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BitTorrent motion alleges legal business model targeting porn downloaders

Categories: News

computer porn.jpg
Imagine receiving a letter from an attorney accusing you of illegally downloading a cinematic classic like, say, The Wadfather or The Man Who Blew Too Much, but offering you a chance not to be accused of this offense in public court for a few thousand bucks. Would you take the deal? Plenty of people do. However, a BitTorrent motion filed in Colorado is taking on the practice, which one attorney refers to as "business-model litigation."

"The BitTorrent lawsuits are part of a systemic effort to build a business model based on weak allegations of copyright infringement and the inducement of fear," e-mails Christina Saunders, who filed the motion, accessible below, for one of 26 John Doe defendants targeted by Patrick Collins, Inc., a company owned by the prominent porn director of the same name. (His titles include Cum Rain Cum Shine 2 and Sodomania 32.) "In my mind, they constitute as an abuse of copyright law, the judicial system, and they threaten the integrity and respect for the courts."

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Patrick Collins.
In response, Jason Kotzker, attorney for Patrick Collins, Inc., says he can't speak at length about the case until after there's a ruling on Saunders's motion. But "in the interim, I can tell you that peer-to-peer copyright infringement in the aggregate is a major problem for my clients," he writes via e-mail, "and like any other copyright holder, they will protect their rights when infringement is discovered."

How does the approach work? David Kerr, a Saunders colleague and copyright-law expert who represented chronically ill hobby blogger Brian Hill after he was targeted by controversial Las Vegas firm Righthaven LLC for unauthorized use of a Denver Post photos, lays things out this way.

"After being hired by, say, a production company, a law firm, or a company it hires, will go into BitTorrent networks to find out who's downloading a certain movie, and then they'll harvest IP addresses," he notes. "They might come up with a list of twenty to 20,000 addresses -- and then they slap all of them into one lawsuit and file it with a court. They say, 'We think these people are infringers, but we don't know who they are. So we want you to allow us to send subpoenas to Internet service providers like Comcast to get the subscriber information that corresponds to that IP address.

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David Kerr.
"Once the court gives the law firm permission, the attorney sends Comcast a subpoena... And after they turn over the names, the attorney sends a letter to these John Doe defendants that usually consists of something like, 'Pay us money, or we're going to sue you.' And the settlements usually range from $3,500 to $5,000 a pop."

Just because an individual's IP address came up in such a search doesn't mean he or she has actually downloaded the flick in question, Kerr stresses. "I've probably gotten 200 calls on these types of cases, and a lot of them involve open wireless. If my neighbor jumps on the wireless and downloads a movie, it's going to show up on my IP address. That's happened to clubhouses, coffeehouses, neighborhood associations. And also, IP addresses can be faked. That's called spoofing, and the number could correspond to somebody else -- which is why some seventy-year-old grandma may get a letter saying, 'You downloaded porn.'"

Of course, many people swept up in such cyber-dragnets actually did download the movie in question, and that makes them even more susceptible to coercion, Kerr believes. "Let's say you're living in the suburbs and your wife opens the letter and says, 'Why did you download Teen Anal Nightmare 6?'

"These letters are like invoices. You send out 1,000 letters, and half the people freak out and pay you -- and if they each pay you $5,000, it doesn't take an idiot to figure out that could be pretty profitable pretty quick. You could take a small, pornographic movie made for tens of thousands of dollars and potentially turn it into millions."



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13 comments
rickykevlin
rickykevlin

There are times when the neck is not broken prisoners killed death.It mood of terror and destruction of those who live in the country every day.

Criminal Lawyers

Uswgo Brian Hill
Uswgo Brian Hill

Also I got a solution to the newspaper industries dilemma. They can profit off of sharing by offering classified ads on newspaper posts shared on bloggers pages. That way the newspaper industry can sell stuff and make a profit off of sharing newspaper content. My second solution is for websites needing extra advertisement to use a pay per day advertisement program cheap enough for bloggers that tons will use the sharing of news articles to their advantage. The blogger can post the material, the newspaper makes the profits, and those needing advertisement also gets a benefit from paying for blogger article sharing programs.

Most non profit bloggers cannot afford to pay for licenses including me so how about a advertisement code license and a simple code verification to make sure they don't get removed by the blogger. That way profits are always made no matter how many times an article gets shared. We can make it wordpress compatible.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

The State turned criminal prosecutions into an extortion game long ago -- the criminal injustice system now lays more unprovable or false charges than real ones and depends far more on threats to induce defendants to plead guilty than it does on proving guilt at trials by defendants' peers -- is it any surprise that the ethically-disabled people who administer the criminal injustice system now allow the abuse of the civil courts to abet corporate extortion?

Uswgo Brian Hill
Uswgo Brian Hill

Yes IP Spoofing is very well possible since I know a lot of technical matters. I have experimented with spoofing MAC Addresses for my own router since it has a MAC Address lock on it. Yes it is possible to get a different IP or use a public Wifi to download stuff then they get the blame in legal matters.

These law firms that sue first and ask questions later don't realize that courts have specifically ruled that IP Addresses do not show proof that the owner of that dynamic IP or even static IP has downloaded or shared something illegally.

Also with zombie computers no spoofing required to look like someone else. So there are many ways to avoid lawsuits or transfer the legal blame on someone innocent.

Litigation is no longer a solution to fight copyright infringement. We need to reform the copyright, patent, and trademark laws. Then we need to find ways to make copyright infringement not worth it like by offering support to those that pay for licenses, we need to stop putting computer restrictions on home environments, and make the software we pay for as valuable as the price we pay for it.

These days software and licensed content has no value for it's price and makes many feel ripped off which leads to a larger support of piracy.

Derp McGurk
Derp McGurk

 Solution:  Go to the sites that offer clips of the longer movies for free.  Unless, of course, we're interested in the unabridged plot of these flicks (and I doubt 90% of us are), in which case, $40 at the local adult video store is a lot more affordable than a $3500 settlement, plus legal costs.

Unseen
Unseen

No shit sherlock....

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

The problem I am discussing has nothing to do with access to porn, which is what your "solution" concerns.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Try attending an arraignment session -- many defendants' only consultation with their attornies occurs in the middle of court proceedings.  Whispering underneath the Judge, public defenders routinely offer defendants stark choices between copping out to extended terms of probation or risking draconian punishment upon conviction -- the setting serves to persuade many that they cannot expect a vigorous defense should they fight.  There is nothing paranoid or delusional about my take on the criminal injustice system -- I have been a victim myself, but since then I have observed its continued, cancerous growth and depredations on even more people who do not belong in it at all.

The connection between the criminal injustice system and civil cases is that both are litigated in the same corrupt system.  Freedom of speech over the Internet is under direct assault right now -- the Internet Blacklist Bill would prevent US users from even viewing certain websites (much as the Chinese government decides what its citizens may see online) and the so-called Ten Strikes Bill would allow the ISP duopoly to cut customers off  from access to the Internet in their sole discretion -- see:  http://blog.demandprogress.org...

Derp McGurk
Derp McGurk

 Yeah, and your paranoid, delusional babble has little-to-nothing to do with copyright infringement, which is what this article was about.  Go back to commenting on MMJ stories.  ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz!!!!!!!!!!!

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