Posted by Sequel on May 8, 2014
Topic: blogs, Copyrights
Tags: Copyright Trolling
“Copyright Troll” Business Model Case Heard Before DC Appellate Court

In a rare event, The DC Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the middle of April in AF Holdings v. Does 1-1058, a case centered on what has become known as the “copyright troll business model.”

These are cases brought by copyright holders which attempt to join together in a single action hundreds or thousands of potential infringers who are known only by their IP addresses. The copyright owner requests that the court order the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to reveal the names of the owners of those IP addresses it has sued as Does.

In this case, the lower court sidestepped the question of whether all of the alleged infringers could be gathered together in one lawsuit because it said until one of the Does came into court to complain of the burden placed on him or her, it had nothing on which to rule.

Several friend-of-the-court briefs were filed in the case, including notably one by the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF). These briefs claim that the business model in question essentially results in substantial numbers of the Does paying nuisance settlements due only to the burden of having to travel to a court outside their residence area to defend the charges.

An EFF report of the hearing said, “we are encouraged that the judges asked the important and thoughtful questions, and clearly understood both the context and implications of their decision.”

A ruling is expected this summer.

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