U.S. Copyright Group Launches Largest P2P Suit Ever
The law firm Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver (aka the U.S. Copyright Group) has perfected the "copyright-o-matic
" approach to P2P lawsuits, sending out letters en masse threatening users unless they settle for the rock-bottom initial price tag of $1,500. The goal is to both scare P2P users and create a new revenue stream, though the group has run into some legal hiccups for threatening and suing unidentified P2P users via often dubious evidence, and for doing so en masse. The firm this week launched the largest BitTorrent lawsuit ever, suing 24,583 BitTorrent users for sharing the film Hurt Locker
. The suit highlights how ISPs are happily helping the law firm with their efforts:
In a status report obtained by TorrentFreak, Voltage Pictures lawyers give the U.S. District Court of Columbia an overview of the massive list of alleged BitTorrent downloaders they filed complaints against. This report reveals that most defendants are subscribers of Comcast (10,532), followed by Verizon (5,239), Charter (2,699) and Time Warner (1,750).
The report also provides details on the agreements the lawyers have struck with various ISPs regarding the release of subscribers personal information. There is currently no agreement with Comcast, while Charter has promised to look up 150 IP-addresses a month and Verizon 100 a month for all ongoing BitTorrent lawsuits
The only real hiccup the law firm ran into when securing ISP cooperation was when Time Warner Cable complained that the lookups cost them money
(about $45 in admin costs per subscriber) and the ISP should be compensated for their trouble. Most ISPs who have capped the number of lookups per month have done so due to cost concerns, not because they're worried about privacy or the criticisms that Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver are engaged in a legally dubious shakedown. Users whose ISPs turn over their personal information will then receive a settlement offer from the law firm, who relies on the fact that most of the recipients of these settlement offers lack the funds to head to court.
Page two of the court document
highlights all of the ISPs the law firm currently has deals with. That list includes Bresnan, Charter, Clearwire, Mediacom, MidContinent Communications, Verizon and Wave. Contrary to the Torrent Freak
story it does appear that there is a deal with Comcast, though the details are specified as "confidential."