The High Tech Society

Download Lawsuit for Bittorent Piracy Finally Taken To Court

Download Lawsuit for Bittorent Piracy Finally Taken To Court

Bittorent piracy is a big issue in today’s society and many companies are opening download lawsuit after lawsuit against copyright infringers based on nothing but their IP address or a registered Bittorrent account. Most of the download lawsuits currently being filed are by adult film industry companies searching for people illegally downloading their content.

But five illegal download lawsuit cases are fighting back, taking the claim to court rather than simply forking over the money. Adult film industry companies have been basing claims solely on an IP address. Since an IP address doesn’t necessarily belong to the owner of a home or etc. the newest claim is that there is no way to confirm that the IP address is proof of download.

How A Download Lawsuit is Files

Copyright holders, mostly from the adult film industry, with companies like Malibu Media at their head have taken it upon themselves to investigate and persecute illegal downloaders. The industry watches Bittorent sites for illegal downloads, check the IP address and if they have sufficient permissions, the bandwidth as well.

From there, the company will file a subpoena against the IP address to get the exact location and information on the ISP.  After that, it’s only a matter of time before the IP address holder receives a bill or a lawsuit in the mail.

Malibu Media alone has filed more than 329 mass lawsuits this year alone, against thousands of people. The result is more than a million dollars in fines that were never even taken to court.

In the entire industry, more than a quarter of a million people have paid download lawsuit fines, none of which have gone to court, therefore generating millions in revenue for the adult film industry.

Judge Michael Baylson of Pennsylvania District Court Files Ruling

download lawsuit judgeIn a landmark ruling against the many download lawsuit cases being filed, Judge Michael Baylson has ruled that an IP address is not sufficient proof of download, or sufficient proof to file a subpoena.

Five anonymous downloaders subpoenaed for alleged download made protests in the court, with a rather successful case.

The Judges ruling, the ISP is not sufficient proof for filing a court order or download lawsuit.

“Among other things, the declaration asserts that Plaintiff has brought suit against numerous unnamed defendants simply to extort settlements, that the BitTorrent software does not work in the manner Plaintiff alleges, and that a mere subscriber to an ISP is not necessarily a copyright infringer, with explanations as to how computer-based technology would allow non-subscribers to access a particular IP address,” Baylson writes.


“In other words, according to the declaration, there is no reason to assume an ISP subscriber is the same person who may be using BitTorrent to download the alleged copyrighted material. Similar assertions are made in memoranda filed in support of the other motions.”

The judge goes on to note that the copyright holders rights cannot be ignored either, he has ordered a Bellwether trial (A case that uses a few case results to handle an enormous amount of case loads, usually undertaken when there is no other way to handle the large number of claims), the five defendants will now go to trial, and the results of the cases will most likely be used against future cases as well.

Download Lawsuit Trial

The trial will take place with the five defendants presenting their case against that of the copyright holders.  The judge stated that the defendants can unite together for their own defense, as well as ask others to join them.  He has regulated it as a speedy trial, meaning that it won’t last for more than a few months and that the matter will be settled expediently

This will be the first time a Bittorrent piracy download lawsuit will be merited in court, mainly ruling on the fact that the ISP doesn’t identify the person, only the connection.

RIIA experts have often stated that many of the policies used to find illegal downloaders are unprofessional, borderline incompetent and even factually erroneous, meaning that these defendants might actually be able to win the case.

While there are different opinions on how this particular download lawsuit case will turn out, it is guaranteed to be important and will most definitely affect future trials and the way that copyright infringers are persecuted.

What do you think? Is it about time a download lawsuit was taken to court? Or do you think these defendants will lose their case, probably resulting in higher fines and court support for future cases?