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Invasion of the Copyright Trolls: What to Do If You Have Been Sued by Strike 3 Holdings or Malibu Media over Alleged BitTorrent Downloads

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Invasion of the Copyright Trolls: What to Do If You Have Been Sued by Strike 3 Holdings or Malibu Media over Alleged BitTorrent Downloads

Postby MrFredPFL » Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:16 pm

Story :

Over 2700 additional copyright infringement lawsuits were filed in U.S. federal courts in 2018 compared to 2017. That increase was due in large part to cases that pornography studios, Strike 3 Holdings and Malibu Media, filed against John Doe internet downloaders alleging illegal downloading of the studios’ videos over file-sharing services like BitTorrent.

BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol that allows users to exchange large amounts of data in short periods of time. Unlike other download methods, BitTorrent maximizes transfer speed by gathering pieces of the file users want and downloading these pieces simultaneously from people who already have them. Moreover, once a user downloads the pieces, which together combine to create the complete video, the protocol shares them with other users downloading the same content. Thereby, users who download videos using BitTorrent are also inadvertently sharing and distributing that content with other users.

Strike 3 and Malibu Media use third party forensic internet investigators who establish direct TCP/IP connections with a defendant’s Internet Protocol (IP) address in order to download from the defendant one or more pieces of the digital media files containing the studio’s motion pictures. After that, the studios file suit against the IP address and utilize subpoenas to force internet service providers, such as Comcast, to furnish a list of subscribers that use/pay for the identified IP address and then send demand letters to the identified defendant(s) threatening to name them personally in a lawsuit unless they pay a settlement That settlement is typically several thousands to tens of thousands of dollars depending on the volume of alleged infringement. Usually, each of these copyright infringement matters filed against an IP address are privately settled without being litigated on the merits given the sensitive nature of the allegations and the desire of private individuals not to be named in a pornography infringement lawsuit.

Because these plaintiffs have accounted for a sizable portion of all copyright cases filed in the United States last year, Judges have referred to these studio plaintiffs as “copyright trolls” —owners of valid copyrights who bring cookie-cutter infringement actions “not to be made whole, but rather as a primary or supplemental revenue stream.” Some courts have issued sharply critical rulings that question the use of methods such as geolocating IP addresses or subpoenaing internet service providers (ISPs) based upon alleged downloading using an IP address. These outspoken rulings are few and far in between but nevertheless offer hope for defendants who have the wherewithal and gumption to fight back.

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