Large internet copyright infringement lawsuits have been filed in 2011, and not all of them relate to movies consumers pay to see at the theaters. In fact, pornographic film studios are suing downloaders with regularity this year, creating a new revenue stream out of lawsuit settlements. Sometimes it is worthwhile for accused infringers to settle their potential future cases out of court, but other times, film studios threaten the wrong people. Without the assistance of a lawyer who has an intellectual property background, those who are innocently accused may still feel the necessity to agree to film studios’ demands.
Take the Palm Beach County grandmother as an example. She could not even set up her own Wi-Fi network, but ended up being named in a copyright infringement lawsuit involving the illegal download of pornographic films. And this is not only happening to the technologically deficient. Film studios are naming as many people as they can in lawsuits and sending off settlement demands just as fast. Those who refuse to settle face a potential $150,000 statutory copyright infringement penalty if they are found guilty of an illegal download. Even worse, guilty or innocent of the charges, they fear having their names attached to a lawsuit involving the downloading of porn.
The strategy makes sense for film studios. They can send out settlement demands for a few thousand dollars to as many people attached to IP addresses listed as infringing on their copyrights. Even if only half of those served with the demand respond with a check, the film studios are often making quite a bit of money. On the other hand, it often makes sense for named infringers to settle, but not always. Sometimes hiring an attorney can deter the film studio’s attorney from following through on their threats. This route could save the alleged infringer money and heartache. However, if the alleged infringer actually did illegally download the movie, there is little an attorney can do to help.
If you are a film studio or someone who has been accused of violating a film studio’s copyright, please contact us for further assistance.