Piracy Lawsuits Are a Waste of Money, ABA Says

Rhett Pardon

NEW YORK — Suing individuals who poach content online doesn't yield significant financial returns and causes public relations problems, according to the American Bar Association.

The lawyers organization, instead, recommends the content industry spend its time educating the public on the negative impact of stealing content, like damage to the U.S. economy.

The ABA's intellectual property unit, in a 113-page white paper released this week, also said that it "does not believe that legislative action directly targeting consumers would prove effective in reducing piracy or counterfeiting at this time."

"Alternatively, a well-constructed and continuous public outreach campaign to educate the public about piracy and counterfeiting, the negative impacts these activities have on the U.S. economy and ways consumers can be proactive in trying to stop such conduct may have a longer lasting positive impact," the ABA said.

Pirated adult content is prevalent on the Internet. In fact, some adult entertainment studios’ entire catalogs are available online illegally.

Peer-to-peer networks and file-hosting sites often utilize BitTorrent — a popular file sharing protocol for transmitting large media files — to enable users to download unlicensed copyrighted material.

But some adult entertainment studios have fought back against online piracy with litigation, while some groups of attorneys have found a cottage industry lining up defendants who have been alleged to poach porn off the Internet.

Noting that it supports extending certain civil remedies to redress online piracy undertaken by foreign-based websites, the ABA in its paper said it recommends a “follow the money” approach based around extending injunctive relief and monetary damages.

The ABA's white paper encourages Congress to draft new antipiracy legislation like the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) bills and promote voluntary agreements between stakeholders.

The ABA's call for legislation also includes ways to cut off advertising and to seize funds through payment processors.

See ABA paper on piracy