US Copyright Group makes good on its promise to target settlement holdouts in courts with proper jurisdiction, targeting two BitTorrent users, one for “Call of the Wild” and one for an unnamed movie.
For almost a year now the US Copyright Group has been trying to hold tens of thousands of BitTorrent users responsible for illegally distributing either of the less than stellar independent movies “Steam Experiment,” “Far Cry,” “Uncross the Stars,” “Gray Man,” or “Call of the Wild 3D.”
The USCG has tried to lump the cases together in a single CD Courtroom with the argument that BitTorrent’s unique “architecture” justifies what’s known as “Permissive Joinder of Parties.” It has said their inclusion in a single lawsuit is permissible under federal law because each BitTorrent user, by being part of the same swarm, is part of the same “transaction” responsible for sharing copyrighted material.
But, so far U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer hasn’t bough the argument that BitTorrent users from outside of her court’s jurisdiction could be included in the same lawsuit, and has already ordered the USCG to submit a revised list of defendants that includes only those “whom it reasonably believes the Court has personal jurisdiction” over.
It complied with the Judge Collyer’s order early last month and reduced the list from an initial 4,577 to just 140. However, even the revised list is questionable because it still includes IP addresses of defendants that live as far away as California (220.127.116.11) and Hawaii (18.104.22.168).
Regardless, the USCG is making good on its threats to sue settlement holdouts. Last July it said it had enlisted the help of some 15 law firms around the country to begin filing individual lawsuits against people in their respective areas who have refused to settle out court. The accused are given the chance to settle out of court for as little as $1500 with the penalties going up further if it gets no response.
According to court documents filed in the US District Court for the District of Minnesota two lawsuits have been filed – one for “Call of the Wild” and the other for an unnamed movie.
It’s not yet clear what this means for the other thousands of BitTorrent users whose IP addresses are still on file with the USCG, but it’s surely more of a scare tactic to other settlement holdouts than it is evidence of a commitment to “justice.”