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October 9, 2012

US judge orders testing of IP addresses as evidence in piracy case

Judge has considered the BitTorrent-related evidence for testing in the court

By CBR Staff Writer

The Pennsylvania District Court judge in the US has ordered a ‘Bellwether trial’ to test whether or not the internet piracy allegations made by copyright firms will stand in court.

Justice Michael Baylson’s trial is expected to decide on treatment of several copyright allegations at one time by the court.

The judge has considered the BitTorrent-related evidence for testing in the court.

According to TorrentFreak, copyright holders in the US have begun thousands of mass-BitTorrent lawsuits accusing them of unlawfully downloading copyrighted material that targeted a quarter million people in the country.

US have begun mass lawsuits against thousands of individuals accusing them of illegally downloading copyrighted material via file-sharing service BitTorrent.

Experts enquired whether the copyright holders’ provision of IP address is sufficient evidence as it only detects an internet connection not an individual.

Baylson said among other things, the declaration asserts that Plaintiff has brought suit against numerous unnamed defendants simply to extort settlements, that the BitTorrent software does not work in the manner Plaintiff alleges, and that a mere subscriber to an ISP is not necessarily a copyright infringer, with explanations as to how computer-based technology would allow non-subscribers to access a particular IP address.

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"In other words, according to the declaration, there is no reason to assume an ISP subscriber is the same person who may be using BitTorrent to download the alleged copyrighted material. Similar assertions are made in memoranda filed in support of the other motions," Baylson said.

In 2011, the UK had also encountered similar incident when solicitor Andrew Crossley ordered a trial against a group of claimed illegal downloaders.

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