Tools For Attorneys Defending Clients Mass-BitTorrent Copyright Infringement Cases

Lately, I have been keeping myself busy working on behalf of individuals who have been targeted as John Does by film companies based on claims of internet copyright infringement.  Typically, my clients have had their internet service providers (ISPs) subpoenaed so that the film companies can scrap personal information attached to the John Does’ IP addresses.  And quite often, my clients are targeted for purportedly downloading pornographic films without paying for the right to view those movies.  Sometimes it makes sense to file a motion to quash, sometimes it is best to just sit tight, and other times it pays to be proactive and try to settle out-of-court early, before litigation commences.

As a litigator entrenched in this particular area of law, I am always searching for articles about the subject of copyright infringement that may benefit my clients.  Recently I came across the article, The Economics of (Killing) Mass-BitTorrent Lawsuits, which is an excellent read for anyone defending individuals who have been accused of internet copyright infringement with a group of other John Does (especially a large group).

The highlights:

  • Northern District of California ruling that defendants cannot be joined when they are from different swarms.
  • Northern District of California ruling that BitTorrent users in the same swarm can only be joined if they are present in the swarm at the same time.
  • Central District of Illinois ruling that an IP-address does not constitute a person, which may help someone quash a subpoena.
  • Multiple dismissals due to lack of personal jurisdiction over named defendants.
Those four bullet points should be kept in the back pocket of an attorney representing defendants in new era mass-defendant copyright infringement cases, particularly those involving the use of BitTorrent to download files.

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