Judge gavel

A judge in Oregon has ruled that a Nevada movie company must pay over $17,000 in financial compensations to a man it wrongfully accused of copyright infringement and insisted on pursuing the case with "overaggressive litigation tactics," even after it became clear that the accused man was not responsible for the supposed crime.

The decision comes in a lawsuit filed by Cobbler Nevada LLC, the movie company behind the Adam Sandler film "The Cobbler," released in 2014.

The filmmaker accused Thomas Gonzales of copyright infringement. The only evidence the company had was the IP address from where the movie was downloaded, which was assigned to an adult foster home that Gonzales operates, but doesn't live at.

Movie company had presented slim evidence

The filmmaker filed the case in the hopes they would scare the victim with the upcoming and very expensive legal procedures, and reach a pre-trial settlement.

Gonzales wasn't intimidated and fought back the allegations, which a judge dismissed in June 2016, arguing that an IP address is not enough to tie the copyright infringement to Gonzales and that a visitor or one of the persons living at the care home could have committed the act.

On Monday, according to court documents obtained by DieTrollDie, a website documenting the actions of so-called "copyright trolls," the judge who oversaw the case decided that the filmmaker needed a lesson, and ordered the company to pay attorney fees in the amount of $17,222.40 and extra costs in the amount of $252.20.

Judge decided to punish the company for overaggressive tactics

The judge explained her decision saying the filmmaker had continued litigation even after it became apparent that Gonzales wasn't the one who committed the copyright infringement.

Furthermore, the judge argued that the filmmaker and other movie companies around the US need to be thought a lesson.

Although Plaintiff urges the Court to believe that “money has never been the goal” of this action, this Plaintiff and similarly-situated plaintiffs continue to demand large sums of money from individuals to settle these BitTorrent copyright claims. Many individuals agree to pay these large sums without the benefit of legal counsel. See Anonymous Users of Popcorn Time, 2016 WL 4238639, at *4. The Court shares Gonzales’ concern that Plaintiff is motivated, at least in large part, by extracting large settlements from individual consumers prior to any meaningful litigation. On balance, the Court has concerns about the motivation behind Plaintiff’s overaggressive litigation of this case and other cases, and that factor weighs in favor of fee shifting.

The judge's decision shines a brighter light on the practice of some movie companies that start countless of copyright infringement cases all over the US, sometimes on slim evidence such as an IP address, mainly for the purpose of extracting large sums of money via pre-litigation settlements, using what the judge has described as "overaggressive litigation."

According to Casetext, a public legal search resource, Cobbler Nevada LLC has filed several copyright infringement lawsuits across the US.