50,000 BitTorrent users sued for alleged illegal downloads

Discussion in 'User Submitted News' started by LightyKD, Jun 10, 2011.

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  1. LightyKD
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    Member LightyKD Future CEO of OUYA Inc.

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    http://money.cnn.com/2011/06/10/technology...wsuits/?npt=NP1

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    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The turn of the 21st century was rife with bitter anti-piracy lawsuits pitting studios against their potential customers, with music labels banding together to blast Napster -- and its massive user base -- to smithereens.
    Get ready for round two. This time, it's BitTorrent users facing off against the movie studios.

    Nearly 50,000 users of BitTorrent's peer-to-peer downloading software have been targeted in a sting over the past few months, accused of illegally downloading one of two movies.

    Voltage Pictures, the studio behind 2009's The Hurt Locker, is suing almost 25,000 BitTorrent users who allegedly illegally downloaded the flick. That came just weeks after 23,000 were sued for downloading The Expendables, produced by Nu Image.
    Both of the lawsuits were filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., by the U.S. Copyright Group, an outfit formed by Washington-based law firm Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver. The group filed its Expendables lawsuit in February, then followed with its Hurt Locker lawsuit in April.
    "They're copyright trolls," says Corynne McSherry, intellectual property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights organization. "They take a dragnet approach to litigation."

    The USCG did not respond to multiple calls asking for comment.
    A spokesman for Voltage Pictures, the Hurt Locker studio, defended the sweeping lawsuits.
    "The lawyers are just doing their jobs," he said. "Somebody stole our property and we are trying to get it back." The representative declined further comment.

    The new anti-piracy clampdown: Legal skirmishes over digital piracy happen constantly, and BitTorrent is often in the crosshairs.
    The free software program lets users swap and download large media files. It's got plenty of legitimate uses -- online education pioneer Khan Academy recently made its free video catalog available through BitTorrent -- but is also heavily used to illegally trade movies, TV shows and other copyright-protected content.

    BitTorrent CEO Eric Klinker said that his company merely provides the software, and it can't control what its customers do.

    Suing John and Jane Doe: What's striking about this batch of lawsuits is that USGC went after tens of thousands of "John Does," issuing subpoenas to Internet service providers including Time Warner Cable, Comcast (CMCSA, Fortune 500), Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500) and Earthlink for the identities of those users.

    ISPs are complying and handing over the details, according to those tracking the case.
    "Time Warner Cable has fought the subpoenas, but most ISPs are coughing up about 100 to 150 IP identifications per month," said Eric Menhart, a CyberLaw attorney who is representing about 50 defendants in the Hurt Locker case.
    A Time Warner Cable (TWC, Fortune 500) spokesman confirmed that his company traditionally fights these kinds of legal requests. Representatives of Comcast, the nation's largest ISP, did not respond to a request for comment.

    The EFF's McSherry is troubled by the move to prosecute thousands of individuals as one linked class. USCG "isn't letting people who have legitimate defenses raise them," she said.
    Holding individuals accountable for illegal acts committed through IP addresses they're linked to is tricky. For example, should a parent be responsible for a child downloading a movie through the family's IP address? What about a landlord who supplies Internet to a tenant?
    Years after those issues first arose, courts are still grappling with them on a case-by-case basis, legal experts say.
    For those hit by the lawsuits, the costs of defending themselves can be daunting.
    Dozens of the "John Does" in the Locker case have complained to the court about the distance they'd be required to travel to appear in Washington. Others say multiple computers were linked to their IP address.

    So far, the court has thrown out the Does' moves to quash subpoenas sent to their ISPs seeking their personally identifiable information.
    Threatened into settling? USCG launched in early 2010 and has filed a stack of digital piracy cases, typically going after a few thousand defendants at a time. Many choose to settle out of court.
    McSherry and other critics have attacked the USCG for what they say is a "pay up or we'll getcha" method -- that is, pay a relatively small fee to settle or face tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and potential penalties.
    BitTorrent user Dmitriy Shirokov filed a lawsuit last year making the case that the firm has made a business out of threatening people. The suit alleged that USCG exploited copyright law -- and that its goal was to frighten people into paying up a small settlement of $1,500 to $2,500 rather than face litigation.

    The case is currently pending in U.S. District Court in Washington.
    Booth Sweet attorney Dan Booth, who filed that suit, said that USCG hasn't responded to the claims, and has moved to have the case dismissed. It also asked the court to sanction Booth Sweet, a Massachusetts-based law firm, for taking the case.
    Menhart said he's seen "an uptick in this style of litigation" over the past two years. The small sums at stake can add up fast.
    As TorrentFreak, the first blog to report on the Locker case, points out: If only 10,000 of the alleged infringers pay a $2,000 settlement, it would net $20 million for Voltage and USCG. In comparison, The Hurt Locker grossed $17 million at the U.S. box office.
    Menhart hopes mass dragnets like this one will draw attention to a legal issue that's faded into the shadows in the years since Napster collapsed. Nearly everyone agrees illegal downloading is wrong. But how draconian should the punishment be?
    "I think there will be a call from people asking, do we really want Grandma to pay $2,000 to settle over a movie her grandson downloaded?" Menhart said. "There's just something about it that doesn't feel right."
     


  2. KazoWAR

    Member KazoWAR GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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  3. cwstjdenobs

    Member cwstjdenobs Sodomy non sapiens

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    Even if you didn't use a decent block list or use any encryption unless they sat between you and the rest of the peers while you where UL'ing shit they can't prove that the IP they logged is real. BT makes shit like that well easy to fake.

    I'd also warn anyone who torrents Linux distros and the like to expect some letters. Don't give in, especially if that is all you really did.
     
  4. Miss Panda

    Member Miss Panda GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    @OP
    Are they targeting Americans or other countries as well?
     
  5. SamAsh07

    Member SamAsh07 GBAtemp Addict

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    I use uTorrent, a pretty old one. Lol.
     
  6. lordrand11

    Member lordrand11 GBAtemp Regular

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    this is stupid and reminds me of the frivolous lawsuit against limewire's creators "The amount of music and digital content downloaded through Limewire is about $90 Trillion dollars and we want every last red cent."
     
  7. godreborn

    Member godreborn GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    the expendables? r u ****ing kidding me??? if anything, Nu image should be paying us for releasing such a piece of trash movie.
     
    jalaneme, MegaBassBX and boombox like this.
  8. Valwin

    Banned Valwin The Neautral Gamer

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    does peer guardian help ?
     
  9. naka69

    Newcomer naka69 Member

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    don't worry about recovering my copy of the hurt locker I deleted that piece of crap without finishing it and my punishment will be loss of my bandwidth and the fact I'll never recover the time I wasted trying to watch that awful movie
     
  10. Nathan Drake

    Member Nathan Drake Obligations fulfilled, now I depart.

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    So basically, if you are big on torrenting movies, you are potentially screwed.

    I find it weird that The Hurt Locker shit is still going on, and now The Expendables is suddenly media gold that has to be sued over too.
     
  11. gifi4

    Member gifi4 How am I a 'New Member'?

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    Hopefully this is just in the USA, otherwise, I'm dead...
     
  12. Nujui

    Member Nujui I need something to do.

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    Now, how much are they suing them for? Probably for a lot of money, which is stupid. If they really want their property back, sue them for the cost of the actual cost of said movie, instead of bankrupting the person. I highly doubt that if you sue someone for a lot of money over downloading 1 movie, is fair, that's a bit much. Now if they pirated a bunch of movies, then just keep adding to the cost with the cost of the other movies.
     
  13. Amber Lamps

    Banned Amber Lamps Banned

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    People use torrent sites for movies? that just screams "sue me" all over it. fail.
     
  14. Hop2089

    Member Hop2089 Cute>Hot

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    I don't download movies, I heard that's an invitation to too much trouble, seems like it's the case.
     
  15. Panzer Tacticer

    Member Panzer Tacticer veteran human

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    So Sony gets hacked and everyone with the ability to type wants them ass raped in court for something they were not even responsible for.

    Yet thousands employ a program that lets them butt fuck the various digital data based industries on the planet, and when THEY get sued it is suddenly somehow wrong to sue thieves?

    Don't want to get sued, get your dumb ass off the internet and stop stealing other peoples property. And this is where I ask all those 'explaining' to me the definition of theft to stfu and get real.

    I download and I don't care. But I live in a REAL free nation, unlike the United Sue me of America. So whatever they wish to do to anyone THERE means nothing to me HERE. I'll live with my own nations crazy ideas.

    As it stands, chances are Bell and their ilk will kill off the internet before long in Canada.
     
  16. Guild McCommunist

    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    I think they should be paying us for actually downloading and watching the Expendables. That movie was a piece of shit. I expected it to be a typical gruff testosterone filled action flick but it was basically just Jason Statham and Sylvester Stallone crying about girl problems with some shooting. Really boring.
     
  17. Rydian

    Member Rydian Resident Furvertâ„¢

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    Theft = Larceny, criminal law.
    Piracy = copyright infringement, civil law.

    Theft = Bad because of loss of property.
    Piracy = Bad because of lack of respect for limiting rights.

    US law even says you're wrong, so stop trolling.
     
    ProtoKun7 and riyaz like this.
  18. ecko

    Member ecko GBAtemp Regular

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    and this, my dear readers
    is why you dl per http.
    they can do jack shit against the uploaders or downloaders if u use a filesharing site(megaupload and the likes)
     
  19. machomuu

    Member machomuu Drops by occasionally

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    He's not entirely wrong, if wrong at all. You're still stealing a copy of a copy, and causing a possible sales loss.
     
  20. Rydian

    Member Rydian Resident Furvertâ„¢

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    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/20...-lost-sales.ars

    When people can sue over shit that didn't happen it makes a mockery of the legal system.
     
    ProtoKun7 and nasune like this.
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