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".