USCG v. The People

This page provides resources to assist those sued by the U.S. Copyright Group
aka SaveCinema.org aka the lawfirm of Dunlap Grubb & Weaver

Background

Starting in the Spring of 2010, a Washington D.C. law firm calling itself the "U.S. Copyright Group" (USCG) launched a series of predatory lawsuits naming thousands of alleged BitTorrent users. The lawsuits claim copyright infringement specifically that those sued illegally downloaded independent movies such as "Far Cry" and "The Hurt Locker." The lawsuits follow the model of those filed by the RIAA starting in 2003. They begin by suing unnamed John Does, then seek to subpoena the ISPs of users in order to obtain their identities and sue the individuals themselves.

Once the user's identity is known, USCG's strategy appears to be to threaten a judgment of up to $150,000 per downloaded movie -- the maximum penalty allowable by law in copyright suits and a very unlikely judgment in cases arising from a single noncommercial infringement -- in order to pressure the alleged infringers to settle quickly for $1,500 to $2,500 per person.

UPDATE: The judge in two of the USCG cases has dismissed many of the defendants though thousands more remain.

EFF's Concerns

EFF has been concerned about the lawsuits since the initial strategies chosen by the firm ignored key legal safeguards for protecting individuals' rights. Because of this concern EFF along with the ACLU and Public Citizen filed amicus briefs raising the legal issues of joinder personal jurisdiction and USCG's failure to comply with the First Amendment tests for requiring ISPs to identify anonymous customers.

The resources gathered below are intended to help those sued learn about the claims made against them, explore possible defenses and most importantly, find legal counsel to assist them.

General Resources

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