Are you a potential defendant in a mass copyright infringement action?
Record and film companies continue the practice of filing mass copyright infringement lawsuits lumping thousands of defendants together, namimg each defendant "John Doe" or "Jane Doe" or "Does 1-2500." Courts issue subpoenas to these defendants' cable or internet provider to give up their identity. In turn, the cable or other internet provider sends each potentital defendant a letter stating that their IP address has been identified in the downloading of a controlled work (film or mp3) threatening to reveal their identity unless the potential defendant files a motion to quash in the issuing court.
Often, the download contains pornographic material, and the potential defendant would be embarrased if his or her identity is revealed.
The stakes are high for anyone identified in these slipshod cases. The strategy appears to be threaten a judgment of up to $150,000 per downloaded movie or tune (the maximum penalty allowable by law in copyright suits and a very unlikely judgment in cases arising from a single, noncommercial infringement) in order to pressure the alleged infringers to settle quickly.
Notwithstanding, an adverse judgment could be for incredible damages. In the retrial of RIAA v. Thomas, the Defendant was found guilty of willful infringement of copyright in the amount of $1.92M by a jury in a Minnesota federal court.
If you are faced with the foregoing, it is important to get legal advice to help you decide whether to fight or settle. We recommend that you do not try to do this yourself, because at the very least, if you want to settle as a matter of convenience, you should do so anonymously. If you represent yourself, this would be impossible. It is imperative that you select an attorney who not only practices entertainment law, but internet and technology law (“cyberlaw”), intellectual property law, and litigation.
Contact us for assitance.
Elliot Zimmerman, P.A.Board Certified Intellectual Property Lawyer
1776 N Pine Island Road, #224
Plantation, FL 33322