Film companies are abusing the law to pressure defendants to settle
ECM Plus – The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the EFF, has asked an Illinois judge to quash subpoenas issued in predatory lawsuits involving alleged illegal downloading of pornography.
According to the EFF, In an amicus brief filed last week, EFF said it has argued that the adult film companies were abusing the law in order to coerce settlement payments – despite serious problems with the underlying claims. Charles Lee Mudd Jr. of Mudd Law Offices assisted EFF with the filing of this brief.
The Foundation said that its brief submitted last week was the latest in its efforts to stop so-called ‘copyright trolls’ – content owners and lawyers who team up to extract settlements from thousands of defendants at a time.
Allegedly, tactics employed by these ‘copyright trolls’ include improperly lumping defendants together into one case and filing it in a court far away from most of the accused people’s homes and Internet connections.
EFF said that when these adult film companies file these predatory lawsuits, there is the added pressure of embarrassment associated with pornography. All of these factors can, EFF stated, convince those ensnared in the suits to quickly pay what is being demanded instead of arguing the merits of their case in court.
“Copyright owners have a right to protect their works, but they can’t use shoddy and unfair tactics to do so” said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. “We’re asking the court to protect the rights of each and every defendant, instead of allowing these copyright trolls to game the system.”
Last month, a judge in West Virginia blocked an attempt to unmask accused pornography file-sharers in seven predatory lawsuits.
EFF said that this was closely following the reasoning from an EFF amicus brief, the judge ordered the plaintiffs to file against each defendant individually. In December 2010, a judge in the District of Columbia dismissed hundreds of individuals named in the U.S. Copyright Group troll campaign because of lack of personal jurisdiction. EFF said it had filed an amicus brief in that case as well.
“As judges start to force copyright trolls to play by rules, this kind of mass litigation will no longer be a good business model. That helps protect the rights of Internet users everywhere” McSherry added.
The full amicus brief can be downloaded from
For more on copyright trolls, visit