|White Plains, NY Oct 2014|
The infringer had used Bit Torrent and P2P to download and distribute a large number of films.
The assessment of over $108000 was recommended by a magistrate judge when then go to a state district court, which concurred (March 2020).
The files were identified with long hash codes (we call them watermarks) that were presented (as a list of evidence).
The award was $750 per file, which could have been tripled as punitive damages (under normal tort law; French says this is perhaps avoided because the defendant did not request a trial.
Criminal penalties and jail could be imposed on failure to pay.
He talks about statue of limitations (3 years) for downloading stuff illegally. But he admits to having done this in the distant past, even as a copyright attorney.
It sounds likely that the Case Act might handle some of these, and that Bit Torrent is likely to have the Copyright Office’s attention although the awards are limited to $30000.
French warns that these sorts of cases are served to consumers without warning, through an ISP usually. This has nothing to do with DMCA Takedowns, as from YouTube. A pirated file need not be posted online to create infringement; mere personal possession is infringement.
Families who have kids using the Internet should be wary. People hosting others (like asylum seekers) should be careful about this (set up separate accounts for other people in your home). What about Airbnb rentals?
Defendants had to destroy all their copies (like even on thumb drives?) One wonders if cloud backups of personal hard drives could be searched for infringement (which would be way outside of Bit Torrent) but I have never heard of that being done (yet). This case seems to resemble Malibu Media.
Here is an article on the Strike Three situation by a law firm called Avvo.
The Copyright Office has posted a report about “modernization” and applications for positions by mid March for this effort. That probably is preparatory to later setting up the “tribunal” for the Case Act.
It’s worthy of note that YouTube has sometimes removed gay soft-core porn videos for “spam or deceptive practices” when it looks like the reason was probably an infringement claim.
Also, I had an bizarre experience where I tried to go to an account on Gab (I don't have an account), got an error page that gave my IP address, and said it was not OK to photocopy the error page because they had my IP address. What kind of sense does this make?