Siemens Goes Copyright Troll, Files Infringement Lawsuit Against 100 John Does

from the really-now? dept

While we’ve seen plenty of stories of movie/video companies (often porn companies) filing mass copyright infringement lawsuits against a large group of “John Does,” generally more established companies have stayed away from the whole mass Doe copyright trolling game. It appears that Siemens is looking to change that. As noticed by the CopyrightClerk website, Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. filed a mass infringement lawsuit against 100 John Does. It’s not clear how Siemens found these individuals, but it only has IP addresses (which more and more courts have been ruling is simply not enough to identify alleged infringers). Furthermore, a growing number of courts have been rejecting mass Doe lawsuits, noting that it’s improper to lump them all together into a single lawsuit, as the defendants are not connected.

In fact, what’s really odd is that by joining them all together, Siemens may significantly limit any damages it might get. That’s because it’s effectively suggesting a single act of infringement across all defendants. And while the lawsuit seeks statutory damages “for each infringement of each Copyrighted Software,” some lawyers have pointed out that 17 USC 504 (the part of copyright law dealing with statutory damages) limits the statutory damage award to “all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work.” In other words, the total statutory damages for each work that is listed in the action has to be $30,000 (or $150,000 if willful). Thus, by lumping them all together, even if the court allows the joinder, it would be at most $150,000 per software infringed (the lawsuit lists 3 potential products), meaning that the defendants would be “jointly and severally liable” for the total amount — but it’s not like they’d get $150,000 from each of the 100 Does.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: siemens, siemens product lifecycle management software

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Siemens Goes Copyright Troll, Files Infringement Lawsuit Against 100 John Does”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
44 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Looking at the type of software involved, it is not the sort of software bought by individual, although some individuals would get a copy just to play with it. This may include individuals wishing to learn the software to make themselves more employable.
Even Microsoft realizes this with regards to visual studio and make a free version available so that people can learn it.

Anonymous Coward says:

not clear how Siemens found these individuals

they uploaded the file and looked at the ips that downloaded , unless the site that hosted them is working for them ,that should be the first question asked by any of the doe’s and pretty much a killer for any file hosting site that gives away it users ip’s.

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re:

They pretty much call anyone who disagrees with their opinions a troll. If you feel that people should be able to be compensated for their labor and that these same people should be able to control what happens to their labor, you’re a troll if you ever try to stop abusers. By their definition, women who report rape are sex trolls who were obviously just asking for it.

Anonymous Coward says:

“they uploaded the file and looked at the ips that downloaded , unless the site that hosted them is working for them ,that should be the first question asked by any of the doe’s and pretty much a killer for any file hosting site that gives away it users ip’s.”

Maybe, but that doesn’t make sense to me. The bittorrent litigation accuses people of *distributing* a copyrighted work, because bittorrent makes you upload and download simultaneously. If you simply downloaded a copy off a file hosting site, you didn’t upload anything. Thus, you were not distributing it.

I could easily see where they’d go after the individual who originally uploaded the file to the file hosting site, because that meets the definition of distributing a copyrighted work. But the people who downloaded it… no.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...