EFF Offers Aid to USCG John Doe Defendants

August 10, 2010 -

Has the U.S. Copyright Group got you down because you might be a John Doe named in some blanket lawsuit concerning illegal movie downloads? Well buck up little camper, because the Electronic Frontier Foundation wants to help you.

The EFF has published "U.S. Copyright Group v. the People," a collection of resources to assist the thousands of individuals accused of online copyright infringement by the Washington, D.C.-based law firm, the U.S. Copyright Group (USCG).

As you are probably already aware, the USCG filed "John Doe" lawsuits on behalf of seven filmmakers against more than 14,000 anonymous defendants for "unauthorized downloads of films including Far Cry and The Hurt Locker. The group is threatening thousands of defendants with a judgment of up to $150,000 per downloaded movie in the hopes that they will settle out of court for a mere $1,500 - $2,500 per person.

 

"The people targeted in these mass lawsuits need good information about this situation and their options," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "USCG vs. the People provides answers to the many of the questions faced by anyone who learns their identity is being sought in connection with USCG's campaign or receives an intimidating letter from USCG. It also includes a list of attorneys who are interested in assisting."

EFF's new webpage, www.eff.org/uscg has important information for those that have been or will be subpoenaed, including detailed explanations of the claims the USCG might make, discussions of possible responses that would be helpful for defendants, and a number of resources to help people find legal counsel and assistance.

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Re: EFF Offers Aid to USCG John Doe Defendants

 Well, to be fair $1,500-$2,500 does seem reasonable. I mean a lot of minor crimes have fines attached to them that often go in the hundreds and thousands; should pirating be any different? My disgust with most of these copyright cases is stuff like the $150,000 per download... That is just horribly absurd in how incredibly disproportionate it is to the crime. At those kinds of penalties, a person's life can be utterly ruined with just a single download of a $15 movie... Something in the neighborhood of $2,000 on the other hand, depending on various situations seems like it would generally only be a set back and not ruin you. 

Still don't like the idea of these companies going out and suing people, but I do like to hear something that sounds more sensible when it comes to the fines. 

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