Have You Illegally Downloaded the Porno "Total Black Invasion 2"? Beware this Lawsuit!

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Scene from "Total Black Invastion 2"
Yesterday, in our esteemed federal court, the Southern California-based company, West Coast Productions -- "Your Premier Source for Interracial Porn!" -- filed suit against 71 unnamed people living in eastern Missouri.

The accusation? That they infringed copyright by downloading "Total Black Invasion 2" via BitTorrent swarm (in which a user downloads a movie in tiny little pieces from various other users, so that no one computer gets swamped with requests).

We saw something similar a few months ago when alt-porn queen Joanna Angel filed a similar suit.

But we wonder how bright the future is for these kinds of suits, which some call "copyright troll" suits.

The website, "Fight Copyright Trolls," defines the term thusly:
Copyright trolls are law firms or individual lawyers who adopted a lucrative scheme to profit from copyright infringement allegations through extortion. Copyright trolls represent holders of copyrights on movies (mostly pornography).
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Another motion picture by West Coast Productions
It works like this, the site says: The "troll lawyers" find a BitTorrent swarm that's sharing the movie in question, and they record the IP addresses involved. Then they file a lawsuit against multiple "John Does" (defendants yet-to-be-named). Next, they get a judge to sign off on a subpoena that allows them to connect an infringing IP address to the internet service used, and from there, to the internet subscriber. Then comes the hardball part:
Once the names and contact information of subscribers accused in infringement are obtained, trolls send out virtually identical "litigation settlement" demand letters. These letters (and sometimes telephone calls) threaten defendants with costly lawsuits that can potentially result in as much as $150,000 statutory damage payments plus attorney fees. In addition, they threaten to raid your computer(s) in search for proof. To let this suit go away, trolls demand a couple of thousand dollars, increasing the amount if not paid promptly.

Profit is split among trolls, rightholders and companies that detected IPs.

It is not hard to see that this scheme is nothing else than extortion, where "settlement" is a euphemism of "ransom". Given the settlement rate (30% and higher, especially in porno cases) this scheme is indeed lucrative, and in some cases can top the profit from a movie sale.
Daily RFT has little sympathy for illegal downloaders. However, plenty of innocent people can get ensnared in these lawsuits, for the simple reason that people can use your WiFi signal without you knowing it. As Illinois federal district judge Harold Baker wrote in May of last year, an IP address found through this subpoena process does not neatly connect to one person:
The infringer might be the subscriber, someone in the subscriber's household, a visitor with her laptop, a neighbor, or someone parked on the street at any given moment.
Some of these people are fighting back with a class-action lawsuit filed under the RICO act.

As for West Coast Productions, one BitTorrent defense attorney in Houston, Texas, calls them "one of the first (and the largest) copyright trolls."

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