CELL Film Holdings, LLC, which claims copyrights to the John Cusack/Samuel L. Jackson zombie-themed movie Cell, has filed several BitTorrent copyright infringement suits in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. These are the first such lawsuits in the nation, with the Oregon District continuing to serve as a launching pad for new film titles in BitTorrent litigation.
Cell is based on a 2006 Stephen King novel of the same title about a signal sent out over the global cell phone network that transforms every cell phone user into a mindless killer. According to Variety, “[w]atching ‘Cell,’ no one’s pulse will be raised, since the film is about as close as you could get to a generic low-budget undead thriller.”
The new Cell lawsuits in Oregon allege copyright infringement by “Doe” parties through their use of BitTorrent file-sharing software. Along with generic allegations of BitTorrent-based copyright infringement, the suits seek statutory damages pursuant to the Copyright Act, attorney’s fees and costs, and an injunction against further infringement.
The complaints allege that CELL Film Holdings is an affiliate of Benaroya Pictures. As noted in a prior Troll Defense post regarding affiliated film Queen of the Desert, Benaroya Pictures was founded by Michael Benaroya, who began funding films in 2009, including past titles such as “New York, I Love You,” “The Romantics,” “Catch .44,” “Margin Call” and “The Words.” As predicted then, the Cell lawsuits confirm Benaroya’s foray into a multi-title “troll-style” lawsuit campaign.
Like many other similar lawsuits filed in the District of Oregon, the Criminal Productions cases were filed by Salem, OR attorney Carl D. Crowell and Crowell Law. A case listing with links to the complaints is below.
UPDATE (3/12/17): After a hiatus of many months, CELL Film Productions resumed filing Oregon actions in recent weeks. Notably, the recent complaint reflects the continuation of the tactic of making passing reference to the alleged infringement of one or more additional film titles, although the rights-holders associated with such titles are not plaintiffs in the actions. As Troll Defense has reported, the additional titles named are usually the subject of past, pending (or future) BitTorrent lawsuits involving the same attorney. ISP subscribers and others implicated in these cases should prepare for settlement demands based on these additional, not-filed claims.
Parties and subscribers receiving ISP notices of these actions can contact attorney Benjamin Justus for a free consultation regarding possible options.
Case No. 3:16-cv-01387
CELL Film Holdings, LLC v. Doe-220.127.116.11
Case No. 3:16-cv-01388
CELL Film Holdings, LLC v. Doe-18.104.22.168
Case No. 3:16-cv-01440
CELL Film Holdings, LLC v. Doe-22.214.171.124
Case No. 3:16-cv-01484
CELL Film Holdings, LLC v. Doe-126.96.36.199
Case No. 3:16-cv-01486
CELL Film Holdings, LLC v. Doe-188.8.131.52
Case No. 3:16-cv-01487
CELL Film Holdings, LLC v. Doe-184.108.40.206
Case No. 3:16-cv-01525
CELL Film Holdings, LLC v. Doe-220.127.116.11
Case No. 3:16-cv-01526
CELL Film Holdings, LLC v. Doe-18.104.22.168
Case No. 3:17-cv-00239
CELL Film Holdings, LLC v. Doe-22.214.171.124