Washington – A federal court in D.C. will hear arguments
today on whether U.S. Copyright Group can group dozens of defendants together
in its lawsuits targeting alleged downloaders of movies including "The
Hurt Locker" and "Far Cry." U.S. Copyright Group is suing some
15,000 suspected of using the BitTorrent file-sharing network to illegally
download the movies. Instead of filing separate suits, dozens of defendants
from various states have been grouped into single complaints in lawsuits filed
in D.C.

The tactic of filing multiple-defendant lawsuits was also attempted by
the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) during its litigation
campaign against file-swappers, but courts ordered the RIAA to sue defendants

The U.S. Copyright Group will argue in court that the piecemeal
nature of BitTorrent downloads — as opposed to the one-to-one computer
connection on the file-sharing networks from the RIAA lawsuits — means that
copyright infringing activity likely touched machines within D.C. at some

A group of digital rights advocates including the Electronic Frontier
Foundation (EFF), ACLU and Public Citizen filed legal briefs in the case,
asking the court to block the multi-defendant subpoenas.

The ACLU’s Aden Fine
argued that "lumping thousands of unconnected individuals into a few cases
in a court far from where they live, without providing them adequate notice and
a real opportunity to challenge the subpoenas," does not "uphold the
law and individuals’ due process rights."


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(DMW previous coverage)