Thousands of individuals receiving settlement offers from US lawyers following allegations that they shared movies such as Hurt Locker are being offered other opportunities to deal with the problem. Today the EFF launched its ‘Subpoena Defense List’ which shows lawyers across the States prepared to defend letter recipients. Another company is even suggesting it can reduce settlement amounts.
Many thousands of Internet subscribers across the US are currently facing the prospect of being accused of illegally sharing movies such as Far Cry, The Chaos Experiment, Uncross The Stars, The Gray Man, Call of the Wild and Hurt Locker.
The subscribers receive a settlement offer from U.S. Copyright Group/Dunlap Grubb which states that for an immediate payment of $1,500 the whole thing can be made to go away. A delay in digging deep will cost a further $1,000 bringing the settlement total to $2,500. Those who chose to take the issue to court could, its warned, face huge bills in excess of $150,000.
TorrentFreak has received many emails from people concerned about this situation, many of them asking for advice, so it’s a welcome development that today the EFF has published a list of attorneys that could help advise and possibly represent subpoena targets.
“The attorneys on the Subpoena Defense list are not affiliated with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and by offering their names, EFF does not intend to endorse their services,” the group notes, adding, “Fees are negotiable on a case by case basis.”
According to CNet, there is another company also getting in on the action.
Arizona law firm White Berberian is claiming that it will enter into negotiations on behalf of settlement recipients in order to get the amount claimed reduced.
“Once you retain our law firm, we contact the Plaintiff and aggressively negotiate the best possible resolution,” the firm says on its website. “While we cannot guarantee a particular outcome, if we cannot negotiate a settlement better than what Plaintiff offered, we will refund your money.”
That’s right, White Berberian want money too, $249 to be precise.
The company didn’t respond to a request for comment, which leaves important questions unanswered. Does their offer to negotiate a settlement mean that letter recipients have to admit guilt at this early stage and if so how would that prejudice any future case?
One thing is certain though. While the makers of the movies in question will be making money from these threats, it is the legal profession – as usual – that is making the really big money.