Indie Filmmakers Take Action Against Copyright Infringement

By Joseph Mandour on January 25, 2011

movie-theater Los Angeles – In the ongoing battle to protect their movies from being illegally downloaded, independent film companies are pulling out the big guns…they are suing persons downloading the illegal movies for copyright infringement.

Copyright Attorneys hired by the film companies initiate the litigation by filing complaints against unnamed “Doe” defendants. Then they subpoena the internet service providers of each offending IP address to obtain the names of the file-sharers. To go after the pirates who refuse to settle the initial claim, the attorneys refile the claims against them, this time using the infringer’s name. If the infringer still won’t settle, the case goes to court.

Due to the small amounts being requisted as damages, long, drawn-out suits are detrimental to both the plaintiff and the defendants. One particular case involving a Minnesota woman, Jammie Thomas-Rasset, still remains unsettled after nearly five years. The cost of litigating the matter seems silly from both sides because it far outweighs any likley settlement amount.

The large majority of defendants are settling when they receive the initial claim. The settlement amounts usually range anywhere from $1,500-$2,500 depending on whether the defendants respond by the due dates.

One problem with this litigation involves the innocent victims operating an unsecured Wi-Fi network. Some pirates have tapped into the Wi-Fi network of unsuspecting people to do the illegally downloading which then points the plaintiffs to the IP address of the unsecured network. Most of the innocent victims are in their golden years and just are not tech savvy enough to secure an open wireless network, let alone have the know-how to install and use BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol used for distributing large amounts of data.

Copyright infringement is a serious issue, and so anyone accused of copyright violations should immediately consult with an attorney. If left undefended, a default judgment could issue.

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