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US Six Strikes To Lead To BitTorrent Lawsuits?

Posted by: , 17:58 AEST, Wed June 20, 2012

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The agreement between the MPAA/RIAA and ISPs reveal language that suggest individual BitTorrent lawsuits may be on the cards, as ISPs will be forced to hand over subscriber info for repeat offenders
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Image/Photo Credit: Sam Howzit @ Flickr, CC

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) may have reserved the right to sue individual BitTorrent downloaders, as part of the US "six-strikes" graduated response deal with America's top ISPs.

According to analysis by tech website TorrentFreak, the details of the historic ISP copyright agreement reveal that the MPAA/RIAA may use progress reports submitted by ISPs, on things such as the number of warnings sent, to be the basis for seeking the identity of subscribers for initiating "infringement actions" against said user.

"The Content Owner Representatives [MPAA / RIAA] or any other member of the Participating Content Owners Group may use such reports or data as the basis for seeking a Subscriber’s identity through a subpoena or order or other lawful process," the agreement reads.

And if an user has reached his/her 6-strikes limit, the "Content Owner Representatives" wants ISPs to continue monitoring and reporting to gather more information, in case they decide to "initiate a copyright infringement action against that Subscriber."

Both the RIAA and the MPAA have sued individuals before, but the bad publicity generated from the legal action, as well as long drawn out nature of the lawsuits, forced both industry trade groups to abandon the strategy several years ago. The two most famous cases so far include single mother The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) may have reserved the right to sue individual BitTorrent downloaders, as part of the US "six-strikes" graduated response deal with America's top ISPs.

According to analysis by tech website TorrentFreak, the details of the historic ISP copyright agreement reveal that the MPAA/RIAA may use progress reports submitted by ISPs, on things such as the number of warnings sent, to be the basis for seeking the identity of subscribers for initiating "infringement actions" against said user.

"The Content Owner Representatives [MPAA / RIAA] or any other member of the Participating Content Owners Group may use such reports or data as the basis for seeking a Subscriber’s identity through a subpoena or order or other lawful process," the agreement reads.

And if an user has reached his/her 6-strikes limit, the "Content Owner Representatives" wants ISPs to continue monitoring and reporting to gather more information, in case they decide to "initiate a copyright infringement action against that Subscriber."

Both the RIAA and the MPAA have sued individuals before, but the bad publicity generated from the legal action, as well as long drawn out nature of the lawsuits, forced both industry trade groups to abandon the strategy several years ago. The two most famous cases so far include that of single mother Jammie Thomas-Rasset, with the jury rewarding the RIAA $1.92 million in damages, and college student Joel Tenenbaum with his $675,000 in damages. Despite the cases being filed in 2006 and 2007 respectively, both cases are either under appeal, or are still pending further court rulings.


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