Downloading media through a torrent network, such as BitTorrent, is a relatively common practice, especially among young people. However, many of the people sharing or downloading files online could be in violation of copyright law. Those who download files online often seem to believe that copyright infringement for personal use likely won't result in any legal consequences.
That belief seems to be self-serving, as there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Filmmakers have taken action repeatedly against those who illegally download their works. There are also the Napster lawsuits of the aughts to consider. Individuals who lose intellectual property lawsuits could find themselves ordered to pay tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to the plaintiff.
Lawsuits related to digital intellectual property issues are increasingly common, which means you could find yourself facing serious consequences via a lawsuit from the company or individual who owns that content. Anyone facing a civil lawsuit related to BitTorrent or downloading copyrighted materials should carefully examine their options.
For some people, a settlement is the simplest solution
You might find yourself hoping that the problem might just resolve itself. After all, how can a big company really prove that you yourself are responsible for an act of copyright infringement? The truth is that everything you do online leaves a footprint. There could even still be records of the download on your hard drive, even if the file itself is no longer there.
Some people believe they won't face consequences because they use a variety of IP addresses. Others use public network and assume that that will provide them with a degree of anonymity. However, regardless of how careful you are with your online actions, it is likely possible for the plaintiff to prove that you downloaded their copyrighted materials.
In a situation where you don't have a reasonable defense available because of significant evidence, settling instead of going to court could mean facing fewer financial consequences and avoiding the humiliation of public court proceedings. You will definitely need help negotiating fair terms for that kind of settlement.
Defense is possible in copyright infringement lawsuits
If you did not download the files in question but believe it may have been an act committed by a family member or an unrelated roommate, this might help you in court. There are a number of ways for individuals facing allegations of intellectual property or copyright violations to defend themselves.
The only way to really know what will work in your situation is to sit down with an attorney who understands intellectual property law. BitTorrent and digital downloading lawsuits are a complicated area of law. Getting professional guidance can help you make informed decisions and mitigate the overall impact of this lawsuit on your life.