GLBT Ltd. Defense Attorney Taken Off $29M Tube Site Suit

Rhett Pardon

OAKLAND, Calif. — The attorney defending the operators of, and in a $29 million copyright infringement suit says he won't be participating in the case any longer.

In a statement to the court, which bordered on the bizarre, attorney Jonathan Capp said that he  "hereby gives notice that he has been  instructed by defendants to participate no further in this proceeding."

Capp on Wednesday told XBIZ that he wouldn't comment further on the statement to the court.

The Oceanside, Calif., attorney also did not comment on whether GLBT Ltd., the operators of the defendant websites, planned on producing substitute counsel.

If substitute counsel isn't arranged, courts typically ask plaintiffs to enter default judgments against defendants.

In the original complaint made last year, gay studios Channel One Releasing, Corbin Fisher and Titan Media contend that the GLBT Ltd.'s business model follows a system where it requires uploaders to "strip away any evidence that the content is a professional or copyright registered work by prohibiting any video that has the copyright owners’ titles, credits or watermarks."

"Defendants place their brand on plaintiff’s intellectual property as if it belonged to them," the original complaint says.

GLBT Ltd. is primarily owned by Steven and David Compton, both U.K. residents, who not only are known as operators of the three similar-formatted sites, but the pair last year rolled out COP-CMS, a software program that proclaims to protect adult studios from copyright infringement.

Last month, the three gay studios filed for a preliminary injunction to stop GLBT Ltd. from dispersing its assets, with a federal judge granting the studios' injunction.

The judge also ordered that the GLBT Ltd. domains be put into receivership pending resolution of the suit.

"We caught them taking actions to move assets out of the U.S.," Corbin Fisher General Counsel Marc Randazza said at the time. "They clearly know that they are losing the case."

The lawsuit took another turn in August when the studios filed a motion for terminating sanctions, claiming the defendants had destroyed evidence relevant to the case.

GLBT Ltd., from the outset of the case, said that it was immune from civil liability because the company operates as an Internet service provider under the safe provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The company also contended that it can't be sued in the U.S. because it is an "inconvenient forum" because it operates as an U.K.-based company.

Randazza, reached by XBIZ on Wednesday, said that the latest move by GLBT "seems to be a clear indication that these cockroaches realize that they've crawled through enough pesticide."

"They created a business based on intellectual property theft, and they may have been under the mistaken impression that when Channel One, Titan, and Corbin Fisher come after a thief, they won't go all the way," Randazza said. "[Titan Media attorney Gil Sperlein] and I have, I hope, shown them and the other thieves out there that this is a mistake."