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Joining BitTorrent Lawsuits Because it's...BitTorrent!
June 23, 2010
Thomas Mennecke
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The pursuit of BitTorrent file-sharers is starting to kick into high gear. On June 9, we reported that the judge overseeing the progression of this massive lawsuit campaign had temporarily put things on hold by demanding that the US Copyright Group and its minion, Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver, justify why the thousands of potential lawsuits should be accepted by the courts as one. The court gave until the 21st of this month to receive an answer from Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver. The answer - because it's BitTorrent!

That's right. In order to consolidate the thousands of potential lawsuits into one lawsuit per movie, 2 (two) conditions need to be met:

* They assert any right to relief jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences; and

* Any question of law or fact common to all plaintiffs will arise in the action.

In our previous story on this issue, Slyck.com, in its worldly, non-lawschool legal analysis, felt that because these files were traded on BitTorrent, it would be impossible to meet the first burden (but possibly the second). Why? Because the very nature of BitTorrent makes it difficult to find out who the first seeder was, let alone if there are multiple seeders distributing the movie via multiple trackers. If there are thousands of potential lawsuits (4,500 associated with "Far Cry" alone), it's hard to imagine that each one of those defendants all originated from the same peer or are directly related.

The Plaintiffs have used similar logic, yet to a much different conclusion. Instead, the Plaintiffs argue that because of the independent and small-scale nature of the movies being traded (Far Cry, Steam, Uncross the Stars), all the individuals sharing a particular movie are related and therefore are joinable.

"Overall, there are a limited number of files of Plaintiff’s movie available on BitTorrent protocols. Accordingly, because of the nature of these protocols, it is highly likely that all of the infringers of Plaintiff’s movie have been involved with the same infringing file from the time of its initial seeding up to and including the present day."

Read the Plaintiff's justification on joining these lawsuits here.

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