On January 3, 2012, DeBlasio Law Group, LLC finalized another confidential settlement agreement on behalf of an Illinois client alleged to have illegally downloaded a video through the Internet in violation of the federal copyright laws. The lawsuit was filed by Boy Racer, Inc. in the 11th Judicial Circuit Court in Miami, Florida against 625 John Doe defendants. A copy of the lawsuit complaint can be viewed here Complaint – Boy Racer, Inc. v. Does 1-625, Miami Circuit Court. The lawsuit sought to unveil the indentities of the John Doe Defendants so that the film producer could subsequently file a federal copyright lawsuit naming the individuals. The settlement is confidential and the client’s privacy rights / identity has been preserved — one of the key issues we addressed in settling this matter for the client.
The music and film industry is aggressively pursuing claims of copyright infringement against individuals who allegedly download photographs and videos through the Internet. The copyright infringement lawsuits seek statutory damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and costs under the federal copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §§ 101 et seq. and damages pursuant to common law claims such as civil conspiracy.
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 dataover 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 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. For more information on protecting your rights, please contact the firm at www.deblasiolawgroup.com