Torrent users bite back at US copyright lawyers

A class action suit has been brought against the US Copyright Group (USCG) which scatter-bombed torrent users with threatening letters demanding money for downloading pirated movies.

A 96-page suit has been filed by a single plaintiff on behalf of 4,567 people accused of downloading the movie Far Cry, which alleges that USGC is guilty of "extortion, fraudulent omissions, mail fraud, wire fraud, computer fraud and abuse, racketeering, fraud upon the court, abuse of process, fraud on the Copyright Office, copyright misuse, unjust enrichment and consumer protection violations," according to Torrent Freak.

Much of the case hinges on the fact that, although the legal firm threatened victims with expensive court action if they didn't cough up the cash, it neither had the resources or the inclination to do so, and that the letters were solely intended to weasel cash settlements out of frightened individuals.

The suit also points out that, as Far Cry was registered with the Copyright Office after the movie was published, the registration was “intentionally obtained under false pretences” and subsequently used to back up “baseless threats in the demand letters.”

USCG is just one of a large number of US firms operating legally-dubious "pay-up-or-go-to-jail" schemes in the US, a model which has also been copied by several UK legal firms including ACS Law which has also found itself on the wrong end of the legal system.