Judge rules file sharing is not a "conspiracy"

A US federal judge has told Big Content to sling its hook in its latest attempt to bring in copyright trolling campaigns.

Several copyright holders tried to get ISPs to hand over the identifying information of numerous customers without actually filing copyright lawsuits against them – on the basis that it was all part of a conspiracy.

The litigators are trying to get around the fact that judges aren’t happy with allowing mass lawsuits, so what they are doing is taking one internet user to court but using that lawsuit as a pretext to subpoena other defendants who had participated in the same BitTorrent swarm.

The plaintiffs in these lawsuits claim that the other users had participated in a “conspiracy” to assist one another in distributing particular copyrighted works.

James Holderman of the Northern District of Illinois raised his eyebrow in disgust at this trick, saying that it was trying to get around the “stiffening judicial headwind.”

He said that conspiracy charges require evidence of an agreement among the purported conspirators and the fact tht several BitTorrent users’ computers communicated with one another does not constitute a conspiracy among the users.

Holderman pointed out that BitTorrent users remain anonymous to other BitTorrent users, and have no connection to them beyond the mere fact that they downloaded the same file.

Ars Technica pointed out that judges are starting to get a bit antsy at the copyright trolls – and if they had any sense they would pack it in.