Over 200,000 BitTorrent users sued for file sharing in the U.S.

By on August 9, 2011, 4:31 PM

The number of copyright infringement lawsuits in the United States against BitTorrent users seems to be accelerating at a phenomenal pace. In January we reported that almost 100,000 users were being targeted using the pay-up-or-else scheme, but a new statistic backed up by a massive spreadsheet detailing the cases suggests that this number has grown to over 200,000 users of which a majority belongs to file sharers using the BitTorrent protocol and a minority of ed2k users.

Two high-profile cases that we've reviewed in the past year include the massive filings against people allegedly pirating movies 'The Expendables' and 'The Hurt Locker', which combined make up for at least 45,000 users.

The way "pay-up-or-else" works is that copyright holders get a court order to force ISP to reveal personal details of the account holders behind the IP addresses allegedly distributing copyrighted material. Then those individuals receive a letter threatening legal action, with the possibility of settling for a fixed amount that usually ranges from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, thus avoiding the risk of paying larger sums in a full trial.

Though always a possibility, lawyers don't actually want to pursue legal action, they're just hoping to scare people into paying the settlement.

With the sheer increase of these lawsuits it's only fair to assume the scheme is paying dividends, at least for now. In what seemed to be a significant change of gears, an U.S. Judge ruled last May that an IP address is not adequate evidence to pin a crime on someone, a key piece of the scheme currently being used by the so-called "copyright trolls".




User Comments: 25

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treetops treetops said:

They need to lobby harder.

andy06shake said:

Peeps that can pay should pay! peeps that cant=Torrent. HACK THE PLANET!!!

M1r said:

HACK THE PLANET!!!

My new motto.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

M1r said:

HACK THE PLANET!!!

My new motto.

"This is our world now. The world of the electron and the switch; the beauty of the baud. We exist without nationality, skin color, or religious bias. You wage wars, murder, cheat, lie to us and try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals. Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop me, but you can't stop us all."

andy06shake said:

Well said!!! gwailo247

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

andy06shake said:

Well said!!! gwailo247

If I was sleeping with a c. 1995 Angelina Jolie I'd say that with a straight face.

Guest said:

"Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity"

lol hacking for some is more fun than a tornado in trailer park....but as they say curiosity killed the cat.

andy06shake said:

But cats have claws eh?

andy06shake said:

"straight face" in this Omniverse!!! i like that!

Guest said:

We rail against the crooks in Washington and business, but we are also the crooks.

When you steal other peoples property, that is called theft.

Guest said:

I would love to see a TechSpot guide on protecting yourself from being the victim of one of these suits. I know there are precautions that can be taken - using BTguard and such - but a full, comprehensive write-up by one of the talented and knowledgeable writing staff here at TS would be amazing.

M1r said:

gwailo247 said:

M1r said:

HACK THE PLANET!!!

My new motto.

"This is our world now. The world of the electron and the switch; the beauty of the baud. We exist without nationality, skin color, or religious bias. You wage wars, murder, cheat, lie to us and try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals. Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop me, but you can't stop us all."

Win.

yorro said:

"...in the US"

Yeah baby.

Brewskie said:

"Pay up, or else"

Sounds like a huge extortion racket to me.

I don't file share.

But I really hope they accuse me of it.

I'll end up with the same huge unearned jackpot these lawyers are reaping....and I'll get it from them.

Guest said:

Just bring out the guillotine. Piracy will be much less, once heads start to roll ha ha.

Guest said:

I would love to see the cost/return numbers for those figures.

Dont be intimidated by idle threats.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

Guest said:

I would love to see a TechSpot guide on protecting yourself from being the victim of one of these suits. I know there are precautions that can be taken - using BTguard and such - but a full, comprehensive write-up by one of the talented and knowledgeable writing staff here at TS would be amazing.

I really don't think it would be in Tech Spot's best interest to show you how to download copyrighted material and get away with it. Good news however that there is a nearly 100% proven way* not to be hit with one of these lawsuits -

Step 1: Don't illegally download copyrighted material.

Step 2: Repeat Step 1

*provided of course you have a secure WIFI. Your jackass neighbor could be downloading Dutch gardening bondage videos off your connection.

Guest said:

Really, this is to be expected. I think it was somewhere on these very forums that I predicted this very action from the entertainment industry. Sad and pathetic losers under the umbrella of internet anonymity espousing the virtues of outright theft. Such bravado. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Not a one of you "Hack The Planet" goof balls would have the gumption to walk out of a Wal-Mart with a video game or a movie in your pocket and it's the same thing when copyrighted materials are distributed over the web. It's theft people.

I say good for the entertainment industry. Although I disagree with their attempt to extort rather than outright sue, it's a step in the right direction. Something for nothing truly does not exist in Nature.

Tomorrow_Rains said:

Guest said:

I would love to see a TechSpot guide on protecting yourself from being the victim of one of these suits. I know there are precautions that can be taken - using BTguard and such - but a full, comprehensive write-up by one of the talented and knowledgeable writing staff here at TS would be amazing.

Get a VPN

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Brewskie said:

"Pay up, or else"

Sounds like a huge extortion racket to me.

Pretty much which makes this absolute nonsense.

Cota Cota said:

Good thing everything is legal in Mexico, its the american way.

Guest said:

"This is our world now. The world of the electron and the switch; the beauty of the baud. We exist without nationality, skin color, or religious bias. You wage wars, murder, cheat, lie to us and try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals. Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop me, but you can't stop us all."

double win

w3b0n said:

Guest said:

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Not a one of you "Hack The Planet" goof balls would have the gumption to walk out of a Wal-Mart with a video game or a movie in your pocket and it's the same thing when copyrighted materials are distributed over the web. It's theft people.

You sir, WRONG! First i try then i buy. Would you go out and buy a car without driving it first? Thank you come again, and please say it again.

I only give my money to things that DESERVE to have it (except the government they don't deserve and i pay taxes). Its like food i only buy what i like and if i try it and i don't like it why i should buy it?

are you mad? get it real no one buys something with blinded eyes. Oh wait im wrong they do.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

Julio said:

Though always a possibility, lawyers don't actually want to pursue legal action, they're just hoping to scare people into paying the settlement.

I have a very different view of lawyers involved in any case: this is how they make money. Legal action pays the bills and (typically) whether or not the case is successful, lawyers still make tons of money. I think they are in fact very motivated to be as litigious as possible.

Prosecuting companies and organizations on the other hand probably do feel as you suggest though. They would rather have the quick and easy money than drag out expensive legal fees in court. Then again, a lot of big companies have full-time lawyers on payroll. Hmmm. That may validate your point of view, actually.

Guest said:

Well I must say, I openly admit that I use bit torrent. But am I breaking the law? really? I dont download full files from anywhere, I dont supply full files to anyone. I only download random packets of data from thousands of locations around the globe. I don't create Torrent files, big hint there guys n gals - dont create torrent files - thats where they will get you because you made it.

They cant really prove that you downloaded copyrighted material, only that you searched for it.

Unless you download it all at once that is. Spread the downloaded bits over months over different pcs. first things first only use utp not tcpip, only use encrypted connections, use peer to peer vpn private networks. or if you want to make it damn near impossible for them to prove what you are doing use a vpn tunnel within a vpn tunnel preferably via different providers. Set your machine up as an open proxy and there is no way they can prove anything except that your machine is very busy. On the other hand how to catch file sharing ---Here's some advice for the industry moguls, If you want to prosecute anyone at all you need to track the ip addresses of the bit torrent trackers themselves. The tracker websites have full knowledge of who is looking for what, simply because of the way network protocols communicate with the tracker site. The Trackers know where the inital torrent came from and thats where you will get successfull proscecutions. In reality Https you say or vpn will not stop that information from being gleaned. then again Copyright laws are that convoluted that if you actually read them properly you find that if you go out and buy a cd. you actually are not allowed to give it to your mate to play. You cant play the cd to a gathering? woops no parties..you cant play it in any public place.. and no you are not allowed to rip it to your pc, iphone, or any other reproductive medium? they just don't proscecute you for it because it's to hard to find you. And im sorry you cant have your mates over to watch dvd movies because thats classed as a public gathering. Recorded the sports, your mates cant come over to watch the game because the tv station owns the licence to reproduce it and provide it as a service, not you.

Oh and capturing music streams from radio or internet music stations, a no no again.

How about streaming tv, nope, time shift tv you know the one's like sky, isky and the like again nope. Hard drive video recorders, nope. personal music players take a guess?

They turn a blind eye. They dont proscecute because they cant prove that you gave it to your mate down the road to play.

The real issue is that the industries are hurting.... badly hurting...

They have built a monopoly on manipulating and extorting money from everyday people and bands alike. The movie industry works the same way, some good some bad, most of the bad ones are done for tax and or insurance rite offs. By forcing you to pay for a full cd or dvd, manipulating the songs etc, they know that you really only want the first and third tracks because the rest are rubbish.

Why not setup a service where you can choose to have a cd or dvd made for you, just the music you want. Why not make it a dvd instead of a cd, then you could have 200 tracks of what you want.

Yeah yeah I know itunes and all that, yep the way of the future, you do know that you still cant legally transfer the music to another device or change the format.

The industry knows that cds are dead, they know that dvds are a thing of the past.

They know that they can no longer ignore what everyone actually wants.

Bands are now producing there own music, directors are producing their own movies, both are openly promoted and distributed over the internet. one of the best models iv'e seen for this is essentially paying what you think it's worth. If you think its crap you dont pay for it. Pay a dollar or ten it's up to you. The industry needs to rethink a few things.

like the most obvious --- why charge 20 bucks for a copy of a movie and sell a couple of hundred thousand copies. When you could charge 3-5 bucks and sell millions of copies.

They need to take away the reason to break the copyright in the first place. I for one would definitely pay for a single track of a cd or that movie that I really wanted if it was 5 bucks, but 30 bucks no way....

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