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Extortionists Sue ISP for Not Becoming Spy on Their Own Customers

June 2nd, 2010

A short while ago, I commented on the recent mass-nuisance lawsuit issued by the producers of The Hurt Locker. The lawyers in that case are repeat offenders, carrying out the same tactics for a German film titled Far Cry. In that case, they are suing roughly 2000 “John Doe” IP Address holders, subpoenaing their ISPs to rat them out so they can be squeezed for cash.

One ISP, Time Warner Cable, said “no.” Their claim is that they have limited resources for hunting down the identities linked to IP addresses given by outside sources, and most of that capacity is dedicated to law enforcement, to help hunt down people like child porn distributors or other seriously dangerous people. They claim that their spare capacity is only 28 subpoenas per month–and the bottom-feeding lawyers trying to extort money in the mass-nuisance lawsuit are demanding that Time Warner drop everything else and spend the next three months doing nothing but servicing their claim against 800 of their customers. Time Warner said they were not interested, thanks.

So the scummy lawyers did what scummy lawyers do: they filed a brief against Time Warner, claiming that they were aiding and abetting pirates, threatening to sue the ISP for contributory copyright infringement.

Look, I’m not endorsing piracy here, but these filmmakers are being asses. Extorting $1500 for downloading a movie? Up to $300,000 if it goes to court? Strong-arm tactics if anyone stands in your way? There’s money-grabbing, and then there’s asinine money-grabbing. If these people were more reasonable and proportionate in seeking redress from some couch potato in Springfield who never would have paid $20 for the movie anyway downloading their film and watching it in a way that is little different in the long run from watching it on TV while muting the commercials, then OK. But demanding an ISP abandon its law enforcement duties in serious cases so they can extort a grand and a half from people like that is going beyond normal schmuckery.

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