Leonard J. French

Attorney & Counselor at Law

Legal Advocacy for the Information Age

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The Lawful Masses Law & Technology Blog

Now interviewing ISP subpoena recipients


Aka "bittorrent", piracy, copyright lawsuits

By Leonard J. French, Esq. – Posted: 28-March, 2012 – 13:42 EDT – Edited: 14-September, 2012 – 14:45 EDT

It seems there is a new round of subpoenas being sent out looking for the account information of ISP or internet subscribers and accusing them of downloading copyrighted material illegally. These subpoenas are typically the first sign a defendant sees of the fishing expedition that began months before.

The plaintiff will set up a computer to monitor illegal downloads (such as bittorrent, gnutella, or kazaa). After a period of time, a list of IP addresses which connected to the computer is generated. Then, the plaintiff gets a subpoena from a court authorizing the disclosure of potential defendants' account information.

Once the plaintiffs have the account information of each IP address, they will contact the potential defendants and offer to settle the matter for a sum, typically $2,000 to $3,000. If the defendant won't pay, a lawsuit may be pursued. 

Hiring a technology-savvy attorney can help by increasing the effort a plaintiff will have to invest in pursuing the now-represented party. Plaintiffs will often drop a suit against a represented defendant to avoid having a court rule against them.

I have defended these types of suits before. If you have received one of these notices, please contact me today. ISPs in Pennsylvania include Comcast, RCN, Charter, and Service Electric.

Thank you,

Leonard J. French

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