Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) needs help defending “spam-igation,” the US Copyright Group’s mass extortion lawsuit targeting more than 50,000 people accused of illegally downloading one of several indie films, and just recently, the Academy Award-winning movie “The Hurt Locker.”
A few months ago I reported how the US Copyright Group, a DC-based venture combining the efforts of technology companies and a conglomeration of intellectual property law firms, had quietly sued more than 20,000 BitTorrent users for illegally distributing one or more of the indie films “Steam Experiment,” “Far Cry,” “Uncross the Stars,” “Gray Man,” or “Call of the Wild 3D” with plans to sue an additional 30,000 in the near future.
Since then one of the producers of the Academy Award-winning movie “The Hurt Locker” has also enlisted the group’s services, even going so far as to recently blast critics leery of the financial burden it poses for the accused as “morons” whose families he hopes “end up in jail one day for stealing so maybe they can be taught the difference.”
It intends to argue that since each person is a node or peer he contributes a portion of the movie to others downloading it, and is therefore illegally distributing the movie even if it may be just a few MB.
By suing people en masse they’re obviously hoping for a quick payday, urging the accused in so-called “settlement” letters that they can avoid a costly legal battle for a fee usually starting at $2500.
All along the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has been critical of the US Copyright Group’s new business model of mass extortion, calling the organization a “copyright troll” involved in “shaking down individuals for fast settlements a thousand at a time.”
Now the EFF is issuing a call to arms, and is looking for licensed attorneys across the US to help it fight this “spam-igation.”
“News reports suggest that the attorneys bringing these suits are not affiliated with any major entertainment companies, but are instead intent on building a lucrative business model built from collecting settlements from the largest possible set of individual defendants,” it warns.
It wants to compile a list of attorneys willing to advise the targets of these lawsuits, and where where appropriate, file motions to quash subpoenas used to extract contact info of suspected IP addresses from ISPs.
“Respondents’ contact information would be added to a website that will act as a resource for the targets of these lawsuits,” says the EFF.
Sometimes I think we take the EFF for granted. Here’s another example of it standing tall and working to defend those unable to defend themselves.