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BitTorrent Copyright Lawsuits Roll Past 200,000 in U.S.

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By: Corey Tate
August 9, 2011
 

Do you use BitTorrent? You might want to watch your back, as copyright infringement lawsuits have steadily rolled in 2011, with the number now passing 200,000 in the U.S. alone, according to TorrentFreak, who said "200,000 people have been sued for allegedly sharing copyrighted material online."

In other words, copyright infringement lawsuits are on the rise, and they're looking to make people responsible for their actions. This is consistent with what we saw in the last decade, when the RIAA famously sued people for downloading music off of the Internet instead of targeting the middle man (in this case BitTorrent sites, in others it was P2P networks).

1,237 supposedly used the eD2k network, and the mainstay of lawsuits have targeted people who download the movie The Hurt Locker. Those sued can either pay a penalty of $2,500 and move on, or risk a court battle with up to $150,000 copyright infringement fines. The general strategy here (presumably) is to try to get users to pay the upfront penalty without going to court. The larger fine of $150,000 is enough to scare most people to pay the fine without risking the bigger fine + court costs. Also, there's another layer to the issue of proving that the lawsuit has been filed against the actual downloader. With wireless networks easily hacked into, it's hard to tell if the defendant is the one who downloaded the questionable material.

We can put aside the issue of 'whether or not music should be free' and 'copyright law' and just say that everyone involved here still knows that this is against the law. That said, I have to wonder why people still do this ... you're not supporting the artist, so the quickest way to make them stop making music is to download music they don't want to be on the Internet for free. If they want to give away promotional tracks for free, they'll do it ... through their web site.

 

Tags: BitTorrent, Digital Music News

 
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