IF YOU GET A FILESHARING WRIT in the mail, it might be cheaper to ignore it.
So far the US Copyright Group (USCG) has sued more than 16,000 people this year for sharing movies online. It has sued them anonymously based on their IP addresses, but has not managed to get most of their names and addresses yet.
However as Ars Technica points out, it has yet to take anyone to court.
Apparently when an ISP looks up the subscriber name associated with an IP address, USCG doesn't immediately add their name to a lawsuit. Instead, like other law firms trying the same trick, it sends out a settlement letter, asking the person to pay a few thousand dollars in order not to be sued.
However so far no one has been sued.
Now Federal Judge Rosemary Collyer, who oversees several of these cases in the Washington, DC US District Court, is annoyed and wants to see someone in court.
In March 2010, USCG brought cases for the films Far Cry and The Steam Experiment, and Collyer set an initial deadline to name defendants in July, later extended to 18 November.
Now the USCG asked the judge to extend that deadline again... for nearly five years.
It said that is because the ISP Time Warner moaned that it was taking too long to do all these look-ups and was told that it only had to do 28 USCG lookups a month. Those are split between the two separate cases. This means that USCG will only learn the identities of 14 people each month. With almost 800 IP addresses to look up in the Far Cry case alone, this could take 58 months to resolve.
Collyer said that was unfair and prejudicial to all John Does who have been identified by an ISP.
So she has said that USCG has until 6 December to name those defendants it wants to sue.
The order only applies to the IP addresses for which ISPs have provided a name. If USCG has the names, it has to sue someone.
Obviously it does not want to do this as it can get cash out of them without an expensive court case. It might also find that if any of the suspected file sharers contest the case they might win on the grounds of being out of jurisdiction or other legal technicalities.
The situation is similar in Blighty where there have been no filesharing cases that have got to court because people pay up.
Of course if you are the one case where the lawyers decide to make an example of you and take you to court it could be very expensive. µ
But it's not yet available here in Blighty
We're not sure this is what The Maybot had in mind
Typical politicians - meme, meme, me
But it keeps the juicy details firmly under wraps