EFF Seeks to Protect Rights of BitTorrent Users

SAN FRANCISCO — The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed an amicus brief asking an Illinois judge to throw out subpoenas related to mass BitTorrent lawsuits, which join thousands of defendants together in an effort to secure a financial settlement.

The EFF, which filed the 37-page brief at U.S. District Court in Chicago, said it wants to stop content owners and attorneys from targeting the alleged file sharers in what the foundation calls “predatory” lawsuits because they violate the defendant’s rights.

“Copyright owners have a right to protect their works, but they can’t use shoddy and unfair tactics to do so,” said Corynne McSherry, EFF intellectual property director.

“We’re asking the court to protect the rights of each and every defendant, instead of allowing these copyright trolls to game the system.”

The EFF is asking the court to grant two John Doe motions to quash relating to the suit filed last September by First Time Videos targeting 500 defendants.

First Time Videos, which operates FTVCash.com, claims content from its flagship site, FTVGirls.com, was poached.

EFF’s amicus brief said, “This case is one of a growing number of other mass copyright lawsuits that are being filed across the country, which have to date affected over 75,000 people nationwide, raise serious problems of fairness, due process and individual justice.”

The brief also said that plaintiff’s lawyers hope to “take advantage of the threat of an award of statutory damages and attorney’s fees, the ignorance of those sued about their potential defenses, as well as the stigma that is associated with downloading pornographic movies.”

This is the second time the EFF has filed an amicus brief related to BitTorrent copyright lawsuits.