I want to make sure that my clients know all their options and have an idea of the costs and benefits of each course of action before they decide what to do. I offer free email consultations do discuss your individual case.
What are these cases about?
A few years ago, some content providers (mostly porn, but also some other movie and music companies) and their lawyers realized that they would pull the IP addresses of people in a BitTorrent swarm, put that information into a John Doe lawsuit and use the court's subpoena power to get ISPs to turn over the identity of the person what had that IP address at the time.
Once an ISP is served, it sends letters to their targeted clients advising them of the situation. Usually, this is where I come in, to protect the individual's identity and quietly negotiate a settlement before the case goes further.
Where can I find out more?
You can search by the name of the case and the docket number (probably something like 13-civ-00555-aba). If you have a PACER account, and it's a Federal case, you can check that, but if you have a PACER account, you're probably not reading this. Other sites also search Federal dockets. If it's a state case, it can be a little more annoying since the states all have their sites set up differently.
EFF.org has some information on their site about these cases, and maintains a list of lawyers that work with defendants at https://www.eff.org/issues/file-sharing/subpoena-defense
There are also a few blogs that do a great job of tracking these cases. They might not be written by lawyers, and they obviously aren't neutral observers, so some of the commentary is maybe a bit slanted, but they still have lots of good information. Die Troll Die and Fight Copyright Trolls are two well known blogs. I'm not affiliated with either and don't take responsibility for anything there, but I look at them on occasion. If nothing else, I think it's good to gather as much information about something before making a decision.
How I help you
Why use the Law Office of Steve O'Donnell?
If I settle, will they come after me again?
Is settlng an admission?
What if I just ignore this?
I'm also fairly sure the plaintiffs don't proceed against everyone that doesn't settle. Unfortunately, it's impossible to predict what will happen in your case. It seems that many of the plaintiffs have become more aggressive and willing to go to court than they were a few years ago.
If you are named in a personal lawsuit and subpoenaed, the cost of even beginning to defend can quickly outpace what it would cost to settle. If you ignore the lawsuit, you'll likely be hit with a default judgment. A reasonable amount would be maybe $1000-$2000 per infringement (possibly much more), plus possible attorney fees. If you defend and lose, your damages may be similar, although with much larger potential attorney fees (plus your own attorney fees). If you defend and win, you're probably still going to have to pay your own attorney fees. The law gives the judge the discretion to award fees to the winning party, but getting an award of fees for the defendant isn’t as easy as some other lawyers are implying.