Netflix and its all-consuming thirst for bandwidth may get a lot of the headlines these days, but don't make the mistake of thinking illegal P2P file sharing is dead. Hop onto one of the big name torrent sites and you'll find a veritable ocean of available titles being seeded by a whole heck of a lot of people. But just because the media's forgotten about file sharers doesn't mean the lawyers have; in fact, over 200,000 pirates have found themselves slapped with a lawsuit since the beginning of 2010.
The vast majority of those papers have been served thanks to the hot new trend in anti-P2P tactics: mass lawsuits. The not at all biased *cough* yet incredibly informative
that since the beginning of 2010, mass lawsuits against file sharers have been filed in several states, and predominantly against BitTorrent users. That 200k number is buoyed by
the lawsuit brought against 24,583 BitTorrent users
by the makers of the movie The Hurt Locker.
The lawsuits are filed in order get the information of the person hiding behind the infringing IP address. Once the copyright holders get names and addresses, they inform the BitTorrent user that they're going to sue their ass – unless they agree to a settlement in the form of a sizable cash payment ranging from a few hundred bucks all the way up to a few thousand bucks.
Torrentfreak reports that 145, 417 of those defendants haven't resolved their case yet. Of the 50k+ cases that have been closed, not a single one has made it to the courtroom, even though the mass lawsuits are based on the threat of a jury trial. That works out for the copyright holders, who not only don't have to spend thousands in legal fees to go after those pesky file sharers, but actually make money hand over fist as the pirates throw cash settlements at them left and right. Of course, as Torrentfreak points out, that "means that the evidence they claim to hold has not been properly tested."