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BitTorrent Users: Prepare to Be Spam-igated

Bittorrent

THR, Esq. is reporting on a wave of new lawsuits targeting users of the file-sharing service BitTorrent, accusing them of illegally downloading copyrighted movies.

THR reports that 20,000 individual users have already been named in these suits, and that another suit naming an additional 30,000 is coming down the pike. This litigation is reportedly being spearheaded by a venture called the U.S. Copyright Group, fueled by some spiffy German technology that can monitor illegal downloads in real time.

The sample complaint linked to by THR was filed by Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver, which looks to be the alter ego of U.S. Copyright Group (they share a D.C. address). Thomas Dunlap, a partner at the firm, spoke with THR, and was purty darned candid about the motivation for the lawsuits:

"We're creating a revenue stream and monetizing the equivalent of an alternative distribution channel," says Weaver.

Not surprisingly, Fred von Lohmann (congrats, by the way, Fred), on the Electronic Frontier Foundation's blog, cites this "spam-igation" as further evidence that copyright law has become a breeding ground for "trolls intent on shaking down individuals for fast settlements a thousand at a time."

That sure sounds like an accurate description of the business model based on THR's article. The U.S. Copyright Group is apparently going on its own promotional roadshow soon. To Cannes, to pitch its services to other film producers. Sure beats reviewing documents in a warehouse in Allentown.

Posted by Eric Lipman on March 31, 2010 at 11:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

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