US Copyright Group Drops Thousands Of Cases... But Will It Refile?

from the we-shall-see... dept

There's been some talk about the news that US Copyright Group has dropped thousands of people from the mass lawsuit it filed over file sharing the movie Far Cry, instead focusing just on 140 individuals who it believes live within Washington DC where USCG (really law firm Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver) are located. Of course, this isn't a surprise. DGW has been saying they planned to drop the non-local defendants and refile the lawsuits in specific jurisdictions when it had that information. What remains to be seen is whether or not DGW actually follows through on that threat. The law firm had claimed to be retaining lawyers around the country to work with it on the local cases, but some have questioned whether or not that's really happening. If it's true, it'll certainly raise some questions about the whole USCG business model, which promises to get filmmakers money from forcing file sharers to pay up. Except, the economics of such plans don't work all that well if you ever have to take people to court -- which was illustrated nicely in the UK with ACS:Law, which never actually took anyone to court over file sharing. I could certainly see DGW/USCG trying to "make an example of" a small group of folks in DC, but if people realize that it's only really going after DC residents, that could lead anyone outside of the area to ignore USCG, once again cutting into its "business model."


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    ignorant_s, Dec 8th, 2010 @ 4:36am

    uugh.

    I doubt they will re-file. I bet they don't have the money to do it. And their current clients will soon realize their ineffectiveness, and then they will just fade away....

    These types of lawsuits are expensive, and there is less money to be made if you actually have to go to court as a lawyer. It's a bad business model. Private attorneys typically won't have the resources to be "making and example" out of people... that's the government's job. Where's the money to be made other than the retainer fees? I would venture to guess that DC residents who were trying to watch a movie for free don't have very deep pockets to pay for damages.

    I'll check Craigslist to see if they are hiring....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 8th, 2010 @ 5:07am

    Lets hope they do.

    Nothing is better to point out how copyright is ridiculous then to have people file lawsuits against people, innocent or otherwise those target will never ever forget what was done to them.

    But I hear that a lot of people are already preparing to fight to the bitter end, that would be a tremendous blow to their dreams of riches.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Dec 8th, 2010 @ 6:12am

    They actually dropped the majority of Doe defendants from two cases, both before the same judge. It was "Far Cry" and "The Steam Experiment." The simple reason is that under the rules of procedure, you only have so many days to replace an unnamed Doe defendant with a named defendant, and that date finally came.

    I think it's noteworthy that USCG has finally named two defendants, one in the "Far Cry" case and one in "The Steam Experiment" case. I'm pretty sure these are the only two named defendants in any of the USCG cases. It's kind of funny that out of all those thousands of defendants, they apparently really only found two who actually were within the D.C. court's jurisdiction. Sure there are still some unnamed defendants left on the complaint, but those are people that TWC is dragging their feet looking up. I wouldn't be surprised if none of them lived in D.C.

    Of course, none of this changes much if anything for people receiving the settlement offers. The point of these Doe defendant cases was to get the names and addresses of the people to send the settlement offers to, and in that regard it's worked brilliantly. The people receiving these offers still face the prospect of being named in a federal lawsuit, just like they always have. Nothing's changed in that department.

    I keep thinking that one day USCG is going to file a bunch of individual suits in several different jurisdictions just to make an example of some folks. That's what they said they were going to do. Thomas Dunlap said they were going to do this back in August, as I recall. I'm starting to wonder if that was just puffery.

     

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      Jay (profile), Dec 8th, 2010 @ 6:36am

      Re:

      If they didn't drop it with prejudice, then yes, they're going to refile the cases.

      Problem is, we saw how litigation worked for the RIAA. It got more expensive as more judges said "Yeah, this is BS..."

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 8th, 2010 @ 6:34am

    Once again they don't get it. Most of the people that download are BROKE and can't afford the high prices of media. I download a song and listen to it, to me it's like the radio. I don't pretend to own it and very seldom even burn it to a CD. It is a song.
    I have debated with myself: do I be a good boy and deny myself the entertainment that so many can afford simply because I can't afford it, or do I take advantage of delivery methods available to me of which some may be free. I am poor, broke and old but I still like movies and music. Why should I be denied because I am disadvantaged. Obviously I don't think the rich need a tax cut.

     

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      Jay (profile), Dec 8th, 2010 @ 6:38am

      Re:

      "I have debated with myself: do I be a good boy and deny myself the entertainment that so many can afford simply because I can't afford it, or do I take advantage of delivery methods available to me of which some may be free."

      Good sir/madam,

      You don't have to deprive yourself of anything. Finding good alternatives to what's being charged is the offer of the day.

      Dmusic.com
      Jamendo.com
      Youtube.com
      Grooveshark.com

      They can't charge you if you're using different delivery methods that others approve of. ;)

       

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      btr1701 (profile), Dec 8th, 2010 @ 7:14am

      Re:

      > Obviously I don't think the rich need a tax cut.

      They're not getting a tax cut. The tax rates are just being continued as they've been for the past decade. What's happening is that they're not getting a tax *hike*.

       

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        PaulT (profile), Dec 8th, 2010 @ 7:38am

        Re: Re:

        "What's happening is that they're not getting a tax *hike*."

        Actually, IIRC, they're getting a tax cut that was passed by Bush extended past its original expiry date. That's an important distinction.

         

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          btr1701 (profile), Dec 8th, 2010 @ 4:05pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well, using that twisted logic, everything since the highest tax rate in American history is just one long tax cut.

           

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            PaulT (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 3:01am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Were the other tax cuts passed with a set expiry date? No? Then that reasoning is bullshit.

            Put it this way: if you see something in a sale, then return the next week to see that the item's price has returned to its original price, the price hasn't been raised - the discount has expired. Same here - the tax cuts were temporary and so returning to their original levels doesn't mean they've been raised; the cuts have expired. It's not that hard to understand.

             

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      fantomas (profile), Dec 8th, 2010 @ 8:14am

      Re:

      I am poor, but I really like Porche's. It's not fair that the rich can afford one but I can't. Should I just steal it? Contrary to what you think, you are not entitled to what you can't afford. You are a thief, nothing more, no matter how much you try to tell yourself otherwise to ease your conscience. Why should you be denied because you are disadvantaged? Wow, just wow. Typical attitude of the broke and needy. Get a job. Stop stealing and stop letting the government take care of you. Not sure why the rich tax cuts comes up, but why should the rich pay for lazy people such as yourself? Why should my education and hard work be penalized so you can sit home on your ass, bitching about being disadvantaged? You are a drain on society.

       

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        Gwiz (profile), Dec 8th, 2010 @ 8:33am

        Re: Re:

        Wow. Quite a rant there.

        Have you ever heard of the terms "working poor" or "underemployed". You do realize that the US unemployment is a staggering 9.3% (and is much worse in certain areas)?

         

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        ignorant_s, Dec 8th, 2010 @ 8:54am

        Re: Re:

        Whoa. Those people who are a "drain on society" make your coffee, build your house and clean it, harvest your food, and sell you crap you don't need. Hmm. Drain on society? Who will wash or fix your Honda Civic? (Just a guess, since you can't afford a Porshe....)

        They are also taxed unproportionally high compared to the rich or even middle classes.

        So I gather you are not a "thief". You have never stolen anything. Never fudged your taxes a bit....you never walked out with something free that someone forgot to charge you for......And lucky you, you must have a job! Because 9.8% of the people in the job market do not have one.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 8th, 2010 @ 9:23am

        Re: Re:

        Obviously your hard work and education didn't extend far enough to realize that copying isn't theft. Read more TechDirt, learn the distinction.

         

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        Richard (profile), Dec 8th, 2010 @ 10:06am

        Re: Re:

        I am poor, but I really like Porche's.
        I remember the old joke
        Householder -"How much to paint the porch?
        Workman = "30"
        Householder - "OK"
        .....Time passes.....
        Housholder - "Why haven't you painted the porch (and what did you do to my car)?"
        Workman - "It's not a porch - it's a Mercedes"
        Seriously - the car you referred to is a Porsche - getting it wrong sort of undermines your credibility.

        It's not fair that the rich can afford one but I can't.
        If the rich got rich by crime - which is quite common then maybe this is a valid point.
        Should I just steal it?
        Nah - - just tip of the cops that the rich owner is a drug dealer. Then they will steal it for you.
        Contrary to what you think, you are not entitled to what you can't afford.
        Provided the price is an honest one - not inflated a thousandfold by an artificial monopoly.
        You are a thief, nothing more, no matter how much you try to tell yourself otherwise to ease your conscience.
        You need to take techdirt 101 on the difference between copyright infringement and theft. There IS a difference - no matter how much you try to tell yourself otherwise.
        Why should you be denied because you are disadvantaged?
        Why should YOU be in denial just because the price of copying just dropped to zero and undermined your business.
        Wow, just wow. Typical attitude of the broke and needy.
        Wow just wow. Being jealous of those who have LESS than you do is a really strange and unattractive trait.
        Get a job.
        Read his post - he is old and probably no longer able to work. Trying to survive on a meagre pension left by a bunch of rich people who exploited him all his working life.
        Stop stealing and stop letting the government take care of you.
        What you mean, Mr Scrooge, is "Why don't you just die and decrease the surplus population."
        Not sure why the rich tax cuts comes up, but why should the rich pay for lazy people such as yourself?
        Because it is the only way for the rich to avoid burning in hell.
        Why should my education
        You claim to have an education, with your opinions?
        and hard work be penalized so you can sit home on your ass, bitching about being disadvantaged?
        Some day you might (though no fault of your own) find yourself in that sorry position. On that day you might change your opinion.

        You are a drain on society.

        No - that would be you.

         

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        abc gum, Dec 8th, 2010 @ 6:48pm

        Re: Re:

        And get off my lawn !

         

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        IronM@sk, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 12:01am

        Re: Re:

        "You wouldn't steal a car, would you?" ~ No, but I'd download one if I could.

        Your argument is invalid.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 8th, 2010 @ 3:01pm

      Re:

      One year ago I decided to not consume anything from those people.

      That journey made me discover good alternatives and that I don't need those people.

      You got librivox and archives.com for books, Jamendo for music, Youtube for some old series but more importantly for new webseries some really good.

      Also I learned how to build a clock made out of wood.
      I spend my spare time building things now.
      Try yourself, go to youtube and type "wood clock", is one thing to watch others do fantastic things and live life for you is another to experience that life, my journey brought me to the DIY community.

      Lets build our entertainment.

       

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    fogbugzd (profile), Dec 8th, 2010 @ 6:38am

    They still made money

    A lot of folks settled upon getting the presettlement letters. The racketeers probably made money on the deal anyway. The lawsuit was a sideshow and not the main part of the business model.

     

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      ignorant_s, Dec 8th, 2010 @ 8:13am

      Re: They still made money

      Yet another reason lawyers deserve the reputation hey have. Basing a business model on threats of lawsuits amounts to extortion.

      What is sad is that the majority of lawyers have very little passion for the issues they represent. Its money driven rather than principle driven, and it results in abuses of the legal system and a grand waste of resources and time. Laws should be challenged, yes, but they should not be used to strong arm the little guy who watched a free movie out of giving big corporations the little cash he has. Sad.

       

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    Gwiz (profile), Dec 8th, 2010 @ 9:12am

    What is sad is that the majority of lawyers have very little passion for the issues they represent. Its money driven rather than principle driven...

    It also sad that the management of the entertainment industries seem to think this way too...that the ONLY motivation for creating art is money.

     

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    abc gum, Dec 8th, 2010 @ 6:51pm

    US Copyright Group is like bizaro Robin Hood, stealing from the poor and giving it to the rich.

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Feb 25th, 2011 @ 7:49am

    Test...

     

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