US Copyright Group Lawsuits Based On Highly Questionable Evidence
from the here-we-go-again dept
US Copyright Group was the first US operation to really dive into the whole copyright trolling business of suing thousands of people based on weak evidence of infringement and then offering to “settle” for less than it would cost to go to court. It was known that US Copyright Group was a front for DC-based law firm Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver, and a few months later it came out that US Copyright Group was actually a combined effort between Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver and a German “anti-piracy” tracking company named GuardaLey, who had set up similar partnerships elsewhere.
However, as TorrentFreak reveals, in a lawsuit filed against US Copyright Group over its legal strategy (more than 100,000 sued!), it appears that GuardaLey was the real driving force behind US Copyright Group… and its technology for identifying “pirates” has been found wanting (at best). A German court in a similar case found GuardaLey’s tracking software to not be very good at actually identifying infringement, since it fails to determine if any work is actually shared. Now, though the RIAA may be pushing for the idea that “making available” equals distribution, some courts have already disagreed. If it can’t show actual uploads or downloads, USCG may have a tough time proving infringement.
Even more troubling are claims that GuardaLey set up honeypots to try to get IP addresses to sue. If there’s a honeypot, then, as long as the content is accurate, the download is authorized since the companies doing such copyright trolling usually have licenses over the content. Or, if the file is fake, then there’s no infringement, since the actual file wasn’t downloaded (let alone available).
Of course, we see this kind of thing all the time, with copyright supporters insisting that all you need is an IP address to identify someone. It’s a lot more complicated than that, and making that assumption while going after 100,000 people suggests that any nuances around IP addresses are completely ignored.