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from www.culturemap.com – More than 1,000 Houstonians are fighting to clear their names after getting snagged in a mysterious lawsuit accusing people of illegally downloading pornography.
According to KHOU Ch. 11 news, several adult film companies are threatening to reveal the names of those accused if they refuse to pay thousands in settlement money . . . all in the name of combating online piracy.
Many of those caught in these cases — which one judge says is “essentially an extortion scheme” — claim they’ve done nothing of the sort and have now hired their own legal representation.
“The time and date they allege we did this, we were sitting in front of the TV watching the Survivor finale with our 12-year-old daughter,” says the defendant.
“It felt like a shakedown from the first letter we got from this law firm. It never felt like anything other than that,” says an area woman involved in the case. “The time and date they allege we did this, we were sitting in front of the TV watching the Survivor finale with our 12-year-old daughter.”
The woman, whose lawyer asked KHOU for anonymity, explains that the tastefully-named First Time Videos and its Houston attorney Douglas McIntyre are asking for a settlement of $3,400. When CultureMap reached out to McIntyre on Thursday, he said he was too busy to discuss the case at this time.
“They’re not accusing you of downloading Bambi,” the woman defendant says. “They do it with porn because they know people are embarrassed and ashamed. Even if they didn’t do it, they don’t want to be associated with it.”
Another adult movie company named K-Beech was more aggressive with Pasadena resident Tom Vaughn when it named him in a lawsuit claiming that he pirated the film Virgins 4.
“I’m telling you I didn’t do it,” he explains. “I use my Internet mostly [to] play fantasy football . . . That’s about all I do on mine.”
He claims to have never heard of the movie and notes that he has no idea how to download movies, much like the elderly couple in Deer Park that K-Beech accused in February.
“I took a course on Windows 2000 just so I could learn to operate the computer,” Vaughn says.
As similar lawsuits continue to pop up across the nation, lawyers are determining the accuracy of investigators hired by the adult film industry.