Wiley & Sons brings Dummy Lawsuits

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BitTorrent suits alleging illegal download of movies, from Hollywood films like The Hurt Locker to accusations of numerous porn downloads, have been in the headlines for months. But film companies aren’t the only ones going after alleged downloaders. Ebook publisher Wiley and Sons has been more quietly suing alleged illegal downloaders as well.

Wiley alleges that John Doe defendants downloaded titles from Wiley’s Dummies series using BitTorrent. Recently, Wiley was awarded a $7,000 default judgment against a defendant who allegedly downloaded WordPress for Dummies. This award breaks down into a $5,000 award for copyright infringement, and $2,000 for trademark counterfeiting—much less than the maximum copyright statutory damages that Wiley requested.

These suits are very similar in strategy to the porn BitTorrent cases—filing suit against numerous John Does identified only by IP address, then subpoenaing information from the ISPs. However, unlike the porn cases, these lawsuits have more or less flown under the radar and have not garnered as much publicity. In one suit, filed in April 2012, Wiley has demanded a jury trial. If the case goes to trial, it will be the first time that evidence relating to BitTorrent and IP addresses is tested by the courts.

Despite the lower settlement demands and smaller risk of embarrassment from an ebook downloading case, those who receive notice from their ISPs that their IP address has been linked to copyright infringement should consult an attorney. If you have any questions about file sharing lawsuits, please contact the attorneys at Antonelli Law Ltd.

For more information about Wiley and Sons ebook download suits:

http://torrentfreak.com/7000-fine-for-sharing-wordpress-for-dummies-on-bittorrent-120702/

http://www.teleread.com/copy-right/john-wiley-sons-wins-default-judgment-in-peer-to-peer-lawsuit/

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/copyright/article/49342-wiley-goes-after-bit-torrent-pirates.html

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Flava Works $1.5 Million Default Judgment: A Cautionary Tale

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Fear is one of the most common gut reactions that people experience once they receive notice that their IP address has been linked to copyright infringement. But right after fear is the notion that “if I just ignore this, it will go away.” While ignoring a notice of a subpoena can be tempting, it is also a very risky position to take. One defendant in a Northern District of Illinois downloading lawsuit ignored his summons to court—and ended up with a default judgment of $1.5 million against him. This is the largest damage award in a BitTorrent case to date.

A default judgment is a judgment entered by a court once an entry of default has been entered against a party who has failed to appear in the case. In this case, defendant Kywan Fisher had not appeared in the case, or otherwise filed any motions or responsive pleadings—in other words, he simply ignored it. The court awarded plaintiff Flava Works, an adult film company, the maximum statutory damage award available, $150,000 per work that was infringed.

While the $1.5 million judgment seems shocking, it is important to note that this case differs in an important aspect from most common BitTorrent cases. In this case, the defendant was accused of uploading 10 videos to BitTorrent sites. Additionally, the plaintiffs had evidence that the defendant did, in fact, upload the videos that he purchased; the defendant was a paid subscriber of their video service, and each video downloaded by a subscriber contains an encrypted code unique to that subscriber. The movies that were uploaded matched the defendant’s encrypted code.

In many BitTorrent downloading cases, the evidence presented by the plaintiffs, particularly at an early stage of the case, is not nearly as strong—usually only an IP address. Of course, each case is different. But no matter how high or low the prospect of damage awards may be, it is important for recipients of notices of subpoenas from their ISPs to seek the advice of an attorney. Simply wishing that the lawsuit will just go away can backfire in a big way.

For more information about the Flava Works case:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20178171

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121102/02123320914/bittorrent-uploader-ordered-to-pay-15-million-after-not-showing-up-court.shtml

http://torrentfreak.com/bittorrent-pirate-ordered-to-pay-1-5-million-damages-for-sharing-10-movies-121101/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

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