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EFF Blasts BlazingBucks' BitTorrent Class Action

EFF Blasts BlazingBucks' BitTorrent Class Action
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Wednesday, Mar 16, 2011    Text size: 
CHICAGO — The Electronic Frontier Foundation's attempt to derail BlazingBucks' suit against 2,925 porn BitTorrent users is "hugely misleading," according to the lawyer who filed the copyright infringement suit.

But attorney John Steele, who represents BlazingBucks' parent company in the case, told XBIZ that he's not surprised that the EFF would file an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief and disseminate a subsequent press release on it.

"This is a marketing tool for the EFF," Steele said. "The judge has not ruled on [the amicus brief], and we see no joinder problem with the defendants."

On Tuesday, the EFF asked a federal judge in Illinois to quash subpoenas issued in the BlazingBucks copyright infringement suit and urged the court to dismiss the case. In the brief, the EFF argued that BlazingBucks' "class action" strategy is "an improper attempt to sidestep the rights of the defendants."

The EFF also published a press release titled, " EFF Urges Judge to Reject Dangerous New Copyright Troll Strategy, Adult Film Company Uses 'Reverse Class Action' Lawsuit to Ensnare More Defendants," to outline its amicus brief.

BlazingBucks' suit, which was filed at U.S. District Court in Chicago last month, points the finger at alleged pirates named as John Does in the suit, asking the court to identify them through their ISPs. It does not include specific titles that were pirated.

"In this case, the plaintiff has taken a new approach: calling its complaint a 'class action' lawsuit against the alleged infringers," the EFF said in a release. "Normally a class action is used by a group of plaintiffs with similar complaints of a single defendant, not a single plaintiff targeting thousand of defendants with no attorney in place to defend the rights of the accused."

EFF attorney Matt Zimmerman further said that the class-action process was never intended to be used this way. "We're asking the court to call a halt to the gamesmanship from [BlazingBucks]," he said.

It's not the first time the EFF has filed friend-of-the-court briefs on porn BitTorrent cases. In several instances, the EFF filed them on the behest of federal judges in Texas and West Virginia to represent Does.

Steele, however, says that the EFF has an agenda with its role in porn BitTorrent suits that's not very transparent.

"They have a moneymaking business that is operated by attorneys, and many [porn BitTorrent] defendants end up choosing one of the attorneys involved in EFF suits," he said. "I know for a fact that one of the attorneys has lined up 40 defendants, and he is earning hand over fist in legal fees."

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