Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Are You One of the 23,000 Defendants in the US' Largest Illegal Download Suit?

Around 23,000 file sharers were sued in the United States for illegally downloading The Expendables, a Sylvester Stallone movie. In this case, the federal judge agreed to allow to subpoena internet service providers to get the identities of those who illegally downloaded the same. However, Judge Robert Wilkins of Washington D.C. decided to limit things to the District of Columbia, citing the court's duty to "prevent undue burden, harassment, and expense of third parties" when it comes to jurisdictional discovery.

In view of this, the complainant voluntarily dismissed the aforesaid case lodged against thousands of defendants. In its stead, the company plans to file smaller suits to match defendants with their estimated locations based on their IP addresses.

This particular case, which is said to be the single largest illegal-BitTorrent-downloading case in the U.S. history, reminds this student of comments by many legal scholars in their respective academic journal articles --- that it is way more practical and convenient to sue internet intermediaries rather than file separate cases against individual infringing users, as clearly illustrated by the above case.

In the Philippines, lawmakers have yet to enact laws to address the issues of internet copyright infringement. To come up with a good and effective piece of legislation to address the same, they likewise have to contend with the issues of prosecuting offenders and the enforceability of judgements. There are several other factors that have to be taken into consideration, but those merit a separate blog entry altogether.


Entry # 11 by Diana Margaret C. Lauron

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