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Malibu Media, the adult entertainment company that has demanded heavy regulations from thousands of pirates over the years, is navigating rough waters. The company has been suspended due to tax concerns and now a falsely accused hacker has asked a Texas court to freeze Malibu’s assets, in order to secure potential attorneys’ fees.
In recent years, adult entertainment company Malibu Media has often been described as a copyright control operation.
The company, known for its popular “X-Art” brand, has sued thousands of alleged file sharers in US courts, raising millions of dollars in settlements.
Accused of pirate response
Most of the accused hackers don’t fight, but sometimes one does. This includes a “John Doe” who filed a counter-suit accusing Malibu Media of abuse of process, among other things.
If the accused hacker wins this case, he hopes to recover tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. However, whether Malibu is able and willing to pay this is rather uncertain as it appears to be in trouble.
Until a year or two ago, the adult content company was one of the most active copyright trolls in the United States. In recent months, however, he has not filed any new cases.
Doe’s attorney had previously discovered that Malibu’s corporate status had been suspended due to tax shortcomings, which is still the case today. To avoid any problems, the lawyer then asked if the company’s CEO, Colette Pelissier, could also be added as a defendant.
John Doe wants to freeze Malibu assets
This week, “John Doe” is back in court looking for more guarantees. The accused hacker and his lawyer fear that Malibu will try to transfer assets elsewhere to avoid paying, and they are seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent that from happening.
“In the absence of an injunction, Doe will suffer irreparable harm. He incurred over $ 80,000.00 in legal fees and defense costs. And the evidence shows that Malibu and its only member, Colette Pelissier, have a habit of hiding assets and ignoring judgments, ”they write.
According to earlier testimony from the CEO of Malibu, the company only serves as a “pass-through” asset. Subscriptions to X-art.com go directly to Brigham Field, Pelissier’s husband, who recently filed for bankruptcy.
“Circumvention of court orders”
In addition, John Doe’s lawyer also highlights the problematic legal history of the adult entertainment company and its CEO.
“Pelissier has always flouted court orders and rules, prompting a judge to hold her in contempt,” the lawyer wrote, adding that “Malibu and Pelissier have several other judgments against them.”
These accusations are supported by testimony and references to other instances where Malibu has encountered problems. And in a separate file this week, Malibu herself confirms that the tax issues have yet to be resolved.
According to the accused hacker, this is sufficient evidence to issue an injunction and temporarily freeze all assets.
“Overall, this evidence points to a significant and imminent risk that Malibu will not pay Doe any compensation, that Pelissier conceals or relocates Malibu’s assets, or both. ”
This injunction should cover all subscription fees for the x-art.com site, as well as the domain itself. In addition, Malibu should not be allowed to transfer the settlement funds it receives, nor to transfer copyrights to other entities.
At the time of writing, Malibu Media has not responded to this request, but the company will likely object.
A copy of John Doe’s motions for a preliminary asset freeze injunction is available here (pdf)