Makes me ashamed to be a lawyer

POSTED BY Rick Shera
28 July 2010

posted in l@w.geek.nz | Copyright | Caselaw | International | Legal Practice

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Most people reading this will know about the John Doe lawsuits filed in the US alleging p2p copyright infringement of the Hurt Locker (among other films).  They are referred to as John Doe proceedings because, at the time they are filed, the plaintiff does not know the identity of the defendants (so, in traditional US parlance, the unknown defendant is listed as John Doe).  In the Hurt Locker and similar cases, allegations are linked to tens of thousands of IP addresses that have allegedly been used to infringe copyright by connecting to p2p swarms and sharing these films. Once the plaintiff learns the identity of an alleged defendant, it can then serve them with the proceeding papers so that they become a party. Usually, it learns the IP address holder's identity from the relevant ISP, whether because the ISP has voluntarily co-operated or because it has been ordered to do so by a Court.

There have been various issues raised with lumping tens of thousands of defendants together from a procedural point of view. Some ISPs are giving up names of alleged IP address owners whereas others are resisting.

Perhaps though, if the ISPs in question took a closer at the venal treatment likley to be meted out to their customers once the ISP divulges an alleged infringer's identity, and the self-serving explanations given, they might rethink doing so.  This sort of pay up or we'll serve you with the proceeding would, I have no doubt, be considered a breach of the practice rules governing lawyers here in New Zealand. Long may that be the case.

(HT Leanne O'Donnell (@lods1211) for the heads up on this)

POSTED BY Rick Shera
28 July 2010

posted in l@w.geek.nzCopyrightCaselawInternationalLegal Practice

VIEWED 5893 TIMES

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