Could You Fall Prey to a Copyright Troll?
You’ve heard of internet trolls — individuals who start arguments or upset people online by posting inflammatory or digressive content. But have you heard of copyright trolls?
A relatively recent phenomenon, a copyright troll is a person or company that enforces copyrights they have purchased in order to make money through litigation. Typically, a copyright troll did not produce the product or service for which they own the copyright license; they’re merely interested in using aggressive litigation to target large numbers of copyright infringers as a means of making profit. Get the facts on how copyright trolls operate and who they target.
Copyright Trolls’ Modus Operandi
Copyright troll groups have filed a number of copyright infringement lawsuits against individuals in recent years. Two such groups, U.S. Copyright Group and Righthaven, filed predatory lawsuits implicating thousands of defendants and subpoenaed their identities from their Internet Service Providers. Once the copyright trolls had the defendants’ identities, they threatened lawsuits of up to $150,000 for each movie downloaded illegally. This pressured the defendants to quickly settle for a much lesser amount — about $2,000 per person.
Neither copyright enforcement group creates, produces, or distributes any content themselves. They made money by squeezing a couple thousand dollars out of the defendants they sued. While most cases have been dismissed, many still remain, and copyright troll groups continue to scour the internet looking for ways to make a quick buck off unsuspecting internet users.
Who Do Copyright Trolls Target?
Copyright trolls seem to target as many people as they can find who downloaded something illegally. U.S. Copyright Group, for example, has implicated over 14,000 individuals in their lawsuits. There does not seem to be a clear link between defendants; indeed, it’s likely copyright troll groups make their money with this sort of “one size fits all” approach.
Facing a Copyright Lawsuit? Hire Quality Representation
If you’re facing a copyright or trademark charge, you may be prosecuted on a federal level. At the law offices of Nicholas Lotito and Seth Kirschenbaum, our attorneys are former federal prosecutors and know firsthand how federal investigations proceed. Our team consults with forensic accountant experts to determine the real value of items in copyright infringement, and we’re prepared to fight for you.
To speak with a lawyer about copyright infringement allegations, contact Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum, former federal prosecutors, at (404) 471-3177 for a free consultation today!