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An overanxious copyright lawyer (or troll, depending on your perspective) was a little too haphazard in his attempts to discover the identities of alleged file sharers and bully them into settling out of court. His name is Evan Stone, and if you punch that into Google, you'll find a list of URLs related to a porn actor who shares the same name. That's somewhat ironic, in that both Evan Stones have been making a name for themselves in adult films, but in completely different ways.
Whereas one sits (and stands and does all kinds of things) in front of the camera, Evan Stone the Texas lawyer makes a living in part by going after people who allegedly share copyrighted adult films via BitTorrent. According to TorrentFreak, he's best known for tracking down users who illegally share anime, and he was a little too aggressive in doing so, ultimately earning himself a verbal lashing and a $10,000 fine.
Mr. Stone got himself in hot water when attempting to track down and sue 670 BitTorrent users who allegedly shared a German porn film called Der Gute Onkel. He asked the court for permission to send subpoenas to ISPs to obtain identities of the alleged file sharers, but was denied his request and told to hang tight. He chose to ignore the court and sent out subpoenas at least four times.
"By serving invalid subpoenas, Stone necessarily 'impost[ed] an undue burden or expense' on each ISP and the putative Does. Stone acknowledges that four ISPs processes and acted on the subpoenas, including sending Stone some of the Does' identifying information," the judge wrote in his ruling (PDF). "Several Does responded to subpoenas issued to their ISPs. And, almost unbelievably, Stone used the information he received to contact an unknown number of potential of Does... presumably in the form of demand letters and settlement offers."
The judge called Stone's actions a "staggering chutzpah," pointing out that "To say that the subpoenas imposed an undue burden on their target fails to capture the gravity of Stone's abdication of responsibility."
He was fined $10,000 for his actions, but some believe it should have been much higher.
"This seems like pennies to an attorney who is bringing in $2,500 per settlement at what he claims is a 45 percent settlement rate," said Robert Cashman, a defense attorney in file-sharing lawsuits. "Ten thousand dollars is merely the equivalent of FOUR settlements."