From the Porn Piracy Files: Malibu Media, Patrick Collins Third Degree Films stepping up lawsuits against illegal downloading

from www.northjersey.com- Four more lawsuits were filed last week by two California-based pornography studios, the latest salvo in a mounting assault on illegal downloading of copyrighted material by users of file-sharing networks in New Jersey.

The latest suits target 132 New Jerseyans, including residents of Bergenfield, Haledon, Garfield, Little Falls and North Arlington, who are identified at this stage only by their Internet addresses and hometowns.

The plaintiffs, Malibu Media LLC and Patrick Collins Inc., are asking federal court judges for permission to subpoena Comcast and Verizon to obtain the full names and addresses of Internet subscribers who they allege have unlawfully downloaded and distributed their videos.

Once identified, an Internet account holder typically faces a choice of quietly settling the case for a few thousand dollars or hiring a lawyer to publicly contest the suit in court.

Unlike cases alleging illegal downloads of popular music and films, the prospect of having one’s reputation tarnished by being publicly charged with illegally downloading pornography could compel even an innocent person to settle, some judges have said.

Over the past two years, 48 copyright infringement lawsuits have been filed in New Jersey against 15,158 people for allegedly using the BitTorrent file-sharing system to download and distribute music albums, feature-length movies and pornography online.

In a sign that this form of mass litigation is on the rise, 28 of those suits, targeting 12,747 potential offenders, have been filed in the past three months.

In each of the suits, the defendants are alleged to have participated in a cyberspace “swarm” — a collection of users who engaged in the illegal sharing of a copyrighted work over the Internet using the BitTorrent protocol. BitTorrent allows users to easily download large data files, such as digital copies of movies, in small chunks from multiple sources.

Malibu Media, Patrick Collins and a third pornography producer, Third Degree Films, have so far filed 19 lawsuits in New Jersey this summer alleging 638 defendants stole their movies.

The suits seek to halt unlawful distribution, force defendants to delete the pirated copies and award plaintiffs statutory damages of up to $150,000 per defendant and copyrighted work infringed, or actual damages caused by lost sales, price erosion and a diminution of the value of their copyrights.

Judges in some of those cases have already given a green light to lawyers to subpoena the Internet providers for the names and addresses of those subscribers accused of illegal downloading.

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