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BAIT AND SUE: The Dark Art of Copyright Trolling

elliot mcgucken copyright infringement claims case list united states district court southern district california

Did you receive an Elliot McGucken demand letter?

July 25, 2022 UPDATE: Dr. Elliot McGucken has threatened me twice with demand letters. Now I am no longer afraid of plaintiff Elliot McGucken or his ever changing law firms. In fact, now I am fighting to expose the click bait fraud of McGucken. Professional plaintiff McGucken posts thousands of his photos on the Internet full well knowing that users will copy them. He then uses Google search by image to locate his photos on the web and file his vexatious litigation. If you received an Elliot McGucken demand letter then this site may be of use to you. I have used my Pacer account to post recent developments in this story. Be careful, this vexatious litigant has obtained at least one default judgment.

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ORIGINAL POST: Last week an attorney from Utah named Mathew Higbee sent me his standard Elliot McGucken demand letter requesting $3,500. Mr. Higbee’s client Mr. McGucken is alleging copyright infringement for my use of a snapshot of a young woman running barefoot in the sand in Manhattan Beach, California. His letter scared me so bad that after I deleted his photograph and the entire blog that it was in, I turned LegalNoodle completely off! I was going to quit blogging for good.

In order to prevent a federal copyright infringement lawsuit I offered Mr. Higbee’s client Dr. Elliot McGucken $350. Mr. McGucken made a counter-offer of $3,150. When I informed the Higbee Law Firm that I am elderly, moving, suffering from financial hardship and dying from Mysathenia gravis and coronary artery disease they asked for documentation. The good news is that I am no longer dying. Now I am fighting back against copyright infringement shakedown artists.

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Fair Use Doctrine

Thanks to receiving my Elliot McGucken demand letter I am becoming an expert in the legal application of the fair use doctrine. My research has also revealed a stunning array of copyright infringement lawsuits filed by professional plaintiff McGucken. McGucken posts thousands of photographs on the Internet and then sues various entities and persons for using them. Bait and Sue. This non-commercial, educational website uses plenty of other peoples photographs and no one has every been as demanding as the Higbee Law Firm.

Research is Key

One day in a Jacuzzi an attorney said to me: “Legal research is usually the first thing that gets skimped-out on.” Now I am also becoming an expert on Dr. Elliot McGucken and everything he does, says, writes or thinks. Learning copyright infringement law fascinates me and gives an old man something to do. I really am elderly, dying and relocating my personal residence in the middle of a pandemic. But that will not stop me from fighting Dr. Elliot McGucken and his attempts to shake me down. I have nothing but time and energy to defend myself against copyright trolling.

ELLIOT MCGUCKEN v. LINX STUDIO, INC.: AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT
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ELLIOT MCGUCKEN v. LINX STUDIO, INC.: ANSWER TO FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT
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Higbee has other copyright infringement plaintiffs: Michael Grecco Productions v. Ziff Davis

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA (Western Division – Los Angeles)
CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 2:19-cv-04776-DSF-PJW


Michael Grecco Productions Inc. v. Ziff Davis, LLC et al
Assigned to: Judge Dale S. Fischer
Referred to: Magistrate Judge Patrick J. Walsh
Related Cases: 2:19-cv-07826-DSF-PJW2:20-cv-00151-DSF-PJWCase in other court: 9th CCA, 19-56465Cause: 17:101 Copyright Infringement

Date Filed: 05/31/2019
Date Terminated: 11/18/2019
Jury Demand: Plaintiff
Nature of Suit: 820 Copyright
Jurisdiction: Federal Question
Plaintiff
Michael Grecco Productions Inc.
doing business as
Michael Grecco Photography, Inc.
represented byMathew K Higbee
Higbee and Associates
1504 Brookhollow Drive Suite 112
Santa Ana, CA 92705
714-617-8300
Fax: 714-597-6559
Email: mhigbee@higbeeassociates.com
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Ryan E Carreon
Higbee and Associates
1504 Brookhollow Drive
Suite 112
Santa Ana, CA 92705
714-617-8336
Fax: 714-597-6559
Email: rcarreon@higbeeassociates.com
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

V.
Defendant
Ziff Davis, LLCrepresented byDaniel Alexander Kadin
Lathrop GPM LLP
1888 Century Park East SUIte 1000
Los Angeles, CA 90067
310-789-1623
Email: daniel.kadin@lathropgpm.com
TERMINATED: 02/25/2020

Guy Ruttenberg
Ruttenberg IP Law APC
1801 Century Park East Suite 1920
Los Angeles, CA 90067
310-627-2270
Fax: 310-627-2260
Email: guy@ruttenbergiplaw.com
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED
Defendant
Does
1 through 10 inclusive
Date Filed#00Docket Text
05/31/20191 COMPLAINT Receipt No: 0973-23839356 – Fee: $400, filed by Plaintiff Michael Grecco Productions Inc. d/b/a Michael Grecco Photography, Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibits A and B) (Attorney Ryan E Carreon added to party Michael Grecco Productions Inc. d/b/a Michael Grecco Photography, Inc.(pty:pla))(Carreon, Ryan) (Entered: 05/31/2019)
05/31/20192 CIVIL COVER SHEET filed by Plaintiff Michael Grecco Productions Inc. d/b/a Michael Grecco Photography, Inc.. (Carreon, Ryan) (Entered: 05/31/2019)
05/31/20193 CERTIFICATE and Notice of Interested Parties filed as CORPORATE DISCLOSURE STATEMENT filed by Plaintiff Michael Grecco Productions Inc. d/b/a Michael Grecco Photography, Inc. (Carreon, Ryan) Modified on 5/31/2019 (lh). (Entered: 05/31/2019)
05/31/20194 REPORT ON THE FILING OF AN ACTION regarding a copyright (Initial Notification) filed by Michael Grecco Productions Inc. d/b/a Michael Grecco Photography, Inc.. (Carreon, Ryan) (Entered: 05/31/2019)
05/31/20195 Request for Clerk to Issue Summons on Complaint (Attorney Civil Case Opening), 1 filed by Plaintiff Michael Grecco Productions Inc. d/b/a Michael Grecco Photography, Inc.. (Carreon, Ryan) (Entered: 05/31/2019)
05/31/20196 Notice of Appearance or Withdrawal of Counsel: for attorney Mathew K Higbee counsel for Plaintiff Michael Grecco Productions Inc. d/b/a Michael Grecco Photography, Inc.. Adding Mathew K. Higbee as counsel of record for Michael Grecco Productions Inc. for the reason indicated in the G-123 Notice. Filed by Plaintiff Michael Grecco Productions Inc.. (Attorney Mathew K Higbee added to party Michael Grecco Productions Inc. d/b/a Michael Grecco Photography, Inc.(pty:pla))(Higbee, Mathew) (Entered: 05/31/2019)
05/31/20197 NOTICE OF ASSIGNMENT to District Judge Dale S. Fischer and Magistrate Judge Patrick J. Walsh. (lh) (Entered: 05/31/2019)
05/31/20198 NOTICE TO PARTIES OF COURT-DIRECTED ADR PROGRAM filed. (lh) (Entered: 05/31/2019)
05/31/20199 21 DAY Summons Issued re Complaint (Attorney Civil Case Opening), 1 as to Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC. (lh) (Entered: 05/31/2019)
05/31/201910 NOTICE OF DEFICIENCIES in Attorney Case Opening RE: Corporate Disclosure Statement 3 . The following error(s) was found: Other error(s) with document(s): An incorrect event was selected for Document No. 3. The correct event is Certificate/Notice of Interested Parties. You are not required to take any action in response to this notice unless the Court so directs. (lh) (Entered: 05/31/2019)
06/05/201911 STANDING ORDER FOR CASES ASSIGNED TO JUDGE DALE S. FISCHER upon filing of the complaint by Judge Dale S. Fischer. If a party would be entitled to attorneys fees, counsel are referred to the Order Re Fees found on Court’s website under Judge Fischer’s Procedures and Schedules contained in the Judge’s Requirements tab. Read all Orders carefully. They govern this case and differ in some respects from the Local Rules. COUNSEL ARE ORDERED TO PROVIDE A MANDATORY CHAMBERS COPY OF THE COMPLAINT, NOTICE OF REMOVAL, AND ANY OTHER INITIATING DOCUMENTS. (rfi) (Entered: 06/05/2019)
06/27/201912 PROOF OF SERVICE Executed by Plaintiff Michael Grecco Productions Inc., upon Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC served on 6/24/2019, answer due 7/15/2019. Service of the Summons and Complaint were executed upon Becky Degeorge-CSC-Person Authorized to Accept Service of Process in compliance with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by personal service.Original Summons returned. (Higbee, Mathew) (Entered: 06/27/2019)
07/01/201913 STIPULATION Extending Time to Answer the complaint as to Ziff Davis, LLC answer now due 8/14/2019, re Complaint (Attorney Civil Case Opening), 1 filed by Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC.(Attorney Guy Ruttenberg added to party Ziff Davis, LLC(pty:dft))(Ruttenberg, Guy) (Entered: 07/01/2019)
08/13/201914 Joint STIPULATION for Order to Simplify Issues filed by Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Ruttenberg, Guy) (Entered: 08/13/2019)
08/14/201915 ORDER by Judge Dale S. Fischer re Joint Stipulation to Simplify Issues 14 . (SEE ORDER FOR SPECIFICS). (jp) (Entered: 08/14/2019)
08/14/201916 Notice of Appearance or Withdrawal of Counsel: for attorney Daniel Alexander Kadin counsel for Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC. Adding Daniel Kadin as counsel of record for Ziff Davis, LLC for the reason indicated in the G-123 Notice. Filed by Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC. (Attorney Daniel Alexander Kadin added to party Ziff Davis, LLC(pty:dft))(Kadin, Daniel) (Entered: 08/14/2019)
08/14/201917 NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION to Dismiss Case filed by Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC. Motion set for hearing on 9/16/2019 at 01:30 PM before Judge Dale S. Fischer. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum of Points and Authorities, # 2 Exhibit A, # 3 Proposed Order) (Ruttenberg, Guy) (Entered: 08/14/2019)
08/15/201918 NOTICE of Interested Parties filed by Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC, identifying Parent Company j2 Global, Inc. (Ruttenberg, Guy) (Entered: 08/15/2019)
08/26/201919 Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss re: NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION to Dismiss Case 17 filed by Plaintiff Michael Grecco Productions Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration Declaration of Ryan E. Carreon)(Higbee, Mathew) (Entered: 08/26/2019)
08/27/201920  STIPULATION for Extension of Time to File Reply as to NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION to Dismiss Case 17 filed by Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Ruttenberg, Guy) (Entered: 08/27/2019)
08/28/201921 ORDER by Judge Dale S. Fischer, re Joint Stipulation Re Deadline to File Reply 20 . (SEE ORDER FOR SPECIFICS). (jp) (Entered: 08/28/2019)
09/03/201922 REPLY in Support of NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION to Dismiss Case 17 filed by Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC. (Ruttenberg, Guy) (Entered: 09/03/2019)
09/06/201923 Amended NOTICE of Interested Parties filed by Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC, identifying j2 Global, Inc.; and Blackrock, Inc.. (Ruttenberg, Guy) (Entered: 09/06/2019)
09/09/201924 ORDER by Judge Dale S. Fischer GRANTING in PART and DENYING in PART Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. No. 17 ). Defendant’s response will be due 10/21/2019. (SEE ORDER FOR SPECIFICS). (jp) (Entered: 09/09/2019)
09/30/201925 First AMENDED COMPLAINT against Defendant Does, Ziff Davis, LLC amending Complaint (Attorney Civil Case Opening), 1 , filed by Plaintiff Michael Grecco Productions Inc. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibits A – B)(Carreon, Ryan) (Entered: 09/30/2019)
10/09/201926 NOTICE OF ERRATA filed by Plaintiff Michael Grecco Productions Inc.. correcting Amended Complaint/Petition 25 (Attachments: # 1 Corrected First Amended Complaint)(Carreon, Ryan) (Entered: 10/09/2019)
10/09/201927 Joint STIPULATION for Extension of Time to File Response to First Amended Complaint filed by Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Ruttenberg, Guy) (Entered: 10/09/2019)
10/10/201928 ORDER by Judge Dale S. Fischer, re Joint Stipulation re Deadline to File Response to First Amended Complaint 27 . Ziff Davis may file its response to Greccos FAC on or before 10/28/2019. (jp) (Entered: 10/11/2019)
10/28/201929 NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION to Dismiss Case filed by Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC. Motion set for hearing on 11/25/2019 at 01:30 PM before Judge Dale S. Fischer. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum, # 2 Declaration of Daniel Kadin, # 3 Exhibit 1, # 4 Exhibit 2, # 5 Proposed Order) (Ruttenberg, Guy) (Entered: 10/28/2019)
11/04/201930 MEMORANDUM in Opposition to NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION to Dismiss Case 29 filed by Plaintiff Michael Grecco Productions Inc.. (Carreon, Ryan) (Entered: 11/04/2019)
11/06/201931 Joint STIPULATION for Extension of Time to File Reply filed by Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Ruttenberg, Guy) (Entered: 11/06/2019)
11/07/201932 ORDER by Judge Dale S. Fischer, re Joint Stipulation Re Deadline to File Reply 31 . Ziff Davie may file ts reply in support of its motion to dismiss Greco’s First Amended Complaint on ore before 11/11/2019. (SEE ORDER FOR SPECIFICS). (jp) (Entered: 11/07/2019)
11/11/201933 REPLY in Support of NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION to Dismiss Case 29 filed by Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC. (Ruttenberg, Guy) (Entered: 11/11/2019)
11/18/201934 ORDER by Judge Dale S. Fischer GRANTING Motion to Dismiss First Amended Complaint (Dkt. No. 29 ). (SEE ORDER FOR SPECIFICS). (jp) (Entered: 11/19/2019)
11/18/201935 JUDGMENT by Judge Dale S. Fischer. (MD JS-6, Case Terminated). (SEE JUDGMENT FOR SPECIFICS). (jp) (Entered: 11/19/2019)
11/19/201936 REPORT ON THE DETERMINATION OF AN ACTION Regarding a Copyright. Mailed closing report to the current address of the Copyright Office: U.S. Copyright Office 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. 20559-6000. (Closing). (Attachments: # 1 Judgment) (jp) (Entered: 11/19/2019)
11/27/201937 Joint STIPULATION to Continue Motion for Attorneys’ Fees filed by Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Ruttenberg, Guy) (Entered: 11/27/2019)
12/02/201939 ORDER by Judge Dale S. Fischer re Joint Stipulation Deferring Motion for Attorneys’ Fees 37 . (SEE ORDER FOR SPECIFICS). (jp) (Entered: 12/04/2019)
12/03/201938 APPLICATION to the Clerk to Tax Costs against Plaintiff Michael Grecco Productions Inc. filed by Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1) (Ruttenberg, Guy) (Entered: 12/03/2019)
12/17/201940 NOTICE OF APPEAL to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals filed by Plaintiff Michael Grecco Productions Inc.. Appeal of Order on Motion to Dismiss Case 24 , Judgment 35 , Order on Motion to Dismiss Case 34 . (Appeal Fee – $505 Fee Paid, Receipt No. 0973-24967074.) (Higbee, Mathew) (Entered: 12/17/2019)
12/19/201941 NOTIFICATION from Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of case number assigned and briefing schedule. Appeal Docket No. 19-56465 assigned to Notice of Appeal to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals 40 as to plaintiff Michael Grecco Productions Inc. (jp) (Entered: 12/23/2019)
02/05/202042 BILL OF COSTS. Costs taxed in the amount of $402.55 in favor of Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC and against Plaintiff Michael Grecco Productions, Inc. RE: 38 APPLICATION to the Clerk to Tax Costs against Plaintiff Michael Grecco Productions Inc. (ri) (Entered: 02/05/2020)
02/25/202043 Notice of Appearance or Withdrawal of Counsel: for attorney Guy Ruttenberg counsel for Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC. Daniel Alexander Kadin is no longer counsel of record for the aforementioned party in this case for the reason indicated in the G-123 Notice. Filed by Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC. (Ruttenberg, Guy) (Entered: 02/25/2020)
04/03/202044 Affidavit and Request for Issuance of Writ of Execution filed by Defendant Ziff Davis, LLC. (Attachments: # 1 Writ of Execution)(Ruttenberg, Guy) (Entered: 04/03/2020)
04/06/202045 Writ of Execution issued against Ziff Davis, LLC re: Judgment 35 , 42 . (jp) (Entered: 04/06/2020)
11/25/202046 MEMORANDUM from Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals filed re: Notice of Appeal to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals 40 filed by Michael Grecco Productions Inc. CCA # 19-56465. The decision of the District Court is REVERSED and REMANDED. (jp) (Entered: 11/25/2020)
12/03/202047 ORDER from Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals filed re: Notice of Appeal to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals 40 filed by Michael Grecco Productions Inc. CCA # 19-56465. Appellee’s unopposed motion for an extension of time within which to file a petition for panel rehearing and/or petition for rehearing en banc is GRANTED. The petition shall be filed on or before January 8, 2021. (jp) (Entered: 12/04/2020)
elliot mcgucken threatened me twice
Photography: Marcus Winkler/Unsplash

By Dean McAdams

Born a poor peckerwood in a Tujunga holler, Dean overeducated himself beyond his social station to end up a retired paralegal in the coastal paradise of West L.A.