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“Known copyright troll” lawyer files new lawsuit over Netflix Fyre Festival doc

By | Published on Tuesday 20 August 2019

Fyre Festival

Because there can never be enough Fyre Festival-related lawsuits, new legal action has been filed against Netflix over its documentary on the failed event. Nicole Pinedo claims that three videos she made were used in the film without her permission.

The lawsuit was filed yesterday by lawyer Richard Liebowitz, and comes two months after he secured a settlement for a client in an almost identical case. There, a woman named Clarissa Cardenas said that footage she had filmed from inside one of the tents at the festival was used without permission.

In this new case, it’s not footage from the festival itself that was used. Pinedo claims that the filmmakers used a video she shot of Fyre Festival co-founder Ja Rule and two others made at parties hosted by Magnises, a now defunct company set up by the event’s other co-founder Billy McFarland.

That Liebowitz has filed another lawsuit similar to the Cardenas case will probably come as no surprise and some dismay to New York judges. The lawyer has launched hundreds of copyright infringement cases in recent years, mainly related to unauthorised images on websites.

Although he enjoyed some success in his previous case against Netflix, things have not always gone so well. According to Law360, during one case a judge referred to him as a “known copyright troll” and ordered the attorney to attend a training course on “ethics and professionalism”.

In another, one of Liebowitz’s clients was ordered to hand over $120,000 in attorney fees to the defendants on the grounds that they had put their name to a lawsuit that “no reasonable lawyer with any familiarity with the law of copyright” should have filed. The lawyer has also been sanctioned himself numerous times.

Still, he clearly has enough success that he continues to secure clients. Presumably, now that Netflix has paid an out of court settlement once, he’s hoping the same will happen again with minimal contact with actual judges.