Friday, May 10, 2013
The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, in a somewhat curious use of Star Trek references, offered an opinion that addressed a pornography downloading issue and included a Google maps screenshot and an elaborate chart (see pages 7 and 9 of the opinion) to aid understanding. Read the first paragraphs below (highlighted language added)--or read the entire opinion.
The judge started with a quote from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and then said, "Plaintiffs have outmaneuvered the legal system.They’ve discovered the nexus of antiquated copyright laws, paralyzing social stigma, and unaffordable defense costs. And they exploit this anomaly by accusing individuals of illegally downloading a single pornographic video. Then they offer to settle—for a sum calculated to be just below the cost of a bare-bones defense. For these individuals, resistance is futile; most reluctantly pay rather than have their names associated with illegally downloading porn. So now, copyright laws originally designed to compensate starving artists allow, starving attorneys in this electronic-media era to plunder the citizenry. Plaintiffs do have a right to assert their intellectual-property rights, so long as they do it right. But Plaintiffs’ filing of cases using the same boilerplate complaint against dozens of defendants raised the Court’s alert. It was when the Court realized Plaintiffs engaged their cloak of shell companies and fraud that the Court went to battlestations."