RSS
Add to Chrome
Tomorrow EFF Fights Mass BitTorrent Lawsuits in Court

Tomorrow EFF Fights Mass BitTorrent Lawsuits in Court

Will ask judge to divide up mass copyright infringement lawsuits so that accused file-sharers can be guaranteed fair access to individual justice, arguing that each has no relationship with the others.

Tomorrow a federal court in Washington, D.C., will hear oral argument from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) about dividing up the mass copyright infringement lawsuits initiated by the US Copyright Group that it claims “improperly and unfairly target thousands of BitTorrent users.”

Back in March the US Copyright Group targeted more than 20,000 BitTorrent users that it accuses of illegally distributing either of the independent movies “Steam Experiment,” “Far Cry,” “Uncross the Stars,” “Gray Man,” or “Call of the Wild 3D.”

Last month it then convinced the producers of the Academy Award-winning movie “The Hurt Locker,” likely miffed at dismal box office ticket sales, to join their venture which offers the accused quick $2500 settlements to avoid potentially much larger judgments for copyright infringement at trial.

The EFF and ACLU teamed up to fight these mass BitTorrent lawsuits arguing that DC courts cannot even hear the mass infringement cases because the USCG has yet to prove the courts even have jurisdiction over the John Doe defendants, so far only identified by IP address, being targeted.

Even the USCG admits that an IP address can provide a “a general geographic area for the users,” and yet still seeks to lump them all together in DC courtrooms.

Why? The USCG blames BitTorrent’s “architecture.” Rule 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states that defendants can be joined in one action of they take part in the “same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences.” The USCG believes that because each BitTorrent user, by being part of a swarm, is part of the same “transaction” responsible for sharing copyrighted material.

The EFF and ACLU, though not addressing this assertion, still believes that it’s unfair to expect thousands of people from across the country to have to bear the cost in time and money to travel to a DC courtroom to answer charges for a crime that likely didn’t take place there.

“The stakes are high for anyone identified in USCG’s slipshod cases,” says the EFF. “USCG’s strategy appears to be to threaten a judgment of up to $150,000 per downloaded movie — the maximum penalty allowable by law in copyright suits and a very unlikely judgment in cases arising from a single, noncommercial infringement — in order to pressure the alleged infringers to settle quickly for $1,500 – $2,500 per person.’

Exactly. The USCG isn’t seeking justice at trial, but rather a quick payday that relies on BitTorrent users being scared into settling before then.

If you have been accused the EFF has compiled a list of attorneys that can help.

Stay tuned.

[email protected]

Jared Moya
I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates. Twitter | Google Plus
shame
shame

no settle no settle.. out of jurisdiction. dahhhhhhhhhhh

clayton baxter
clayton baxter

Aaron has it right here. In effect it could be argued that a bit swarm is analogous to a radio broadcast through repeater stations. You have allowed your computer to repeat the transmission of the data. But not in effect interpreted the data until you examine it. It always interests me that it is perfectly acceptable to tape a radio or TV broadcast, then allow a friend to view/ listen to it, but woe betide you if you take say the broadcast from itunes and allow a friend to listen to that same broadcast. (NOT selling it) The experience of the movies on TV or computer monitor is poor compared to a cinematic experience, so if the studios want people to come and watch, do the following Make it good value for money. That is, A good movie, with reasonably priced refreshments at a price joe blow can go with wife and three kids without mortgaging the house.Mind you I have no sympathy for those who SELL bootleg copies of movies. If its good enough Ill go see it. Best example I can give is the LoTR trilogy, easy to get bootleg DVD's if you know where to ask, but nowhere near as good in your home as the original.

Aaron Walkhouse
Aaron Walkhouse

Watch out for the rhetoric of those copyright trolls, Jared."The EFF and ACLU, though not addressing this assertion, still believes that it’s unfair to expect thousands of people from across the country to have to bear the cost in time and money to travel to a DC courtroom to answer charges for a crime that likely didn’t take place there."…should be:"The EFF and ACLU, though not addressing this assertion, still believes that it’s unfair to expect thousands of people from across the country to have to bear the cost in time and money to travel to a DC courtroom to disprove allegations of a copyright infringement that likely didn’t take place there."Remember, though the trolls always try to call it a "crime" or "theft", copyright infringements are an infringement on somebody's rights for which no criminal charges can be laid and no criminal penalty can be enforced. There is no property taken or lost and no criminal laws are broken because it is an ephemeral right and not a tangible property at the heart of the matter. The best these extortionists can do, under the law, is request that the courts find the alleged infringer liable, not "guilty", and order monetary compensation or injunctions to repair the damages.It boils down to the extremists' preferred position that the law is wrong about the difference between rights and property and must be subverted by deception to give them undeserved power over culture and creativity, securing their fortunes and freeing them from responsibility. They continually try to deceive the public and lawmakers about this fundamental issue by crafting their language and statements to hide the fact that they are trying to turn a civil right which is justly limited by law into a property over which they can exert absolute power and use as a weapon against the rights of artists and the public in order to seize undeserved wealthThey know they are completely wrong about this, or at least the ones who know they are attempting the crime, but they hope that their gamble will pay off so that they can turn all of culture and art into their own industrial-sized welfare check that will relieve them of the responsibility of working for their fortunes. The amount of money at stake makes it worth risking everything because they view it as potentially infinite wealth for zero effort.

jojo
jojo

DONATE TO EFF



VyprVPN Personal VPN lets you browse securely