Chris Civil, ‘Mass Copyright Infringement Litigation: Of Trolls, Pornography, Settlement and Joinder’

Recently, a staggering number of copyright lawsuits have been filed by producers of pornographic videos against individuals who have allegedly illegally downloaded the videos via the BitTorrent Protocol. While the law should respect the legitimate protection of a producer’s copyright interest, there is significant reason to question the legitimacy of these lawsuits. Mass copyright infringement lawsuits such as these present significant problems relating to IP address sufficiency, personal jurisdiction, and joinder.

This paper presents a comprehensive analysis of mass copyright infringement lawsuits. It first provides an overview of the BitTorrent protocol and the typical proceedings in mass copyright infringement lawsuits. The paper then addresses the myriad of problems that have been identified with such lawsuits. The second half of the paper examines how courts have dealt with mass copyright infringement, and presents results from a comprehensive analysis of jurisdictions and judges that have decided the question of whether joinder is proper in such cases. Amongst other things, this examination reveals that denial of joinder is the prevailing trend. When considered in conjunction with the identified problems associated with such lawsuits, judges that deny joinder thus appear to have solid foundational support.

Civil, Chris, Mass Copyright Infringement Litigation: Of Trolls, Pornography, Settlement and Joinder (May 2013). Syracuse Journal of Science and Technology Law.

First posted 2021-11-19 14:00:43

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