$7000 Fine for Sharing 'WordPress For Dummies'
Rare Default Judgement For Settlement Shakedown Publisher
E-Book publisher John Wiley & Sons (famous for their "for Dummies" book line) has been one of several outfits engaged in "settlement-o-matic" copyright efforts, tracking users on BitTorrent, demanding user identities from ISPs, and then scaring users into settling outside of court. Verizon recently stood up to and beat John Wiley & Sons
, declaring that the company was operating a shakedown racket designed to "harass" customers. In a rare default judgement however, one user in Poughkeepsie, New York has been ordered to pay $7,000
for sharing a copy of "WordPress All-in-One For Dummies" on BitTorrent (Wiley was seeking $150,000). The publisher has filed a dozen mass BitTorrent lawsuits involving a few hundred John Doe defendants in total, and in this particular case the user in question did not respond.
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Was the user properly served a subpoena!
The big problem is settle-o-matic requiring a expensive response by a lawyer if the person named in a subpoena was not the person who downloaded the book. Several years ago a process server from Palm Beach County served me a subpoena at about 5AM, for my next door neighbor related to a civil suit. The process server was so stupid that they did not match the address over my garage with the address on the envelope and delivered it to the wrong address. He handed me an envelope and stated you are served and walked away. By the time I read the name on the envelope the process server was gone.
I could not locate the neighbor because he was out of the country. Several days later a deputy sheriff knocked on my door and said I was in contempt of court because I did not respond to the subpoena. I pointed out that I was not the person named on the subpoena and to make sure the process server had the correct address when they served a subpoena. The deputy seemed aggravated and asked why I did not call and notify the court of the error. I stated that it was dark and the process server left so quickly I did not have time to read the name on the envelope before he left. Since the subpoena was not addressed to me I had no business opening the envelope or a responsibility to notify whoever made the error. The deputy took the subpoena and left in a huff. If these ass holes could not physically deliver a subpoena to the correct address how does a one expect a law firm to deliver a subpoena to the actual person that downloaded a book.