The Electronic Frontier Foundation is continuing to battle an emerging phenomenon known in some legal circles as “copyright trolls,” companies that have been set up to abuse copyright law to pressure individuals suspected of copyright infringement into monetary settlements.
The digital rights group on Friday filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging a federal district court in Washington, D.C. to dismiss a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against two individuals by a company called U.S. Copyright Group.
The two people are among the 16,000 that have been sued by the U.S. Copyright Group, according to the EFF. The individuals have been sued for illegally downloading movies such as “Far Cry” and “The Hurt Locker.”
But the two on whose behalf the EFF filed the brief are not located in Washington, D.C. and nor are the two entities whose copyrights are at issue.
“Imagine being accused of something and threatened with a huge court judgment, but in order to defend yourself you had to hire a lawyer thousands of miles away,” said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn in a statement. “Wouldn’t you be tempted to pay a smaller settlement to make it go away, even if you were innocent? That’s what we think USCG is counting on.”
The EFF has also taken on a case against another company in Las Vegas, Nevada called Righthaven that has employed a similar legal strategy against individuals. Their lawsuits concern the posting of full versions of newspaper articles on blogs and web sites.