November saw the first Pacific Northwest BitTorrent copyright lawsuits filed in Oregon by Clear Skies Nevada, LLC, which owns the rights to the 2014 film Good Kill. This film concerns a military drone pilot (played by Ethan Hawke) who questions the ethics of dropping bombs in Afghanistan from his remote post in Nevada.
Clear Skies Nevada was known for a large number of previous copyright infringement filings in Illinois, Michigan and Texas, with lesser numbers of cases in Colorado, Florida and Wisconsin, as reported by Antonelli Law.
The new cases, filed in the U.S. District Court, District of Oregon, are the work of Salem, Oregon lawyers Carl D. Crowell and Crowell Law. Like countless prior copyright suits filed in this District Court (and many other courts), the lawsuits allege infringement of the films by anonymous “Doe” defendants through the use of BitTorrent file-sharing software.
Two of the Clear Skies Nevada cases are multiple-plaintiff suits which allege the infringement by a single Doe party of Good Kill and another film. One includes Pay the Ghost, a 2014 Nicolas Cage film; a second suit involves American Heist, a 2015 action flick with Adrien Brody. Crowell has used this multi-film tactic before in a combination of Pay the Ghost, Dallas Buyers Club and The Cobbler.
A commonality among all of these films is their affiliation with Voltage Pictures, LLC, which has distribution rights or co-production credits with regard to each release. Voltage Pictures is said to be the driving force behind hundreds of similar BitTorrent copyright actions that have been filed in recent years.
Two other recent Clear Skies Nevada cases joins together the company’s claims against groupings of 8 and 9 separate Doe parties. As discussed in a prior post, this indicates a continued effort by Crowell Law and its film company clients to return to a prior pattern of multi-Doe lawsuits in Oregon, based on allegations of common infringing conduct and permissive joinder.
UPDATE (8/10/16): Following a recent decision by the Oregon District Court disallowing joinder of the several Doe parties, Clear Skies filed a number of single-Doe lawsuits.
A case listing with links to complaints is below:
Case No: 3:15-cv-02140
Clear Skies Nevada, LLC and PTG Nevada, LLC v. Doe-188.8.131.52
Case No: 3:15-cv-02141
Clear Skies Nevada, LLC and Glacier Films (USA), Inc. v. Doe-184.108.40.206
Case No: 3:15-cv-02142
Clear Skies Nevada, LLC v. Doe-220.127.116.11, et al
Case No: 3:15-cv-02233
Clear Skies Nevada, LLC v. Doe-18.104.22.168 et al
Case No. 3:16-cv-00808
Clear Skies Nevada, LLC v. Doe-22.214.171.124
Case No. 3:16-cv-00809
Clear Skies Nevada, LLC v. Doe-126.96.36.199
Case No. 3:16-cv-00810
Clear Skies Nevada, LLC v. Doe-188.8.131.52
Case No. 3:16-cv-00811
Clear Skies Nevada, LLC v. Doe-184.108.40.206
Case No. 3:16-cv-01364
Clear Skies Nevada, LLC v. Doe-220.127.116.11
Case No. 3:16-cv-01527
Clear Skies Nevada, LLC v. Doe-18.104.22.168