back to article Judge to movie studios: Why shouldn't I dismiss piracy lawsuits?

A federal judge has ordered attorneys representing movie studios to explain why they lumped thousands of alleged copyright violators into just two lawsuits, an indication she is seriously considering claims by ISP Time Warner and civil liberties advocates that the actions violate well-established court procedures. Rosemary M. …


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  1. John F***ing Stepp

    Far Cry and The Steam Experiment.

    Which two movies will I never watch?

    I mean ever.

    1. Steve Roper

      The problem is

      loads of people will probably follow your example. Then the makers of those two movies will blame the loss of sales on piracy. Ironic isn't it?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      @Which two movies will I never watch?

      You mean : which two movies have I never heard of?

  2. Anonymous Coward


    I have no sympathy for the movie studios or anything, but basically what the judge means is "not enough money goes to lawyers this way"

    1. Pirate Dave Silver badge


      sounds like he's saying "everybody gets their day in court". If defendant A is innocent, why should he be held liable in the same way as defendant B who is guilty?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Lawyers chose this way to make more money

      The plaintives want people to settle without a fight because they have no credible evidence against them. (Perhaps that evidence could be found - for example if a defendant has payed up before - but making the slightest effort to look for evidence costs money.) To get an income, the plaintives had to send out thousands of threats as the proportion of people pay up used to be tiny. The threats must be cheap, so paying one filing fee for a few thousand defendants is much cheaper than paying one filing fee for each.

      This new batch of threats appears to be more effective than usual because people believe they will have to fly to the far side of the country and defend themselves where the state laws and court rules are different from the ones at home. I assume this tactic of combining lawsuits has not been tried before because it directly contradicts court procedures: you need a good reason to sue someone from a distant state because of the burden it would put on them to respond to the complaint. The filing fees are one of the few deterants to frivolous law suits in the US.

      Judging by the responses from the defendants, the vast majority of them cannot afford even a few minutes legal advice. They do not appear to have a clue how to defend themselves.

    3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge



      ..I believe what the judge is saying is "this really is a bad thing for the rights of the accused copyright infringers. It places undue hardship on them, while completely minimising the risk to the media megacorps. The law shouldn't be abused to harm the rights of citizens for the benefit of corporations."

      Or in other words; this judge is about to retire. Voluntarily or otherwise.

      It may be the most unamerican bit of jurisprudence I've ever read about!

    4. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Isn't it more like...

      I read it as being more like that there are laws and rules to follow, and the lawyers were just being lazy, cutting corners and possibly making it harder for the court and the ISPs to properly assess each case.

      Ironic really that they are not following the rules, and then complaining that others are not...

    5. some vaguely opinionated bloke


      What the judge is saying is that the studio has to prove it's legal to use 2 lawsuits to make an ISP reveal the details of 4500 IP addresses on the off-chance that there would be sufficient detail to sue up to 4500 people.

      If anything, the judge is calling into question the possibility of gaining the evidence to start 4500 lawsuits - and if those 4500 lawsuits cannot begin, then the lawyers get far less money.

    6. Thomas 4

      One way of looking at it

      I don't disagree with DeFex and maybe I'm naive in hoping this is true, but I think the judge is actually acting of common sense. A blanket judgement like this would give studios the precedent to go after whoever they wanted and just lump them altogether in a general "you were on Kazaa, therefore you must have downloaded 3 petabytes of film and we'll take every penny you have thanks."

      If the penalty for such action is going to be in the tens of thousands of dollars, as we've seen in the past, I'd sure as hell want my case to be tried on an individual basis and not just stuck in the same dock as Captain Freetard.

      (Just in case there are any money hungry studios reading, no, I don't, so save your breath and your lawyer fees)

    7. hplasm Silver badge

      "Not enough money goes to the lawyers this way"

      -From the movie companies; ie pay up or shut up, you don't get your money for nothing.

    8. Elmer Phud


      I read it as

      'Judge gets pissed off at huge bulldozing companies lumping everyone in together in an attempt to show the world that the entire industry is under threat not from money-grabbing bastards but some sort of wholesale bulk downloaders'

      Give the judiciary some leeway, what do you think the industry lawyers are doing?

      They certainly won't be giving bulk discount - they will have spent ages collecting info and charging for it.

    9. g e

      More like

      do it right or not at all.

    10. heyrick Silver badge

      I think what he means is...

      How the hell can you take infringement action against somebody when you don't even know their identity? And assuming John Doe is found guilty, what is the legality of a decision made in their absence with no prospect of attempting to defend themselves?

      This whole thing is rank, and it speaks volumes about the mindset of the movie studios who, having pissed over existing copyright legislation, felt they could actually bring this to court in such a way. I ought to say Epic Fail, but it doesn't surprise me. Question is, will the judge throw it, or succumb to a good argument?

  3. Pirate Dave Silver badge


    sounds more like he's saying "everybody gets their day in court". If defendant A is innocent, why should he be held as liable as defendant B who is guilty?

  4. Sean

    .... Not rly..

    The judge's comments don't reflect how many lawyers get paid at all. It's simply a case of Time Warner's lawyers taking the easiest available route to get the action shot down. The litigators are trying to make as much money with as little effort as possible - so they've cut corners. If Time Warner can make them go the long way around, then the action ceases to be ecconomicaly viable and they're forced to drop the lawsuits and bitch about how piracy is why their profits were only ludicrous instead of ungodly.

  5. Anonymous Coward


    Information not confidential or priviliged?

    Names & Addresses of Customers are not confidential in which universe exactly?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In our universe unfortunately

      Names and addresses are not even classed as sensitive information in the UK (as they are publicly available - electoral rolls). Sensitive information is health data, race, sexual orientation, religion, trade union membership, etc - basically anything that can be used to unlawfully discriminate. Obviously the DPA extends to the protection of non-sensitive (personal) information too (like bank details, financial records, etc) - but they are personal not sensitive.

      That said, it doesn't mean you can just publish the stuff willy-nilly - not that the ICO will come down hard on you if you do, though.

  6. Laurent_Z

    Let's see ...

    The Steam Experiment (2009) More at IMDbPro »

    User Rating: 4.2/10 1,131 votes »

    Hmmm, I quite like the notion that they want the identities of the downloders to compensate them for the 90 minutes or so they lost of their lifes spent watching a piece of crap.

  7. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Unfortunately, not only in America...

    1. Make a shit film that no-one will ever watch.

    2. Blame lack of revenue generated from aforementioned shit film - on piracy.

    3. Generate profit by sueing anyone who might have used a PC, or an internet at some point.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Never heard of them, and will now avoid them.

    I heard the studio for the hurt locker was gonna start doing this, I was gonna buy the film the other day~~~ Think I'll give it a miss.

  9. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    It's never about justice...

    It's only ever about $$$$$

  10. ShaggyDoggy


    So basically, the movie studios created a "torrent lawsuit"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      ..or maybe it's "lawsuit spam."

    2. Anonymous Coward

      We should have it debated in the house of lords

      Then it becomes a peer-to-peer debate.

  11. Dave Bell

    Mixed feekings

    This could get messy.

    The media companies are trying to get evidence to identify possible illicit downloaders. Presumably Time Warner are in the correct jusrisdiction for the court.But this many cases lumped together looks very like a fishing expedition, which will allow the usual unscrupulous tactics. We IDed you last night, and we're quite prepared to fight, unless you pay us cash to go away.

    And that is called asking for Dane-geld,

    And the people who ask it explain

    That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld

    And then you'll get rid of the Dane!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    You mean the 5000 people who would never have gotten off their arses to see a movie at the cinema - that I have never ever even heard of - who allegedly download it.

    You mean the 5000 people who would never have gotten off their arses to hire a movie on DVD, that I have never ever even heard of - who allegedly download it.

    You mean the 5000 people who would never have gotten off their arses to see a movie on TV if there was something better on - who allegedly download it.

    Ohhhhhh those 5000 people.......

    Good thing that the sleaze bag lawyers didn't do this in Australia, because it won't be released here for another 3 years - if ever.

    AND it will probably never ever be released here, nor ever come out on DVD here, and it will never be seen on TV here either......

    But the shit head lawyers will claim that the 5000 caused them a loss in profit too, for the movie that will never be available here, because they didn't pay for something that does not exist, when they ought to have.


    I like cash grabbing monopolies and their DRM and their copyright rigging DMCA.

    More reasons not to buy into those companies, or support them or their products.

    Learn to read and write and play, produce and publish your own music, and set up and participate in community theatres, and enjoy participating instead of observing.

    And fuck the lot of them.

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