File-Sharer Loses Bid to Hide Behind Bankruptcy
G. Zisk Rice
YNOT – An accused file-sharer who thought to dodge a potential judgment by filing bankruptcy has discovered the legal system may not be as easy to game as he thought.
After Liberty Media Holdings filed a lawsuit alleging Texas resident Juan Carlos Mancera pirated content from Liberty subsidiary Corbin Fisher, Mancera sought protection of his assets by filing for bankruptcy. The move backfired when the judge not only refused to discharge the $20,000 Liberty sought should the gay adult company win the lawsuit, but added another $45,000 to the amount.
According to the judge’s order, the entire $65,000 will stick to Mancera no matter how many times he seeks bankruptcy protection.
Liberty’s attorney said the bankruptcy maneuver is becoming a popular dodge among those who illegally share files online.
“I see this idea espoused by some torrent defense lawyers, that they think torrenters should just run to bankruptcy court to get out of any infringement award,” said Liberty Media Holdings General Counsel Marc J. Randazza, who intervened in the bankruptcy proceedings on his client’s behalf. “I have told many of them informally that it wouldn’t work. Bankruptcy is not available for intentional torts, nor for criminal activity. Copyright infringement is both.”
Liberty Chief Operating Officer Brian Dunlap said his company takes a hard-line stance about all intellectual property matters, and the company and its attorneys are not disposed to give up easily.
“This judgment dispels the myth that Liberty will not chase a torrenter into bankruptcy court,” he said. “Mr. Mancera will now have a $65,000 judgment following him around for at least 20 years, and we intend to have our lawyers pursue him through any and all legal means.”