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EFF Launches Resource Page to Help Mass P2P Lawsuit Targets


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Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) new "US Copyright Group v. The People" page is "intended to help those sued learn about the claims made against them, explore possible defenses and most importantly, to help those sued find legal counsel to assist them."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has been at the forefront of public interest groups lining up to help the tens of thousands of BitTorrent users and counting who've found themselves the target of a copyright infringement lawsuit at the hands of the US Copyright Group.

The Washington DC-based law firm first targeted more than 20,000 BitTorrent users that it alleges illegally distributed either of the independent movies "Steam Experiment," "Far Cry," "Uncross the Stars," "Gray Man," or "Call of the Wild 3D." A few months later it then convinced the producers of the Academy Award-winning movie "The Hurt Locker," likely miffed at dismal box office ticket sales, to join their venture which offers the accused quick $2500 settlements to avoid risking much larger judgments for copyright infringement at trial.

The EFF began compiling a list of attorneys willing to help those accused, and later teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Public Citizen to file amicus briefs with judges in Washington DC asking them to quash subpoenas submitted by the US Copyright Group. They argued the USCG has yet to prove that courts there even have jurisdiction over the John Doe defendants that the subpoenas are supposed to identify.

Now the EFF is further trying to help people ensnared in this mass P2P lawsuit by launching a resource page dedicated to "help those sued learn about the claims made against them, explore possible defenses and most importantly, to help those sued find legal counsel to assist them."

"The people targeted in these mass lawsuits need good information about this situation and their options," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "USCG vs. the People provides answers to the many of the questions faced by anyone who learns their identity is being sought in connection with USCG's campaign or receives an intimidating letter from USCG. It also includes a list of attorneys who are interested in assisting."

It says that it believes the USCG is abusing copyright laws in order to extract quick paydays from people with limited financial resources and means to defend themselves of the charges in court.

"EFF has been concerned about USCG's lawsuit campaign since it first came to light this past spring," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "USCG has ignored or sidestepped basic legal protections granted to all defendants. We believe it is misusing the lopsided nature of copyright law, which was written largely to target commercial infringers, to shake out settlements from ordinary people with few resources to defend themselves."

It was revealed late last month that the USCG was gearing up for a new phase of its mass lawsuit efforts by reportedly enlisting the help of some 15 law firms around the country to begin filing individual lawsuits against people in their respective areas who have refused to settle out court.

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