Lawsuit Accuses 70-Year-Old Retired Widow of Downloading Porn via BitTorrent

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charliemikefoxtrot

 

This actually happened to me as well, I spent the three years before the current one living in the UK and there was a law firm doing this there.  It was called speculative invoicing.  Basically they set up a front company and purchased the rights to distribute certain adult films via the internet, then they would sue on behalf of their "client" ie front company to recover losses due to copy right infringement on bit torrent sites.  They used a very basic program to grab IP addresses listed as shares for the files they had rights to from major bit torrent clients.  They would then send john doe subpenas to the ISPs to recover the names of the IP holders at the time of the share and send a letter saying for 500 pounds or so they would settle, listing the name of the work.  The theory is that it's embarrassing to get caught downloading porn and most people, (particularly in the UK) would rather part with the cash than go to court, and they made millions at it.  The problem is they threatened a lot of innocent people and never had any intention of going to court with a real person.  They went through with a few suits of people that they had identified as undocumented aliens that had left the country and got judgments in absentia that they could use for publicity but never pursued anyone who actually refuted the claim.  This is with good reason as a lot of the anonymiser used by bittorrent sites actually generate random IPs so you can easily end up listed in one of these randomly generated host IPs, which I think is what happened to me.  In any case we sent a letter back saying we hadn't done it, or knowingly allowed it to be done from our home/equipment and never heard from them again.  It's basically a scam, and the firm doing it in the UK went out of business due to negative publicity over this and a few other questionable practices.

 

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Chilly8

I used to ruin a Tor entry proxy yeras ago, but I was told once that if someone in their workplace used my proxy, I could be held civilly and criminally responsible for somoene using it to violate company internet rules. So she probably could be held responsible, based on what I was told years ago, so I shut that proxy down two years ago.

 

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KenSmith

The legal name for what these Chicago lawyers are doing is "barratry", which is a crime in many states, including California where this suit was filed.

Here are several paragraphs from Wikipedia:

Several jurisdictions in the US have declared barratry (in the sense of a frivolous or harassing litigant) to be a crime as part of their tort reform efforts. For example, in the U.S. states of California, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, barratry is a misdemeanor; in Texas, a felony.

California Penal Code Section 158: "Common barratry is the practice of exciting groundless judicial proceedings, and is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months and by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000)."

California Penal Code Section 159: "No person can be convicted of common barratry except upon proof that he has excited suits or proceedings at law in at least three instances, and with a corrupt or malicious intent to vex and annoy."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barratry

 

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carnivorousslushee23

I'm not entirely sure whether my example fits this definition, but right now I'm very strongly reminded of Scientology and its practice of filing lawsuits against any individual or group that even thinks negative thoughts about their 'religion.'

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JohnP

Well, I am 60, retired, a widower, and Vuze is consistantly hitting over 3MB/s as I speak, unfortunately not porn. Maybe she is just playing the granny card...

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teh 1337 haxxor

Fuck these assclons.

Grandma doesn't have a clue what bitorrent is. Hell, she probably didn't even know that you could watch porn on the internet...She says she didn't do it, and she is believable-what 70 year old grandma torrents porn?

It's because of people like these douchebag lawyers that America is so fucked up. These fuckers are so greedy that they're willing to do just about anything for an extra couple of bucks. It's absolutely disgugsting.

Grandma needs to take these assclowns to court and show them who's boss. If she were smart, she could probably get people to donate to her cause to help her pay for a decent attorney.

The big question in court won't be wether or not she actually torrented porn. It will be wether or not she's responsible for the actions of someone else on her (most likely open) wireless network.

 

On a completely unrelated note, wouldn't it be hilarious if anonymous ran with this and fucked with the law firm just for lulz?

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Keith E. Whisman

Then again they could have everything right and Grand Ma is a 70year old perv. I've known older ladies that work at the porn store at the corner. Just because she is 70 doesn't mean she can't be a dirty old lady. Hell my dad is 77 years old and still loves to talk dirty about girls. My dad is still going through puberty and so she might as well. Hell she could be a porn star herself. There are elderly pornstars. She could also be a retired porn star. She downloads porn from the internets because she can. 

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teh 1337 haxxor

Except for the fact that she has no fucking clue what the hell bitorrent is...

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mattman059

Yeah..what is this "bittorrent" thing any way?? I have no idea......

See i can do it too. 

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Ghok

I don't know if she like porn or knows what bittorrent is, but I'm not going to assume either way. I give people the benefit of the doubt. If she is a granny who loves to download porn, then she's lucky because she doesn't fit the sterotype.

I pay for my porn, but if I was slapped with this charge I doubt I'd have much luck in court trying to prove my innocence.  I'm a male in my twenties with scruffy dreadlocks. I look like the type of guy they would use in a commercial about guys illegally downloading porn. :P

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Ghok

What about that recent story about the guy who hacked someone's wi-fi and then tried to frame that family for all sorts of crimes? The FBI actually investigated that case and found the guy who was actually doing it. By the logic of this firm, the victims of that case would actually be responsible.

What scum.

When did we get to a point where a firm will go after someone for downloading porn (really don't give a damn if it's infinged or not, to be honest), then ask for a settlement to leave that person alone?

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teh 1337 haxxor

BUnch of fucking scumbag lawyers looking for a few extra bucks.

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medavid16

I just had to respond back..

Example, granny driving at 20mph in a 30mph zone. If she's driving 20mph and someone rear ends her at 45mph, she's still within the +/- 10mph rule, and it sucks but the law will say the 45mph guy is guilty. If a tennis ball is flying at 100mph at her head, if you will, she just won't react to it as fast as a young 20year old. 

Similarly, you can't expect to sue someone wh odoesn't evne know what BitTorrent is, that owns a computer, and someone use it to download porn. If someone came to your yard, grabbed spray paint, and graffiti'd the street, that's your fault for owning a spray paint? gimme a break.

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big_montana

"Example, granny driving at 20mph in a 30mph zone. If she's driving 20mph and someone rear ends her at 45mph, she's still within the +/- 10mph rule, and it sucks but the law will say the 45mph guy is guilty"

 

Maybe in your state, but in mine, Michigan, you can be fined for going to slow and impeding traffic, which in your scenario granny is doing. Also, despite there being a posted speed limit that is not static, as in Michigan speeding is defined as going faster than condition’s warrant, and also faster than the traffic on the road. So, again using you scenario of a 30mph speed limit, if everyone else is driving 40, then the speed limit legally 40, and granny gets fined for impeding traffic and causing an accident.

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kixofmyg0t

She doesn't know what "a Bittorrent is"......yet knows about the recent hacking spree......

 

Seems fishy to me....

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ThomFrost

been all over the news.

all my mom does is watch the weather channel, qvc, hsn, and news channels. 

even the weather channel had something about the hacking, i walked in on the last part of it.

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Blues22475

So I don't get it...

Is she getting accused to downloading porn on Bittorrent while she was using a insecure wireless network, or does she have an insecure wireless network and some guy came in and used it downloaded porn and she gets accused of it?

If the latter, I doubt she even knows that wireless networks needed to be secured. I've seen most older computer users (except for the ones who are Computer Guru's who can put me to shame in 5 seconds lol) have no concept of what wireless security let alone know how to give it a password.

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jnwoll

I've had to beat sense into grandchildren who have turned my in-laws computer into a bit torrent server. 

Eitherway, they own the machine, ultimately they're responsible for those who use it.  Ignorance is not a defense. 

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wcj786

I kind of wish that "ignorance is no excuse" since I believe in personal responsibility, but the law has not recognized that phrase since the late 60's/early 70's when the Supreme Crooks of the United States mandated that the Miranda Rights had to be read upon arrest or the arrest would be invalid.

In this case, the granny should have had her network secured, but I would tend to suspect the grandkids or her son/daughter for this before I would suspect her.  Now, if she is in a nursing home, then that is a whole 'nother story.  Since Viagra, those places have become meat markets for old guys.

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medavid16

Annoys me. Hope the law has some commom sense... not holding my breath though..

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Keith E. Whisman

I wish someone would go after these companies that have a business model designed around the US Court System. They produce no products what so ever. How do they advance society with their business?

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Mastro Antonio

I live in Chicago, give me the name of this firm and I will rain unyielding wrath upon them.

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novaroach

http://www.dglegal.com/

 

The firm is Dunlap Grubb and Weaver - dglegal dot com

 

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CaptainFabulous

Wait, aren't these the same asshats from Washington DC who did all the Hurt Locker subpoenas and that were bitchslapped in court over their practices?

Seems like granny needs to step up and tell them to go to hell.

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Keith E. Whisman

These people are cowards, they will just threaten a lawsuit for millions in damages for each punch or curse ward that comes out of your mouth. The only thing these people understand are life and death. Threats only work when they are coming from them. You have to actually take action with these aholes and it's just not worth it unless you can get their business license pulled. Prove that they are actually a negative for society in this economy. 

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Mastro Antonio

I am aware of that and yes I know a full frontal confrontation would be stupid, I thought maybe someone could beat them at their own game.

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