Janis Joplin famously sang that “freedom” is just another word for nothing left to lose. In the contentious arena of online copyright claims, one person’s “freedom” might be another’s “illegal robo-calls.”
Controversial copyright enforcer Rightscorp was hit with a proposed class-action lawsuit in November, claiming that its method of collecting cash from alleged online pirates included harassing phone calls, which are illegal under federal law. Now the company has struck back against that lawsuit, saying that a secondary claim in that lawsuit is actually a violation of California’s anti-SLAPP statute. The California law is meant to allow defendants to quickly strike down lawsuits that threaten “public participation.”
When Morgan Pietz, the attorney who took down infamous “copyright troll” Prenda Law, sued Rightscorp (PDF), he included two claims. The first was a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) which generally bans “robocalls” to cell phones. He also alleged that Rightscorp engaged in “abuse of process,” by filing 142 DMCA subpoenas to get customer contact info, despite knowing the subpoenas were legally invalid.
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