From the Porn Piracy Files: Attorney Marc Randazza: “Call Me a Troll; I’ll Gladly Take the Title”; *Watch the Interview

LAS VEGAS from www.mynews3.com- — One of the most innovative sectors of the internet is one people don’t like to talk about: pornography.

Many of the advances that made high-quality video and mainstream pay-for-play services possible were created by the online porn industry.

Now, internet content providers are turning to the courts to protect their products and porn is once again leading the way. News 3’s Mackenzie Warren gives us a look at new kind of attorney—the copyright troll.

Big online piracy cases, so far, have revolved around people accused of stealing music or movies. Lots of people download with no shame whatsoever. But when a copyright troll accuses someone of stealing porn they’re often ashamed, so much that in some cases they’ll pay up, even when they’re not guilty.

Millions seek out porn on the internet every day and a smaller share of those people steal it and swap the files.

“When a cop arrests someone they call them a ‘pig.’ [People] want to call me a “troll” because I’m going after them for stealing? I’ll gladly take the title,” says Marc Randazza. Randazza is a Las Vegas copyright attorney leading the charge nationwide.

“It’s a really old message that I would’ve hoped everyone would have learned by kindergarten: don’t steal.” It generally starts with a letter from your internet provider saying ‘your account has been flagged for sharing copyrighted material.’ and often–it’s X-rated stuff. “You can buy a porn movie online for five or six bucks, but is it really worth the five or six dollars to possibly get sued in a copyright infringement?” says Randazza.

He nabs people for settlements upwards of several thousand dollars and with all the adult films shot here in Las Vegas, we must have a lot of offenders, right? Randazza says no. “I tend to find Vegas is statistically low.” He has better luck in New York and California but in a tiny instance of cases the innocent can get swept up.

Like this Richmond, California grandmother Bobbie Jean Thomas. “I know I didn’t do it. I hardly know how to turn the computer on,” Thomas says.

“It’s very ridiculous. If I were downloading anything it probably would have been some gospel music.”

But Thomas was accused of downloading much more. “I’m too old to go to jail for a movie I didn’t even see.” She fought the copyright troll and won. Randazza was not the copyright attorney involved in Thomas’ case but reminds cases like hers are rare. Randazza and believes Thomas fell victim to a hack who took advantage of an unsecure wireless connection.

His message to you: “Go check your wireless router and make sure it’s locked because that’s going to help solve the problem.” A password on your WiFi provides protection. It’s also a good idea to know who could be clicking and trading away on your computer.

“I see a name on a subpoena response: ‘June Cleaver.’ That doesn’t mean ‘June Cleaver’ didn’t do it—sometimes she did do it,” says Randazza. “Or its Eddie Haskell over there doing it—but somebody there usually did do it.”

Copyright trolls use special software to identify IP addresses they suspect of stealing copyrighted materials. Then they file mass lawsuits against thousands of “john doe’s” threatening to sue, unless the defendant agrees to settle for a few thousand dollars.

If you’ve been hit with a letter from your Internet provider—we want to hear from you—share your stories with us below or on our Facebook page.

*Watch the Interview: www.mynews3.com/content/news/local/story/Internet-providers-turn-to-attorneys-to-protect/g1viHJEjF025YN56WlU33A.cspx

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