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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Porn Studios Accused of Fraud

Several porn producers were recently accused of fraud, defamation and racketeering in their copyright cases against P2P users. In fact, their strategy was quite simple and effective. Once they receive the IP addresses related to the illegal download of copyrighted content, the studios sue with the hope that the judge will force the Internet service provider to disclose a name and address of the IP owners, and sometimes it works.

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That’s where the shakedown starts. Nevertheless, the real problem is that the studios don’t really seek litigation, but rather aim for settlements of $1000 to $5000. Often the defendants prefer to pay this money to avoid the embarrassment of being accused of downloading porno, let alone their fear of the Copyright Act provision saying that the infringers are eligible to pay up to $150.000 in damages for a single case of violation.

Last week a federal judge decided that a BitTorrent lawsuit launched by Malibu Media is “an extortion scheme”. As a result, the wheel turned and now there’s another lawsuit – this time against the porn studio. The new lawsuit, which can represent 200,000 people, says that the adult studios realize that this amount of cash is less than the cost of defense would be if the lawsuit were filed. In addition, they understand that people like the plaintiff in this matter will be embarrassed to have their names associated with porn, and are susceptible to being shaken down.

Actually, if people could be proven to have downloaded the adult content unlawfully from the web, the porn purveyors could collect civil statutory damages of $150,000 for a willful violation such as they allege, yet they settle for $1,000-$5,000. The lawyers defending hundreds of people accused of downloading porn movies confirm that there’s a slime element associated with the adult movie cases, making it much more apparent than the music cases.

The lawsuit against adult studios was filed on behalf of a Kentucky woman Jennifer Barker. The latter was allegedly contacted by a representative of Intellectual Property Protection, an employee of the adult movie companies involved in the lawsuit, and asked to settle for supposedly downloading the content Malibu Media owns copyright to. The woman claims innocence. The movie studio demanded that Ms. Barker pay to settle or she would be identified publicly as having downloaded porn and become subject to hundreds of thousands of dollars as a penalty for copyright infringement.

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