U.S. Copyright Group Launches Largest P2P Suit Ever
With Help From Verizon and Charter
The law firm Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver (aka the U.S. Copyright Group) has perfected the "copyright-o-matic
" approach to P2P lawsuits, sending out letters en masse threatening users unless they settle for the rock-bottom initial price tag of $1,500. The goal is to both scare P2P users and create a new revenue stream, though the group has run into some legal hiccups for threatening and suing unidentified P2P users via often dubious evidence, and for doing so en masse. The firm this week launched the largest BitTorrent lawsuit ever, suing 24,583 BitTorrent users for sharing the film Hurt Locker
. The suit highlights how ISPs are happily helping the law firm with their efforts:
In a status report obtained by TorrentFreak, Voltage Pictures lawyers give the U.S. District Court of Columbia an overview of the massive list of alleged BitTorrent downloaders they filed complaints against. This report reveals that most defendants are subscribers of Comcast (10,532), followed by Verizon (5,239), Charter (2,699) and Time Warner (1,750).
The report also provides details on the agreements the lawyers have struck with various ISPs regarding the release of subscribers’ personal information. There is currently no agreement with Comcast, while Charter has promised to look up 150 IP-addresses a month and Verizon 100 a month for all ongoing BitTorrent lawsuits.
The only real hiccup the law firm ran into when securing ISP cooperation was when Time Warner Cable complained that the lookups cost them money
(about $45 in admin costs per subscriber) and the ISP should be compensated for their trouble. Most ISPs who have capped the number of lookups per month have done so due to cost concerns, not because they're worried about privacy or the criticisms that Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver are engaged in a legally dubious shakedown. Users whose ISPs turn over their personal information will then receive a settlement offer from the law firm, who relies on the fact that most of the recipients of these settlement offers lack the funds to head to court.
Page two of the court document
highlights all of the ISPs the law firm currently has deals with. That list includes Bresnan, Charter, Clearwire, Mediacom, MidContinent Communications, Verizon and Wave. Contrary to the Torrent Freak
story it does appear that there is a deal with Comcast, though the details are specified as "confidential."
184 comments .. click to read
|reply to Badonkadonk |
Re: Suing for downloading or uploading?
Yeah, I've been trying to educate/correct people around here on the reality of copyright laws, licensing terms, and "fair use". People really get some out-there ideas. I think they confuse how they think it should be with how it really is. I think they also think I'm arguing with them when mostly I'm trying to educate them on the reality of the situation.
I mean, it's one thing to know you are breaking copyright law and do it anyway. Look, I do it myself sometimes. I use DVD decrypter to make operational copies of DVDs I own, and keep the originals unused, because too often they've gotten scratched and rendered unplayable in spots. I use iTunes to burn a few tens of copies of mix CDs to hand out at very special events (anniversary parties, weddings). Both of these are totally illegal! And I know it. But I'm taking the (extremely small) risk because the alternative is way too costly and mostly annoying. I mean, I'm really not going to buy two copies of a DVD, and I'm really not going to buy 20 copies of a song from iTunes under 20 different accounts just so that I can burn it into 20 mix CDs legally to hand out to good friends and family.
And, it's another thing to pretend that you are in the right when you do stuff like the people in these cases are doing. And, worse, that the people suing you for what you are doing are evil, mendacious, incompetent, and are violating your rights. To me, that's just... no other way to put it... stupid.
|reply to Mr Matt |
Re: More pain for the innocent!
Let's get real here. This is a civil suit where a preponderance of evidence prevails, not a criminal prosecution which must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
It's not like you're locked up for murder or something and all they have is the IP address from which you searched for the victim's address and to buy a gun. In that case maybe you could argue "it wasn't me doing the searches". In these civil lawsuits, at least 98% of the cases (and I'm being conservative) are cut-and-dried some guy just did the BitTorrent thing to get a free copy of the movie.
So freakin' pay up. You made a mistake. Stop whining about "false positives", they are few and far between. Most of them are going to be "My roommate/kid/spouse/whatever used my computer! It wasn't me!" Well, if you are paying the bill for the connection, you are responsible for the TOS and civil copyright violations that go on on that connection. So get over it and pay the freakin' $1500 and move on.