Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Copyright Infringement: How Much Might I Owe?

The number one question I get asked when I get a call from someone accused of copyright infringement for downloading a movie with bittorrent is how much will this cost me? I like to respond: How long is a rope?  It depends.

In other words, it's impossible to tell how much your particular case might cost under any circumstances. It's hard to know how much the plaintiff will demand in settlement. It's hard to know how much the Judge or Jury might award if your case moved forward and you lost. It's hard to know how much it might cost you to move forward even if you win.

All that said, I'm here to help provide you with information that you can use to inform your decisions. To that end, I decided it might be helpful to try and pull together a listing of awards that judges have actually entered in several cases around the country. But just like the stock market, past performance is not a good indicator of future performance. Still, at least you have this information.

So what I started pulling together below is a list of actual awards that were entered by judges in bittorrent cases around the country. I'll try to normalize the data so that it reflects a per-title damages award. And if the award looks out of line, I'll try to include some information about why. And I'll try to update this each time I get new information. So here goes: