Fox Rothschild Partner Faces Sanctions Hearing Over Porn Copyright Cases

Strike 3 Holdings co-owner Greg Lansky with adult film performers at the 2017 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas. (Photo:

A Fox Rothschild partner is taking heat again over his work for a porn maker that's been dubbed a "copyright troll."

Lincoln Bandlow is scheduled on Wednesday to argue in a Sacramento federal court that he should not pay sanctions for missing deadlines in roughly 25 cases in which he represents pornography producer Strike 3 Holdings Inc.

Los Angeles-based Bandlow has represented Strike 3 Holdings in roughly 2,500 copyright infringement lawsuits the company has filed since late 2017. The lawsuits accuse unnamed internet users of stealing Strike 3’s videos through the online platform BitTorrent. The vast majority of cases settle.

In large part thanks to Strike 3 Holdings, more copyright lawsuits were filed last year than any year since 2009, according to Lex Machina. Strike 3 filed 2,185 of the 6,516 copyright lawsuits filed nationally last year, Lex Machina data show. The second most copyright complaints were filed in 2015, when 5,219 were brought.

The litigation campaign has come under judicial scrutiny before. A Washington, D.C.-based federal judge in November tossed a Strike 3 lawsuit and said Fox Rothschild was overseeing a “high-tech shakedown” that “treats this court not as a citadel of justice, but as an ATM.” Fox Rothschild has filed an appeal in that case.

In another case in Washington state, Bandlow and Strike 3 are fighting a counterclaim that alleges they file lawsuits “with no intention to litigate” and are engaged in “extortion through sham litigation.” That case is set for trial in September.

The most recent sanctions hearing in Sacramento came as a result of Bandlow and Strike 3 failing to provide a status report related to at least 15 cases within a 45-day period. On Jan. 2, Magistrate Judge Carolyn Delaney ordered Strike 3 to explain why it shouldn’t be sanctioned $250 for missing those deadlines. At least 25 Strike 3 cases are at issue on Wednesday, according to a search of Strike 3’s court dockets.

Bandlow said in court filings that Strike 3 failed to file the status reports because it had “encountered issues with its calendaring procedure” for cases in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. He also said the filing mistakes were in part due to a lack of staff during the holidays and an inability to receive emails from the court.

In an interview, Bandlow said those status reports would not have had much information to share, since the first 45 days of these cases are often uneventful. After the cases are filed naming IP addresses as defendants, Strike 3 asks judges to issue subpoenas to internet service providers such as Comcast demanding they turn over the identity of the subscriber that Strike 3 says stole its content. That process can take longer than 45 days, Bandlow said.

He also said a number of the court’s docketing emails were caught in his assistant’s spam filter, and he had technical issues with the federal court docketing software DocketBird. He said those issues were confined to the Eastern District of California and also confined within Fox Rothschild to his practice.

Bandlow voluntarily dismissed the cases in which he missed a deadline and told the court he would not file new cases in the Eastern District of California until he was able to fix the technical problems he was experiencing with the court.

“In essence, we’ve sort of sanctioned ourselves in a weird way because that is $400 per filing, and all of that is down the drain,” Bandlow said.

While Strike 3 has stayed away from Sacramento’s federal court recently, it is still filing copyright infringement claims at a furious pace. In February alone, it has filed 60 cases, including four on Monday in the Southern District of New York. In total, the producer of pornographic brands that include Vixen,” “Blacked” and “Tushy” is a plaintiff in 2,617 federal cases, according to a search of federal court records.

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