On August 3, 2012, AF Holdings, LLC filed a federal lawsuit in Chicago alleging that an unnamed John Doe defendant “knowingly and illegally reproduced and distributed” its copyrighted video using the BitTorrent file sharing protocol. The lawsuit alleges violations of the federal Copyright Act and common law claims, and seeks a permanent injunction, statutory or actual damages, award of costs and attorney’s fees. A copy of the lawsuit can be viewed here AF Holdings LLC v. John Doe – 12cv6128. DeBlasio & Gower LLC has represented numerous individuals accused of illegally downloading copyrighted video content from the Internet by allegedly using the BitTorrent file sharing protocol. In each case, our firm has reached confidential settlement agreements with the plaintiff’s lawyers thereby preserving the clients’ privacy rights and identity.
The music and film industry is aggressively pursuing claims of copyright infringement against individuals who allegedly download photographs and videos through the Internet. In most cases, the film producer only names John Does as defendants in the lawsuit and identifies them by their Internet Protocol addresses (“IP address”). Often, the video producer alleges that the defendants have acted in concert via a BitTorrent file sharing protocol.
BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer (“P2P“) file sharing protocol used for distributing large amounts of data over the Internet. It is one of the most common protocols for transferring large files, and it has been estimated that it accounted for roughly 43% to 70% of all Internet traffic(depending on geographical location) as of February 2009. Sources report that for the past five years, bittorent sharing has been the primary method for users to share and trade software, music, adult content, movies and books online.
After filing suit, the film producer typically asks the federal court for permission to conduct expedited discovery to allow it to issue subpoenas to the actual Internet service providers that issued the IP addresses. This allows the film producer to obtain the identities of the individuals that allegedly downloaded the photograph or film. For privacy reasons, individuals named as defendants in these lawsuits must act quickly and take steps designed to prevent the disclosure of their identities in the federal lawsuit. For obvious reasons, the disclosure of their identities in connection with such allegations could harm personal and professional relationships.
Antonio DeBlasio is the managing member attorney with DeBlasio & Gower LLC. He has extensive experience in Intellectual Property litigation involving claims of copyright infringement and trademark infringement. In his career, Mr. DeBlasio has represented one of the world’s largest music licensing organizations in copyright infringement matters, as well as one of the most popular manufacturers of plush toys in trademark infringement cases. To reach Mr. DeBlasio, please feel free to contact the firm at www.dgllc.net
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