The irony of sharing pleadings of current copyright infringement cases… by torrent.

[7/22/2011 UPDATE: As services such as PACER, RECAP The Law, and RFC Express have become widely available, tracking cases and viewing filings online have become available for everyone to do.  Thus, I am no longer uploading case documents to the bittorrent networks.]

It has been disturbing to me that a number of websites have been misreporting the success rates of motions to quash in copyright violation cases. I’ve seen more than a few make references to “David versus Goliath” when it comes to the massive copyright enforcement law firms trying to make examples of one or more attorneys who assist their clients in filing motions to quash subpoenas served on their internet service providers. These web sites talk about the successes achieved in “clogging” the court system with filings, with the intent that the court will be unable to function — and they put all the blame on the plaintiff lawfirms who have been filing complaints naming hundreds and often thousands of defendants at a time.

I decided to correct the record and share my understanding how MOTIONS TO QUASH have not been working. After receiving around fifty pieces of hate mail being called all sorts of names, one level-headed reader asked if I would be willing to “prove it” by showing that people have not been achieving success with their motion filings.

When I suggested sharing with them the very case dockets for the Hurt Locker lawsuit and the Far Cry lawsuit, one very brilliant 2600 user suggested that I upload a torrent with the case dockets and the individual filings. Since there is nothing illegal about making proper use of a torrent, and since the filings I’d be putting together are public documents and are already available online on various web sites, I thought, “why not?”

So, I put together and seeded a torrent containing most of the 143 pleadings of the Far Cry lawsuit and almost all of the pleadings in the Hurt Locker lawsuit (surprisingly there were far fewer of them), and I published them on bittorrent sites such as KickAssTorrents.com, BTJunkie.com, Monova.com, and MiniNova.com (now one of the “legitimate” sources of bittorrent downloads). I even made mention of which pleadings included the motions for sanctions against attorney Graham Syfert, a Jacksonville attorney who sold self-help forms and I included the new class action lawsuit in Massachusetts where the copyright enforcement plaintiff and the originator of so many thousands of internet users evening woes is named as a defendant in a very awe inspiring lawsuit that caused a jaw-dropping effect when I read their complaint.

All this can be found in the following torrent links:
http://btjunkie.org/torrent/Cashman-Law-Firm-Hurt-Locker-Far-Cry-Copyright-Infringement-Lawsuit-Dockets-as-of-11-29-2010/4432fb4442c1b62918eec591b31594220f8766ce84f1

and

http://www.kickasstorrents.com/cashman-law-firm-hurt-locker-far-cry-copyright-infringement-lawsuit-dockets-as-of-11-29-2010-t4758231.html

There is something ironic about a “legal” torrent which is indeed legal both in its contents and in its legality. I cannot help but to smile thinking about how a torrent listing pleadings from well-known copyright infringement lawsuits is being seeded over the internet by torrent, and it is listed on sites known for containing illegal copyright-infringing torrents. There is justice in the world.

In the end, personal jurisdiction will rule the day with the torrent crowd.

Mark your calendars, December 6th is the date when the fate of many accused internet downloaders can change for the better or for the worse.

So far, over sixteen thousand internet users have received letters from their internet service providers accusing them of illegally using the torrent peer-to-peer (p2p) / bittorrent protocol to download copyrighted movies such as the Hurt Locker, Far Cry, and a number of others. None of them have been named in the lawsuit so far. That will all change on December 6th, 2010, which is the deadline the United States District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer set in the Far Cry case for the DGW plaintiff attorneys to either name the defendants over whom they believe the court has jurisdiction, or dismiss. This is good for a number of my clients who are unnamed defendants in this case.

With all the defenses against copyright infringement, e.g., “it wasn’t me,” “my roommate used my internet connection,” “my wireless connection was unsecured,” “I don’t know how to download via torrent,” etc., it is funny that in the end, the issue of who wins is PERSONAL JURISDICTION; law school civil procedure 101. This should be a lesson to all you 1L law students out there snoring away in your “CivPro” class — the topics you are learning can be applied to something cool as lawsuits against those who illegally download movies over the internet.