsuits arising from Dallas Buyers Club were dismissed for improper joinder, Voltage has returned to the U.S. District Court in Oregon with at least two “singleton” lawsuits against Doe parties. This time the cases are based on The Company You Keep, a 2012 political thriller starring Robert Redford.
This time, joining Voltage as co-plaintiff is TCYK, LLC, the purported owner of copyrights to the film. TCYK is known for previously filing many copyright infringement lawsuits in the federal courts of Illinois, Indiana, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
The new Oregon cases combine the copyright infringement claims of TCYK with the claims of Voltage for violations of the Oregon Trademark Act, ORS 647. After Voltage’s state trademark lawsuits related to Dallas Buyers Club were removed to the federal court, about two months ago, Troll Defense previously speculated that Voltage might choose to utilize the federal court’s jurisdiction to amend the complaints and add claims under the Copyright Act.
An interesting aspect of the new copyright claims is that they contain an “ALTERNATE THEORY – INDIRECT INFRINGEMENT,” which alleges that:
61. Defendant obtained Internet access through an ISP and permitted, facilitated and promoted the use of the Internet access for the infringing of TCYK, LLC’s exclusive rights under The Copyright Act by others.
62. Defendant failed to reasonably secure, police and protect the use of their Internet service against use for improper purposes such as piracy, including the downloading and sharing of the motion picture by others.
63. Defendant’s failure was with notice as piracy is in violation of the license for access granted to defendant by their ISP which issued defendant an IP address to access the internet.
64. Defendant’s failure was with notice as the volume of activity associated with IP address [ ] is such that defendant either knew of or should have known of the infringing activity.
These allegations appear intended to address the enduring challenge for copyright plaintiffs associated with the fact that investigation of BitTorrent activities often do not reveal who the individual BitTorrent user may be. This “alternate theory” seems to account for the lack of specificity in the investigation and the frequent scenario where the ISP subscriber is not the actual infringer.
The known case captions (with links to complaints) are as follows:
Voltage Pictures, LLC et al v. Doe-188.8.131.52, Case No. 3:14-cv-01191 (D. Or.)
Voltage Pictures, LLC et al v. Doe-184.108.40.206, Case No. 6:14-cv-01193 (D. Or.)