Hard Drive Settles BitTorrent Litigation Harassment Case

Rhett Pardon

SAN FRANCISCO — Hard Drive Productions has settled claims that it harassed a woman who was served with settlement demands for allegedly trading porn on a BitTorrent network.

The suit, waged by Liuxia Wong, ended Monday with a "confidential settlement," according to court records.

The settlement came a week after Hard Drive Productions responded to Wong's initial complaint and added a countercomplaint against her re-alleging infringement. Hard Drive Productions in the countercomplaint also was seeking a declaratory judgment that the studio's works are copyrightable.

Wong in the complaint filed at U.S. District Court in San Francisco says "Amateur Allure Jen," the film at the heart of Hard Drive's original BitTorrent case, is not copyrightable because the porn film "is not a work that promotes the progress of science and the useful arts."

The case got its roots last year when the Arizona-based adult company targeted Wong after it Productions subpoenaed the Internet protocol addresses associated with illegal downloading of its film.

When Hard Drive Productions sent Wong a settlement demand for $3,400, she says she proclaimed her innocence. But the company didn't buy it, and even claimed it could sue her for $150,000. 

Hard Drive Productions then filed suit against a single Jane Doe defendant using Wong's IP address and lowered its demand to $3,000.

Taking matters into her own hands, Wong later sued Hard Drive Productions seeking a declaratory judgment that she is not liable for any copyright infringement and that "Amateur Allure Jen" is not copyrightable.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers earlier said Wong has a case for declaratory relief because Hard  Drive Productions initiated litigation in which Wong has potential liability. 

"Hard Drive’s argument that it has not named Wong and does not think she is likely to be the actual infringer rings hollow in the face of its settlement demands and communications to Wong," Gonzalez Rogers said. "[T]he allegations here are sufficient to establish that Hard Drive’s conduct creates a reasonable and reasonable apprehension that it will try to hold Wong liable for copyright infringement."

Wong's attorney, Steven W. Yuen, and Hard Drive Productions attorney, did not respond for comment by XBIZ post time.

John Steele, of Prenda Law in Chicago, declined comment on the Wong case, citing the confidential settlement.

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