US Copyright Group Breaks Its Own Record; Sues 24,583 For Allegedly Sharing Hurt Locker

from the time-to-put-the-hurt-locker-on-these-kinds-of-lawsuits dept

While US Copyright Group (really DC-based law firm Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver) had some early setbacks in its attempt to sue thousands of file sharers, clearly hoping that most would just pay up rather than fight, it appears to be trying again, and going bigger each time. Even as more and more judges have been rejecting attempts to lump together thousands of individuals in such lawsuits, USCG keeps trying to go bigger. It set a record a few weeks ago, going after 23,322 IP addresses for the producers of the movie The Expendables, and now USCG has expanded its existing lawsuit for the producers of Hurt Locker to go after 24,583 BitTorrent users. Perhaps it's a last gasp effort by USCG before the party inevitably ends and judges bring such attempts to use the judicial system as a shakedown tool to an end.


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  •  
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    el_porko (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 7:22pm

    What's wrong with that!

    I see no problem with lumping 24,583 users together.

    If just one is proved to be falsely accused then wouldn't that would negate all the rest (I.E. there would besignificant doubt that the process for accusation is not flawed).

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2011 @ 7:59pm

      Re: What's wrong with that!

      Sorry Perry Mason that's not ow it works

       

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      abc gum, May 25th, 2011 @ 4:54am

      Re: What's wrong with that!

      "If just one is proved to be falsely accused then wouldn't that would negate all the rest"

      I doubt it. More likely is the one innocent gets kicked to the curb and the collateral damage is deemed acceptable by those who gain something from the occurrence. Meanwhile, the DA looks the other way.

       

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        DannyB (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 6:20am

        Re: Re: What's wrong with that!

        Also, the innocent one still had to engage an expensive professional to represent and defend him.

        If there are going to be extraordinarily high damages for copyright infringement, then there also out to be similarly extraordinarily high damages for falsely accusing someone of infringement.

        If you're going after an infringer, then identify your target, and have real evidence. In a nutshell: prove your case. Just like all other plaintiffs must do.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2011 @ 11:48am

        Re: Re: What's wrong with that!

        So what if 54 are found to have issues?

        345?
        1342?
        12,499?

        At what point does the court say something is very, very wrong and we can't lump these cases together because there is so much variance (and there is, given just the IP 8.8.8.8 is on the list, which almost certainly is not infringing.)

         

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    That Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2011 @ 8:05pm

    I'd rather have them prove the methodology for capture first. Some of the companies engaged in these shakedowns have been getting IP data from a German company known for posting the initial seed of the file.

    I think the courts would be interested to know if some of these cases were created in the same fashion. Creating the situation simply to profit from it seems to be distasteful.

    There is also the matter of some of the companies who want the right to sue the account holder who may in fact be unaware and uninvolved in the actual "crime", but are the easy target to blame.

    And there are many of these cases out there, and you can often find invalid ip addresses listed, but Judges do not understand how it works and accept as fact statements made by the lawyers pursuing these claims.

    The RIAA shill has ruled the Does have no standing to attempt to block the release of their information until they are named in a case. Given the history of this form of "litigation" (read extortion) that will never actually happen. So far USCG has gone after 1 case that got any media attention... She is a Grandmother who rents rooms, so all of the bills are in her name. USCG demanded a settlement, and when she contacted them with a valid issue they upped the demand by an additional $1000. Grandmas valid issue... She does not own a computer. Court is set to start sometimes in 2012.
    So to suggest that any of these cases have real merit when they are willing to pursue someone who lacks the technical know how or the required machine to commit the alleged act you have to wonder if their motivation is defense of the law, or a payday. If you said anything other than payday, NO COOKIE for you.

    Oh and the IP address 8.8.8.8 appears in the filing.
    I guess Google's Public DNS server enjoys movies to.

     

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      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 6:43am

      Re:

      Oh and the IP address 8.8.8.8 appears in the filing.
      I guess Google's Public DNS server enjoys movies to.


      It must be buddies with that network printer at a university that has ended up in a cease and desist.

       

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    Ted E. Bear, May 24th, 2011 @ 8:26pm

    What if just 10% of those ip addresses went to their local courthouse and filed lawsuits against US Copyright Group. List the producers of Hurt Locker as co-defendants. That would then be 2,458 lawsuits that they would have to answer to around the country. Can't use the no jurisdiction excuse. Well they can but that would be fun to watch during arguments. Figure that those high priced lawyers making $1,000. Thats a mere 2,458,000 an hr. Figure another 2500 dollars per day they charge for expenses for travel and incidentals on each case. That adds another 6+ million a day.
    Sounds like the modern American business model to me.

     

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      Jeni (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 4:54am

      Re:

      A huge class action lawsuit might be the only thing that will ever stop this nonsense, but would people have the kahuna's to do it? I wish they would.

      Can you imagine if they would have gone after bin laden with this much zeal? Maybe it wouldn't have taken 10 years...

       

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    Jeni (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 4:35am

    Is this constitutional?

    Okay, maybe I'm missing something here and if so I'm sure someone will be more than happy to point out what it is, but what about our 4th amendment?

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
    http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_Am4.html


    Are we not supposed to be left alone in our homes? It seems to me that our tax dollars being spent on literal spies at DHS sitting at a computer looking for IP #'s is illegal search...but what do I know, I'm no lawyer.

    And I still have a problem with turning sharing into stealing. The reason I have a bug up my butt about this is because I got one of those nasty letters once and was flabbergasted - it was impossible, so I thought...turned out some guy managed to access my wireless, which I do have a password for, just for the record. I discovered the guy by accident. I was sitting on my porch on a warm evening and saw the guy lurking about in a field across the street from me with laptop. I actually talked with him (cell phone in hand on 911) and he admitted it. In fact, he was the one who told me to ignore the letter and just not respond in any fashion. Nothing more ever came of it.

    I asked him how the hell he pulled that off as it rather fascinated me and he said there's software a person can use to steal someone's wifi. Is that true? I honestly don't know...

    Sorry, I am getting long winded.

     

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      non-anonymous coward (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 4:57am

      Re: Is this constitutional?

      That guy was BSing you. It is actually nearly impossible to steal wi-fi this way. Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to use IP addresses to uniquely identify people. It's much easier to just keep the default router settings.

      Send me your home address and I'll drop by and explain further.

       

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        Jeni (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 5:32am

        Re: Re: Is this constitutional?

        Well, he got access some how. I wish I had a better understanding of how all that works but I just don't and while I'd like to, never had the time to research the whole issue.

        "Send me your home address and I'll drop by and explain further."

        Ah thanks but that's okay...

         

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        Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2011 @ 5:34am

        Re: Re: Is this constitutional?

        Cracking WEP is so easy, it's pretty-much considered not to even be a means of security any more. WPA can be cracked with easily found software as well (although more time consuming). You have to be able to connect to the router to take advantage of the 'default settings'.

         

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          Jeni (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 5:51am

          Re: Re: Re: Is this constitutional?

          Thank you, AC ... see that actually did make sense to me and I have read a little on it. Naturally I was incensed when all this occurred - it's just awful to be accused of something when you're completely innocent of any wrong doing. And far too often anyone can say anything these days and never be held accountable to prove it. It's not a good precedent.

          Oh, also wanted to mention, yep - I use WEP. (It's the only way I know how to use...go ahead and laugh at me now, I can take it). It's scary to think I could be accused and sued for something I didn't do because some kid knows how to steal wifi. I can't help but wonder how many of these 24,000-plus find themselves in that same position and that is very troubling.

           

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          Jeni (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 8:25am

          Re: Re: Re: Is this constitutional?

          Guess it's time to learn to set up my wifi with better security. I'm just afraid I'll diddle something up and wind up with no I-net but guess I can always get some help if that happens. Thanks for the clarification guys/gals.

           

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        PaulT (profile), May 30th, 2011 @ 4:03am

        Re: Re: Is this constitutional?

        "Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to use IP addresses to uniquely identify people."

        Erm, you can't use IP addresses to uniquely identify *people*. Routers and other networking equipment that may be in use by multiple unrelated people perhaps, but it's impossible to accurately identify an individual person with nothing more than an IP address.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2011 @ 11:52am

      Re: Is this constitutional?

      The 4th Amendment applies to government action.

      I haven't seen any evidence that the government was involved in collecting information in any of these cases.

       

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        Jeni (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 4:36pm

        Re: Re: Is this constitutional?

        I thought I read here somewhere that DHS hired people - some even from Craigslist - to sit on BitTorrent and find IPs, that's why I thought it was tied to gov't.

        Apologies if I misunderstood that.

         

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          That Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2011 @ 7:06pm

          Re: Re: Re: Is this constitutional?

          No DHS, a division of Disney, just runs the action of shutting down websites without any legal authority to to keep the media companies happy.

          There are IP recording firms who have in the past hired people from Craigslist to gather IP addresses.

          Capturing IP addresses is not that difficult, the problem is proving that the IP address was not spoofed, was not just forwarding anothers request. Then there is the issue of trying to match the timestamp of the capture machine to the machine keeping the records at the ISP, then there is the issue of many of these firms creating or participating in the alleged infringement.

          There are many technical issues with how this information is gathered, and the courts seem to accept it at face value. They debated the reliability of DNA for a very long time before it was refined to be seen as being accurate enough. Some of these cases are based on data from 1 guy writing notes and typing numbers into a spreadsheet... the chance of human error exists.

           

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            Jeni (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 4:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this constitutional?

            Disney... LOL

            I see - I must have gotten the 2 incidents mixed up. Been reading a lot on both.

            Thank you for the clarification.

             

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              That Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2011 @ 5:34pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this constitutional?

              I can see how that would be confusing, see the story here about ICE holding a press conference at the Disney offices as they trampled the rule of law and seized websites at the bidding of their corporate masters.

              Once upon a time people called me crazy for thinking like this, I wonder how all that crow they are eating nowdays tastes.

              Glad I could help :)

               

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    Vincent Clement (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 5:20am

    Expendables and Hurt Locker. Two movies that sucked. If you can't succeed at the box office, sue IP addresses.

     

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    Richard (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 6:00am

    Right back at 'cha

    What I'd love to see, is a sensible judge realise what an utter load of horseshit this suit actually is and dismiss it. Then allow a class action lawsuit to start against US Copyright Group, which would hit them in a massive way financially and maybe make them think twice about trying to sue thousands of people when the only proof they have is a fucking IP address. Twats.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2011 @ 6:06am

    for the umpteenth billionth time people!

    YOU CANNOT PROVE COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT WITH AN IP ADDRESS!

    Last month, federal agents entered a Buffalo, N.Y., man's home, accused him of downloading child pornography, and seized his computers. Three days later, they returned his equipment and acknowledged that he was, in fact, innocent. A 25-year-old neighbor was arrested soon thereafter for allegedly using the innocent man's Wi-Fi to download child pornography.

    Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-20061366-17.html#ixzz1NMw69uMA

    Technology professionals have long understood that IP addresses are closer to a zip code than a social security number. Multiple people locally accessing or remotely funneling through a specific hotspot can share IP addresses. In short, IP address offers little clue to a users' true identity.

    http://www.dailytech.com/US+Legal+System+Finally+Figures+Out+IP+Address++Specific+Perso n/article21542.htm

     

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      Joe Publius (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 7:31am

      Re:

      YOU CANNOT PROVE COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT WITH AN IP ADDRESS!

      A really good point. If only the USCG was was actually trying to prove infringement. I'm thinking they just want to prove they can force people to settle for enough money to justify the lawyer fees to do it again.

      And again.

      And possibly again.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2011 @ 11:53am

      Re:

      You're right. What's your point?

       

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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 8:43am

    What's in a name?

    Shouldn't that be Dunderhead, Grubby & Weavil?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2011 @ 11:41am

    I wonder if/when one of these plaintiffs/firms is going to get sanctioned for filing a complaint against numerous defendants in the District of Columbia without any reasonable basis for believing they are subject to personal jurisdiction in the District of Columbia.

    At least one judge has issued an order demanding that the plaintiffs show cause why defendants should not be dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction, but they shouldn't be filing in the first place if they have no reason to believe they're subject to personal jurisdiction.

     

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      That Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2011 @ 7:15pm

      Re:

      She solved her moral moral dilemma by counting the amount of money she had earned working for the RIAA.

      She then closed the door on anyone targeted in these scheme by saying they do not have the right to protect their information from being released, because they have not been named in the case. So what she has created is an express lane for record demands from a 3rd party, for information about a person who has no option to stop its release.

      When more people figure out that 8.8.8.8 is on the list, and what it actually is... they are going to have a field day at her expense.
      8.8.8.8 is a Google Public DNS server, not a machine running bittorrent. But no one, except maybe the ISPs, are granted a chance to argue infront for her RIAA influenced highness that this list contains invalid information - why do you let them proceed when their submission has such an egregious error.
      If they stand by the statement of 8.8.8.8 being a downloader, I would love to see them serve Google. I would love to see Google come to court and educate the Judge about how this all works and why this list is flawed.
      To allow people to be randomly picked out of a hat, to be terrorized by a company who just wants to be paid, is an abuse of the legal process.

       

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