Technology news website [URL="http://torrentfreak.com/200000-bittorrent-users-sued-in-the-united-states-110808/"]TorrentFreak[/URL] has been keeping track of the numbers of people being sued by copyright law firms, and this week, that number has just reached over 200,000. That's only in the United States!
TorrentFreak has maintained a public [URL="http://tinyurl.com/fslitigate"]Google Docs spreadsheet[/URL] listing all the litigations so far, and as it stands today, there are 201,828 'Does' or unnamed defendants being listed in the suits filed so far.
Out of the 200,000 'Does', the majority have been BitTorrent users, with only 1,237 eD2k users being mentioned.
And yet despite so many defendants, not one of the suits have actually made it to a full trial, with the law firms handling these cases fearing their day in court, a trial which may end up providing a non advantageous decision. They are much happier subpoenaing ISPs to get the real address of users, and then sending settlement letters, which usually demand on average $2,500 to settle the case (which the letter claim could cost defendants up to $150,000, if it actually ends up in court that is).
But with their evidence and claims untested in court, critics have attacked these kinds of copyright settlement lawsuits, especially with recent news stories about clearly innocent users being caught up and forced to pay, including 70-year old grandmas and a legally blind man, both were accused of downloading video porn.
And with the fact that settlement is often cheaper than going to court, even for those that are clearly innocent, a large percentage of the 200,000 sued so far will eventually pay up. At $2,500 per 'Doe', this could amount to half a billion dollars at best, or at least tens of millions assuming only a small percentage of people pay up.