Monday, September 17th 2012
News: Century Media Records
Bad news if you are one of the 7,000 individuals who recently shared albums by Lacuna Coil and Iced Earth on the internet without permission from Century Media. You are being sued in a New Jersey court of law. According to Northjersey.com, Century Media (as well as independent film makers and some smut peddlers) have filed lawsuits in the Garden State against individuals who shared files they did not have permission to share via BitTorrent.
Currently there are two joint suits collectively targeting 3,136 defendants who shared the latest Lacuna Coil record Dark Adrenaline. Four civil complaints are pending against 4,327 metal fans who shared the 2011 Iced Earth album Dystopia. For all suits, the defendants have been accused of participating in a cyberspace “swarm” via BitTorrent. Since 2010 a quarter of a million BitTorrent users have been sued in Federal Courts across America for possible copyright violation. Where large suits have targeted those who shared such major motion pictures as The Hurt Locker and The Expendables, the suits brought forth by Century Media have a new legal twist.
Where lawyers and judges have debated if large numbers of individuals spread far and wide can be named in a single suit, these particular complaints not only name the individual parties as defendants, they also name the particular swarm from a specific date sharing a specific copyrighted work.
Jay R. McDaniel is one of the New Jersey lawyers behind the lawsuits. McDaniel’s told Northjersey.com that “because we believe that the swarm — that is the network of users — is capable of being sued as an entity, and the entity has a physical presence in New Jersey in the form of the various equipment that its New Jersey resident users are using to further the operations of the swarm.”
McDaniel has also filed expedited disclosure of the defendants’ identities as well as an order restraining them from continuing to copy or distribute the protected works. However two separate U.S. District Judges have rejected these filings as a result of concerns raised by judges in similar cases that the widespread use of wireless routers today makes it less certain that the internet subscriber cited in a suit actually engaged in an illegal download.
As with numerous past cases of entertainment companies versus alleged pirates, these cases do not appear to be about the overall goal of fighting infringement as much as they are about squeezing a settlement out of the accused.
So the question remains will these various claims ever see a court room? Will Iced Earth and Lacuna Coil convince Century Media to withdraw the suits much like All Shall Perish did earlier this year? With reports of numerous defendants already receiving letters from McDaniel’s we shall find out soon enough.