ST. LOUIS — Alt porn star Joanna Angel has filed a BitTorrent lawsuit against 525 Missourians claiming they pirated a "Festival of Cocks" scene from her Burning Angel website.
Angel’s New York-based company Boy Racer Inc. filed the complaint on Tuesday in Missouri's Eastern District alleging copyright infringement and civil conspiracy.
The star told XBIZ the scene also appears in a movie that streets next week called "Joanna Angel: Filthy Whore."
"If people want to see my gangbang legally, and not risk getting sued — they can either buy that movie or watch the scene on BurningAngel.com. I fucked eight guys at the same time —have some respect, and pay to see it," Angel said.
She added, "We hope this is is one step forward to end the pirating of not just our own content, but everyone's in the adult industry."
The complaint against the John Does listed only IP addresses, that could be problematic in Missouri because in May 2011, U.S. district court judge Harold Baker wrote that an IP address is not a person saying, “The infringer might be the subscriber, someone in the subscriber's household, a visitor with her laptop, a neighbor, or someone parked on the street at any given moment.”
But district court judges in Missouri are not legally obligated to defer to that ruling unless decided by the Supreme Court, which has not happened.
Angel said the content was uploaded to a torrent site and was downloaded by more than 500 people. "The lawyers are tracking down the IP addresses — but as of now, we have some proof that a few of the people are from Missouri, which is why the case was filed there. We do plan on going after all 500 people, it will just take some time."
According to the Riverfront Times, Angel’s filed similar federal lawsuits in California, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Florida, Ohio and Texas over the past year and a half with mixed results.
One Florida case was settled and an Illinois case was thrown out.
Angel's Belleville, Illinois-based lawyer, Alvin C. Paulson, said he’s not sure all 525 Does are in Missouri, but believes most are.
"It's not different from being charged with theft," Paulson told the Times. "If you go to court and you have an alibi, then you shouldn't be prosecuted for the crime. But I can tell you most of the time, it's someone in the household who did the illegal downloading."
Paulson was contacted by XBIZ but did not comment by post time.
A copy of the complaint can be read here.