US Online Piracy Lawsuits Break Record Numbers

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Copyright cases in the United States are dominated by two companies which are generally unknown to the public at large. This year alone, Malibu Media and Strike 3 Holdings have filed more than 1,700 lawsuits, breaking a new file-sharing lawsuit record in the most recent quarter.

While the major entertainment conglomerates are mainly focusing on streaming piracy, the US courts are still overloaded with BitTorrent related lawsuits.

In Europe, there is a fair amount of pushback against these so-called “copyright trolling” efforts, even from Internet providers.

In the United States, however, they barely make the news anymore yet the number of lawsuits is steeply on the rise.

Data collected by TorrentFreak from court records all over the country shows that in the first half of the year, more than 1,700 separate lawsuits were filed. The majority of these cases list a single ‘John Doe’ defendant.

This number is a significant jump compared to last year. According to Lex Machina, there were 1,019 file-sharing cases filed in the United States in 2017, which has already been exceeded during the first six months of 2018.

In fact, the last quarter appears to have set a new record, with 1,011 new cases between April and June. This exceeds the previous record of 902 new cases, which dates back to the first quarter of 2015.

While the numbers are rising rapidly, these lawsuits are still driven by a few players, mainly from the adult industry. In fact, nearly all of the cases were filed by just two companies, Malibu Media and Strike 3 Holdings.

Malibu Media (X-Art) has been an established player in the area for a few years. It’s among the most active filers again this year, with 681 cases in the first six months.

There is, however, a new contender for the crown. Strike 3 Holdings, which distributes its adult videos via the Blacked, Tushy, and Vixen websites, has filed 976 cases during the same period.

While Strike 3 Holdings is a relative newcomer, its cases follow a similar pattern. There are also clear links to Malibu Media, as one of the company’s former lawyers, Emilie Kennedy, now works as in-house counsel at Strike 3.

A few cases from Strike 3 Holdings

The only non-adult copyright holder that filed cases against alleged BitTorrent pirates was Bodyguard Productions. The company filed a few dozen cases against downloaders of The Hitman’s Bodyguard. These cases typically include a list of multiple ‘John Doe’ defendants.

This means that the typical file-sharing lawsuits in the US are dominated by two adult entertainment companies, who together have filed more than half of all copyright lawsuits in the country this year. That’s including the non-filesharing cases.

The drastic rise in new lawsuits was already noticeable earlier this year. While it’s a significant change, the outcome of these lawsuits doesn’t change.

The ultimate goal still appears to be to identify the account holder of the suspected IP-address and settle the case out of court for a few hundred or thousands dollars. And judging from the influx of cases this year, this scheme is still rather lucrative.

The data reported in this article were manually sourced from Pacer. We strive to be as accurate as possible but improvements are welcomed. We counted all the cases listed by the companies mentioned.


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