BitTorrent is a great way to move large royalty free files around the web, but it’s also a great way to get sued if you happen to stumble upon the wrong link. Since 2010 close to 200,000 people in the US have been sent pay-up-or-else-letters for alleged copyright infringements as a result of using torrents, and this number could explode exponentially based on a new ruling that would allow these cases to spill over into state courts.
Copyright cases have typically always been the mandate of the federal courts, however anti-piracy lawyers have now successfully pushed several cases through state courts, allowing them to subpoena Internet service providers for subscriber information by jumping through far fewer hoops than ever before. If the trend continues, this could mean significantly more settlement letters being sent out, and more importantly for the lawyers, cost far less to pursue.
TorrentFreek reached out to prominent anti-piracy lawyer Marc Randazza for comment, and he responded by confirming the recent developments. “What is going on here is a complaint for pure discovery — in other words, all the lawyer is asking the court for is for the court to give him the right to figure out who the defendants are. This seems to me to be a proper way to do things,” Randazza told TorrentFreak, admitting that he also has also filed a few cases in state court.
“In my torrent cases, my defendants have to pay pretty high figures to get out of the case — because we put a lot of money and effort into the case. If there were an easier way to get in contact with the torrenters, then they would likely all get off much lighter. Food for thought for potential defendants.”
Anti-piracy lawyers are in the business of suing, and what I can I say, business is good.