Studio Sues Over Copyright They Don't Own

Shawn Hogan has received plenty of attention in the last year for his decision to fight the MPAA over the lawsuit they filed against him, claiming he had shared the movie Meet the Fockers via a file sharing program. The problem? Hogan didn't actually share the movie, has never downloaded it, and actually owns the DVD of the movie in question. The MPAA made it clear that if he just paid them $2,500, they would forget the whole thing -- which certainly has the feel of extortion.

So, Hogan decided to fight the case in court to prove they were wrong, and said he wouldn't let them back out and run like they've done in other cases. All this, despite the fact that it would probably cost him over $100,000 in legal fees. Hogan decided it was worth it on principle. However, in preparing for the case, it looks like Hogan and his lawyer discovered that the studio might not actually have the rights to the movie.

The explanation is a little confusing, but it appears that there are two separate organizations involved: Universal City Studios Productions LLLP and Universal City Studios LLLP (you can see why this gets confusing). The first ( we'll call them "Productions" ) is the one who sued Hogan. However, it was the other ( "plain old Studios" ) who filed the copyright registration.

So, in preparing for the case, Hogan and his lawyers went looking for proof that plain old Studios had transferred the copyright to Productions -- which they got. The problem, however, is that the notice transferring the rights happens to occur two months before plain old Studios actually registered the copyright. In other words, they handed over the rights before they even got them -- making the whole thing a bit of a mess.

Apparently, it's messy enough that Hogan and his lawyer hope to have the whole case dismissed. Unfortunately, having such a case dismissed on what appears to be a (stupid and careless) technicality won't help much in dealing with other cases where people are falsely accused (assuming this thing isn't that common) -- but it should save Hogan a lot in legal fees.

Either way, it's yet another example of the somewhat reckless abandon with which the industry seems to file these lawsuits. Why bother making sure (a) the person did it or (b) you own the copyright before suing? That takes all the challenge out of suing your customers.

News source: Techdirt

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Man the MPAA and RIAA mafia.........
Its time to fight fire with fire
Sue them back!! File a counter suit
What’s wrong with a counter suit? if enough people get together to lodge a class action suit against them... mind you it may not pay off financially individually but then it would clear your name in one hell of a public way, and some lucky lawyer gets to kiss your ass for the money earned if they win.
Sue for defamation of character, extortion; add in legal costs of frivolous law suit with out merit
(Brain fart) wow!! I should patent frivolous law suits
Think of this what a huge idea.......
I would exceed BG as the richest man in the world in no time, 10 % royalties from every frivolous legal action.
I can see those “champagne kisses and caviar dreams now............”
(This excerpt used with acknowledgments to “Life styles of the Rich and Famous”
See I don’t pirate, I give credit lmao screw you Hollyworth

Two options present themselves:
1. The studio does have copyright then it is possibly extortion.
2. The studio doesn't / didn't have copyright, then it is fraud.

let me be the first person ever to go on record and state that the riaa and the mpaa are doodie heads and they have penis breath.

I agree with you here 100%.

You would think the layers would have done their own investigation into who owned the copyright in the first place, this is a major "looser" for the law firm and an even bigger one for MPAA.

What a joke.

Actually, it's the MPAA this time :P but the RIAA is no better. Anyone heard the song "Weird Al" Yankovic - I'll Sue Ya? so appropriate theme music for the RIAA/MPAA :P (well I think so)

Ok... it said he "shared" it as in he let someone get it from him. Sounds like he took his copy he owned and ripped it then uploaded it tho. That's how it looks to me.

Quote - roadwarrior said @ #8.1

Read that again, slower this time.

So just cause he says "I didn't share it!" means he really didn't?

Quote - The Maxx said @ #8.2

So just cause he says "I didn't share it!" means he really didn't?

And because the MPAA says "He shared it" means he does?

They did, even dead people and those who don't even own a computer. They usually don't even make it to court because they force people to settle out of court. If they made it to court the case would most likely get thrown out, but since they usually have deeper pockets than their victims they will "win"...

Bravo to him for having the bottle to go after these guys.

The MPAA has grown FAR too big for its boots over the years.. i'll be following this guys progress with interest!

Bottle is only a technicality im sure a lot more people would fight if they had the means to pay to be able to.

Its shame that figthing an accusation like this usually means you will loose based on hopw much money you can afford to shell out.

Quote - PureLegend said @ #2

Please stop using this. It's stupid. Ever time I read it, my inner voice goes, "what in the hell does 'pewnt' mean, oh yeah, it's a crowd follower using it to represent 'owned' because 3 people think it's cool."