BitTorrent users sighed a breath of relief when Miami judge Marc Schumacher issued an order to protect them from mass-lawsuits filed by copyright holders. Unfortunately, this lasted a few days since the judge signed the order by mistake.
The judge said users that share content using BitTorrent clients have the constitutional right to remain anonymous, which effectively suspends all BitTorrent lawsuits filled in Florida state courts.
Copyright holders such as film companies used a legal loophole that allowed them to sue users without having to provide any evidence. An example cited by judge Marc Schumacher was between movie studio Boy Racer and 615 anonymous BitTorrent users.
Marc Schumacher said:
[These suits are].. used to extort settlements from defendants who are neither subject to the courts’ personal jurisdiction nor guilty of copyright infringement, but who are fearful of the consequences of being publicly named as a defendant in a suit that seeks disclosure of the contents of their personal computers.
Four days later, this order was vacated, which is expected to open the door again for more lawsuits. It’s a bad news for BitTorrent users, but it’s not the end for them. Judge Schumacher signed this landmark order by mistake claiming that he thought that all parties agreed on it.
Photo Credit: NZZ