CYBERSPACE—Last week, Larry Flynt Internet Group filed a lawsuit in a Dallas federal court against 635 anonymous individuals the company says it can prove engaged in a coordinated effort to unlawfully reproduce and distribute Hustler's "copyrighted motion picture, Barely Legal School Girls: No. 6, by means of file transfer technology called, BitTorrent."
It and other recent cases of porn producers willing to target BitTorrent users reveals the increasing and unambiguous embrace of a tactic the industry has thus far by and large avoided.
Tuesday, another lawsuit was filed in Dallas by Evan Stone, the same attorney who filed on behalf of Flynt Internet, accusing 670 Does of the same offenses on behalf of Mick Haig Productions, which owns the copyright to the adult German film Der Gute Onkel.
"With [Haig's] additional 670 lawsuits, the total number of copyright complaints focusing on adult movies now totals over 2,200," reported Slyck News. The Haig and Flynt Internet cases were preceded by other notable lawsuits targeting Does, including concurrent filings by Lightspeed Media Corporation, Millennium TGA and Hard Drive Productions.
The new offensive apparently also includes an element unavailable to those in the mainstream: the embarrassment factor. According to AFP, in an article posted to Yahoo! News Saturday, "Studios are working with lawyers at Media Copyright Group and Copyright Enforcement Services on the litigation, with an initial legal barrage focused on videos touting she-males or 18-year-old girls."
The article quotes Pink Visual President Allison Vivas as saying, "It seems like it will be quite embarrassing for whichever user ends up in a lawsuit about using a popular she-male title. When it comes to private sexual fantasies and fetishes, going public is probably not worth the risk that these torrent and peer-to-peer users are taking."
The article also quotes Steve Lightspeed, founder of Lightspeed Media, who was granted an ex parte Order Sept. 15 on a motion to have the discovery phase of his case expedited, meaning the internet service providers (ISPs) the attorneys subpoenaed in order to get identifying information for John Does identified in the complaint only by IP address could be served immediately. Doe information being requested includes "name, current (and premanent) addresses, telephone number, e-mail address, and Media Access Control address." ISPs subpoenaed by Lightspeed include Comcast Cable, Bell South, RoadRinner, Verizon and Sprint, among others.
The Lightspeed Order highlights the different experience adult producers are having from that of attorneys in the massive U.S. Copyright Group lawsuit, filed in the District of Columbia against thousands of “John Doe” defendants accused of illegally downloading The Hurt Locker. This week, accordng to Ars Technica, "A federal judge in South Dakota ... quashed a US Copyright Group subpoena targeting an ISP in his state."
In the Yahoo! News article, Steve Lightspeed commented not just on the targets of his lawsuit, but also about the overall picture faced by producers of adult content.
"Piracy on the internet is much more available to the average user than it ever was," he said. "The technology has outpaced the laws. We really need to organize ourselves and lobby for a change in the law," he added, referring to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The article also mentioned the upcoming Content Protection Retreat, being put on by Pink Visual in Arizona in October.
A copy of LFP Internet Group v. Does is available here.
A copy of Lightspeed Media v. Does is available here.
A copy of Hard Drive v. Does is available here.
A copy of Millennium v. Does is availoable here.
A copy of the Lightspeed Order granting ex parte motion is here.