“In the past five months, Virginia-based law firm Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver has filed suits against thousands of individuals accused of illegally downloading independent films—an operation that could yield the firm and its clients more than $19 million in damages.” Doing business as U.S. Copyright Group, the firm subpoenas ISPs to obtain IP addresses of illegal sharers “and threatens to sue each person for $150,000 unless they agree to a $1,500 to $2,500 settlement fee.” [ABA Journal] Earlier here, etc.
Under which the cost of improper song downloads from a single site exceeds all the money on the planet many times over. [Cracked.com]
It’s rather…ambitious. [Esguerra/EFF, BoingBoing, h/t reader Keith D.]
From Computing (UK):
Law firm Tilly Bailey & Irvine (TBI) has stopped the bulk mailing of legal threats on behalf of rights holders to people accused of illegal file-sharing.
The move follows a campaign by consumer charity Which?, claiming the practice is unfair. It effectively reduces the number of UK law firms involved in bulk litigation against alleged file-sharers to one: London-based ACS Law Solicitors.
It makes a contrast with the situation in the U.S., where there seems to be no shortage of law firms eager to represent RIAA and other rights holders in mass litigation campaigns against consumers. Which? dubbed the mass demand letters “speculative invoices” and called them to bar regulators’ attention as a potential ethical violation.
Film biz follows RIAA path? “In what may be a sign of things to come, more than 20,000 individual movie torrent downloaders have been sued in the past few weeks in Washington D.C. federal court for copyright infringement. A handful of cases have already settled, and those that haven’t are creating some havoc for major ISPs.” [Eriq Gardner, THR Esq.]
David Post at Volokh Conspiracy sounds the alarm over the many bad provisions in a new intellectual property pact, the “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement,” arrived at through a “truly outrageous bit of executive branch over-reaching on Hollywood’s behalf.” Margot Kaminski at Balkinization details how the measure if adopted would for the first time criminalize a wide swath of noncommercial personal copying behavior, mandate statutory damages that would grossly over-compensate many rights holders for infringements, and reduce de minimis thresholds under which border officers currently overlook small quantities of infringing material on travelers’ laptops and smartphones. And those are just a few highlights of a long and disturbing list of provisions. Earlier here.
P.S. Much more from Andrew Moshirnia at Citizen Media Law. And at the Mercatus Center’s Surprisingly Free, a podcast with Canadian ACTA critic Michael Geist.
A reminder from Ken at Popehat: “Every time you hum to yourself, you’re taking bread from the mouths of musicians.”
Judge Gertner blasts the defense handling of the Sony v. Tenenbaum (P2P file-sharing) case. [Nate Anderson, Ars Technica] More: Charles Nesson’s response [Legal Blog Watch].
An Ohio town discontinues its municipal WiFi network after MPAA lawyers rattle swords about a copyrighted movie that moved through the system. Andrew Moshirnia at Citizen Media Law explains. And (h/t reader CTrees) note that the town turned the system back on at Sony’s request, following a national outcry over the incident.
And at least somewhat relatedly: “Viacom’s top lawyer: suing P2P users ‘felt like terrorism’” [ArsTechnica]
For sharing 24 songs [earlier]. A range of reactions: Ray Beckerman (believes case is headed for third trial), Max Kennerly (absurdly high damage awards happen more often when jury distrusts truthfulness of defendant), Amy Alkon (“Stealing from really, really rich people is still stealing”), Ron Coleman and more (case should prompt a reexamination of issue of statutory damages).
Comrades of the recording industry! RIAA has overfulfilled glorious five-year lawsuit production plan! [Patrick/SSFC at Popehat]