UIC Review of Intellectual Property Law


Tiffany Alberty


The purpose of this article is to shed light on the recent issues facing the ongoing BitTorrent copyright infringement litigation, by reflecting on district court decisions over the past ten years and analyzing two recent circuit court decisions. More specifically, this article focuses on how pornography trolls abuse the principles of copyright infringement by forcing John Doe litigants in BitTorrent to settle without fully exercising their right by trial. By using sociological tactics and pseudo-moral standards, these trolls coerce John Does to pay over thousands of dollars in settlement out of embarrassment and fear for watching the pornography that these trolls create. The article explains that there is no consistency among federal courts in this niche area of both technology and law. Therefore, there is a serious need for change due to the abusive tactics being used by copyright trolls nationwide. By limiting communication between copyright trolls and John Does, revising the statutory damages in the Copyright Act, and imposing harsher sanctions and penalties, the law can change the business model of these pornography and copyright trolls, while maintaining more control and ethical behavior in this industry.