$7,000 Fine for Sharing “WordPress For Dummies” on BitTorrent

A New York federal court has ordered a rare default judgment in favor of John Wiley & Sons, one of the world’s largest book publishers. Robert Carpenter from Poughkeepsie, New York, has been ordered to pay the publisher $7,000 in damages for sharing a copy of "WordPress All-in-One For Dummies" on BitTorrent. According to Judge William Pauley, the man is guilty of both copyright and trademark infringement.

bittorrent for dummiesLast fall, John Wiley and Sons became the first book publisher to go after BitTorrent users in the US. And the publisher didn’t stop at just one.

In recent months Wiley has filed more than a dozen mass BitTorrent lawsuits involving a few hundred John Doe defendants in total.

The Does are all accused of sharing digital copies of titles including “Hacking for Dummies,” “Day Trading for Dummies” and “Cooking Basics for Dummies.”

Talking to TorrentFreak, Wiley’s attorney William Dunnegan said previously that one of the main goals of the legal campaign is to obtain the personal details of the alleged infringers and offer them the opportunity to solve the matter through a settlement.

However, when a defendant is unresponsive to the settlement offer, Wiley is prepared to go a step further.

Earlier this year the book publisher named several defendants in an updated complaint, and one has now been ordered to compensate Wiley for sharing a copy of “WordPress All-in-One For Dummies” on BitTorrent.

Judge William Pauley entered a default judgement of $7,000 in damages against Robert Carpenter, who failed to respond to the allegations. The man from Poughkeepsie, New York, has been found guilty of a unique combination of both copyright and trademark infringement.

To our knowledge, this is the first time that sharing files on BitTorrent has been viewed as counterfeiting, a description that’s usually reserved for fake goods sold as the real deal.

For the copyright violations Carpenter has to pay $5,000 in damages plus another $2,000 for the counterfeiting. This is relatively mild compared to the allowed maximum statutory damages of $150,000 Wiley asked for.

“Judgement shall be entered in favor of Wiley and against Carpenter for damages in the amount of $7,000, representing $5,000 in statutory damages pursuant to 17 U.S.C 504 (c) for Carpenter’s infringement of Wiley’s copyright, and $2,000 in statutory damages pursuant to 17 U.S.C 504 (c) for Carpenter’s counterfeiting of Wiley’s Trademarks,” Judge Pauley writes.

Thus far Wiley has enjoyed a relatively easy ride in court. In several cases the New York federal court has allowed the book publisher to subpoena Internet providers for the personal details of account holders.

This means that aside from the $7,000 in damages from Carpenter, the book publisher may have raked in more than a million dollars though private settlements. Private settlements are usually around $3,000 per person, which quickly adds up with hundreds of defendants.

TorrentFreak asked Wiley for a comment on the outcome of the case but we have yet to hear back.

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