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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pro-Copyright Attorney Practiced Law Illegally

A week ago, the Northern District Court of Florida suspended more than two dozen copyright troll cases against over 3,500 unknown defendants because of suspicion that the copyright lawyer, Tarik Hashmi from the Transnational Law Group, might not be allowed to practice law in Florida. Hashmi represented such companies as SBO Pictures, Third Degree Films, Patrick Collins, and others. The cases are the same as usual – illegal file-sharing of the copyrighted content online, with requests to the Internet service providers to disclose the personal information about their subscribers, so that the copyright owners could charge them with copyright infringement or threaten them with an offer to settle.

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Several Doe defendants pointed at the aberration. They called attention of the judge to a Cease and Desist Affidavit that Tarik Hashmi submitted to the Florida State Bar in 2010. It asserted that this attorney wasn’t properly licensed to practice law in the state of Florida. Therefore, the defendants asked the court to halt all trials at issue until the attorney was licensed by the state.

The attorney will have until March 9 to respond to the complaints of the defendants. So, anyone involved in the cases should note that the lawsuits have been discontinued. Media confirmed that over the course of Tarik Hashmi’s investigation by the court, all proceedings with future deadlines was suspended. At the same time, District Judge Hinkle, the legal authority responsible for the audit, also prohibited the attorney and the companies he represented to take any future action regarding the Doe defendants until Tarik Hashmi proved his status as a qualified state attorney. In the event of Hashmi failing to bring forth the proof of his qualifications, the court will most likely bring all lawsuits to a close.

That’s not the first time that the controversial business model of copyright trolls appears to be brought into question. For instance, the courts have appealed for higher awareness towards such speculative legal conduct many times earlier. Fortunately, the attorneys representing Doe defendants exposed this attempt timely, thus saving their clients from filling the ranks of numerous other copyright troll victims out there.

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