Protecting copyrights, trademarks and other forms of intellectual property is important for businesses and creators. Without protections for the things they create, companies and artists have less incentive to produce items for the public to consume.
By creating protections that promote the ownership of the individuals who create original works or concepts, the federal government helps encourage creativity and art. Still, the government won’t enforce those intellectual property rights. That job falls to the person who has the rights. Lawsuits are a common means for companies to push back against individuals who violate their copyrights or intellectual property rights.
Intellectual property lawsuits can happen to anyone who downloads
Some of the most famous lawsuits that fall into this category would include major lawsuits against teenagers for downloading music off of platforms like Napster and LimeWire. There have also been lawsuits against those who download movies and other digital products.
Those who infringe upon the intellectual property of others may have to pay penalties, especially if they profit off of that activity. However, the vast majority of copyright infringement that happens in the United States occurs online by individuals who want to consume media without paying for it.
In recent years, there has been a massive uptick in the number of enforcement efforts by movie companies, specifically pornographic film companies, in fighting against digital downloading. Thankfully, the court systems seem to be getting tired of these somewhat frivolous lawsuits, with judges and attorneys starting to call out pornographic film companies for questionable practices.
Companies may file suit against dozens of people simultaneously
Several modern porn companies have realized that customers are downloading their videos off of BitTorrent instead of paying full price to view them. The companies have responded by filing huge numbers of lawsuits against John Does associated with a unique IP addresses.
Some of these companies have filed hundreds of lawsuits in any given month. However, legal experts have begun to question whether these lawsuits are a real attempt at enforcing a trademark or just an attempt to make money.
Some people have even argued that the lawsuits could be part of a larger business model since the companies seem to be spending more of their time and money on pursuing litigation than on producing unique and valuable works of art. Instead of fighting the piracy, they are just trying to punish the Pirates and profit off of their legal blunders.
Anyone accused of legal downloading has rights
Fighting an illegal downloading allegation is complicated in part because it won’t involve criminal charges. A company will bring a civil lawsuit against you, which can make it hard for you to defend yourself.
In a civil lawsuit, you don’t have the same rights to representation that you would have in a criminal case. Still, you have the right to defend yourself and your financial stability from allegations of illegal downloading.