New Milestone for BitTorrent Users Sued in the US: 200,000
Users pirating copyrighted material have always been the target of lawsuits. From pirating music, to movies, to games, to nearly fifty years worth of Doctor Who — if it is available in some sort of digital format, it will be pirated. Recently, the rate of file-sharing lawsuits have become much more prevalent, and almost exclusively focused on BitTorrent users. A few days ago, the number of people targeted by these lawsuits in the United States broke the 200,000 mark.
The copyright holders that have filed these lawsuits generally attempt to obtain the personal information of the BitTorrent users who are thought to have shared their material. Once this personal information has been obtained, the copyright holders give the targeted users a chance to settle the case for a smaller amount of money than the targeted users would’ve had to pony up if they went to court and lost the case, which they most likely would have.
As reported by TorrentFreak, the current number of infringers that have been sued since only last year currently sits at 201,828. Most of the infringers are accused of having used BitTorrent to do the sharing, while 1,237 users are accused of having used the eD2K network. Currently, a large chunk of that number of cases have been settled or dismissed, and the number of users still battling the lawsuits sits at 145,417.
General wisdom dictates that a large number of the users targeted in these kinds of cases are not actually the original infringer, but due to the court costs of money, time and effort, and the potential risk of a much larger fine, the cases are settled or dismissed without actually proving the accuracy and legitimacy of the evidence. TorrentFreak points out how profitable the “accuse users, get a settlement” plan is: “If half of the original defendants eventually settle for an average fee of $2,500 they would generate a quarter billion dollars in revenue — from piracy.”
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