Today in the Middle District of Florida, a litany of John Doe lawsuits were filed alleging that BitTorrent users violated copyright law by downloading and making available certain copyrighted films. The first set of lawsuits is by Good Man Productions, Inc. for a Steven Seagal film entitled ‘A Good Man.’ Read a copy of one of the complaints here. The second set of lawsuits is by Poplar Oaks, Inc. for a movie entitled ‘A Certain Justice’ now titled ‘Puncture Wound.’ Read a copy of one of the complaints here.
These lawsuits are ‘John Doe’ lawsuits because, at this time, the copyright holder does not know the name of the party they are accusing of infringement. Right now, all they know are the accused infringer’s IP address. From here, they copyright holders will subpoena the ISPs to determine who had the IP address at the time of the alleged infringement. Once that is determined, the copyright holders will update the lawsuits to name the correct individual.
Fortunately, most ISPs inform users before they give up their information. If you receive a letter informing you that you are the subject of a John Doe lawsuit, you should contact an attorney immediately. Damages in a copyright infringement suit are determined by statute and, if willful infringement is shown, can be as much as $150,000.00 per infringement plus opposing counsel’s attorney fees and costs. It is imperative that you act quickly to protect your rights.
At Smith & Associates, we not only understand litigation and copyright law, we understand the technology at the heart of these issues. We understand BitTorrent and the issues associated with associating an IP address to an individual. If you need help addressing this or any other copyright issue, please contact us for a free consultation.