In the previous two years, a special kind of copyright infringement case has proliferated across the country, and the companies filing them have become known as “copyright trolls.”
The pejorative has come as these companies troll so called IP addresses that individual modems are put to get the internet. They locate IP addresses linked with downloads of their customers’ pictures and after that require Internet providers to deliver customer information.
The suits offer to settle, usually $7,500, up to from $2,500 front . If defendants are not amenable, attorneys threaten to seek damages of $30,000 to $150,000, the maximum under copyright law.
The first such cases were filed over the previous two months in Oregon. Here’s how similar cases have played out in federal courts nationally:
California: Judge Bernard Zimmerman of the Northern District of California dropped a suit in 2011 that identified because, defendants 5,011 he said, their individual situation were not similar enough to be joined together . The plaintiff’s attorneys were permitted to carry on against one of the defendants.
“If I let this issue to go with about 5,000 defendants,” Zimmerman wrote, “it’ll create a logistical nightmare with hundreds if not thousands of defendants filing distinct motions… each raising exceptional factual and legal problems that will have to be examined one at a time.”
Indiana: On March 26, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson issued a default judgment in excess of $150,000 against Gerald Glover, who was identified in a case and failed to react. The suit alleged he often downloaded films that were shielded by CP Productions Inc.
Ohio: Judge James S. Gwin ruled last week that Voltage Pictures, which is the plaintiff in four Oregon cases, improperly linked 197 defendants in four cases. The judge said the cases must be filed separately, each with its own filing fee.
In his order, Gwin including snippets from other court judgements:
“Courts are troubled by what amounts to be a fresh business model used by generation firms ‘misapply the subpoena powers of the court, seeking the identities of the Doe defendants only to ease demand letters and coerce resolution, as opposed to finally function procedure and litigate the claims.'”
“It’s in this environment where courts must take every care to ensure that the keys to the doors of discovery aren’t blithely given to parties with other objectives.”
Oregon: In response to the case with 371 “Does” filed by attorney Carl Crowell, a Salem mom wrote a letter explaining that her adult son had illegally downloaded “Maximum Conviction” from BitTorrent while at her house.
The son “said he used a blocker so no one else could download files from his computer. Enclosed is a money order for $12.99, the price now recorded for this film on Amazon.com.
“Please offer my apologies to Voltage Pictures for not paying more attention,” she wrote, “I now consider this problem worked out.”
— Laura Gunderson