Fox Rothschild LLP is officially out of the porn game
BigLaw behemoth Fox Rothschild LLP is officially out of the porn game, following the exit of a partner who filed hundreds of copyright infringement cases.
Fox Rothschild got a lot of attention last year, for representing the very litigious porn studio, Strike 3 Holdings—they’d filed more than 3,000 cases copyright cases on behalf of the client.
The cases were mostly filed against John Doe downloaders as part of what’s been described as a file-and-settle strategy. All those cases at the Big Law firm were under the direction of a single partner, Lincoln Bandlow, whose departure cost Fox Rothschild a lot more than just the attention, like the title of most litigious firm.
As reported by Law360, after filing 320 new copyright cases in the first quarter of 2019 lawyers from Fox Rothschild filed just a single copyright case in the second quarter.
Judges across the country blasted the cases, with U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth of the District of Columbia saying that Strike 3 “treats this court not as a citadel of justice, but as an ATM.” One judge labeled the porn studio a "copyright troll," and described the cases a "high-tech shakedown," saying Strike 3 was leveraging the cost of litigation and the shame of pornography to extract settlements. Another judge confirmed those concerns, saying the studio could use the cases to "coerce" downloaders "to settle claims that may or may not have merit."
While Fox Rothschild is no longer handlings the studio's cases, Strike 3 has continued to sue illegal downloaders at a prolific clip. Law Firms handling the studio’s work accounted for six of the 10 most active copyright firms in the country over the second quarter.
Firms handling Strike 3’s cases accounted for six of the ten most active copyright firms in the country over the second quarter. Bandlow is still representing the studio from his solo practice, filing 70 new cases during the quarter.
Another former Fox Rothschild attorney, John C. Atkin, filed 95 cases at his own solo practice over the same period.
Other firms filed hundreds more. The James Law Firm, based outside New York City, filed 143 cases, all for Strike 3; and Clark Hill PLC, Boroja Bernier & Associates PLLC, and Mamone Law PA combined to file more than 100 more.
With Fox Rothschild out of the litigation game, the most litigious title was passed to Richard Liebowitz, a New York attorney who was once labeled by a federal judge "a known copyright troll."
Liebowitz has filed more than 1,500 copyright lawsuits since 2015, and his firm filed 165 new copyright cases over the second quarter, mostly on behalf of photographers who say media publishers pulled copyrighted images or from the internet and used them without permission.
Last year a judge sanctioned Liebowitz for a "repeated failure" to obey orders in a lawsuit against NBC. Citing the "troll" decision and others like it, the judge said his order was part of "a growing body of law" devoted solely to punishing Liebowitz.
Several other top-filing firms in the second quarter mirror the patterns of Strike 3 and Liebowitz.
Firms representing another mass-litigating pornography studio, Malibu Media LLC accounted for two other spots; Beik Law filed 97 new cases on behalf of Malibu, and New York attorney Kevin T. Conway filed another 34.