Someone used my Business IP address unknowingly to use Bit Torrent and the company may be served in a civil lawsuit

Asked over 1 year ago - Denver, CO

The company computer, nor any computer in my home have or have had any of the "supposed" downloads on them. Someone used my IP unknown to me. I have never heard of the movie that was downloaded and have never used or am aware of Bit Torrent. Don't they have to prove that it is on my computer to sue the company?

Attorney answers (6)

  1. John E. Whitaker

    Contributor Level 16

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    Answered . So, first, the direct answer to your question is no, they don't have to prove that the file is on your computer to sue the company. They have to believe that the file is on your computer to sue the company. The lawsuit is a formal opportunity for them to try and prove that the file is (or was) on your computer. If they *believe* the file is on your computer, then can sue the company. If they *prove* the file is on your computer, they can win the suit. If they *can't prove* the file is (or was) on your computer, they will lose the suit.

    So the question becomes, are they willing to move forward with the suit and *try* to prove that the file is on your computer. If this company is like all the others, it is highly unlikely that they will actually try to move forward and prove something after you deny it. That said, they might.

    Either way, that is what the litigation process is for. They say something. You say something else. The Court figures out who's right.

    Good luck. I know some very good lawyers in Colorado who work in this area.

    Answers and information provided here does not create an attorney/client relationship.
  2. Leonard John French Jr.

    Contributor Level 10

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    Answered . It's the other way around. They sue the company and then they have to prove it.

    In your case, they may be hoping that you're the infringer or that you'll pay up to make it go away.

    Either way, you'll need a Colorado attorney to help you determine what your options are. In most cases, you are not responsible for someone else's copyright infringement.

    Best.

  3. Pamela Koslyn

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . And how do you know this use occurred? I'm wondering if you do know more than you claim to know, and if you think that deleting the illegally downloaded movie will exonerate you. Usually copyright owners sue first, and then issue subpoenas to find out the IP address of the illegal downloaders so they can serve them with their lawsuit, and the ISps in turn send notices to their customers that their names/addresses have been subpoenaed. So if you didn't actually download this movie and haven't actually been served with a subpoena (and notice from the ISP), I don't know how you could know this.

    Some of these suits have been dismissed since they target downloaders of porn movies and the lawyers try shaking down the downloaders for a few thousand dollars so they can avoid the embarrassment of being accused of downloading porn, whether it's true or not. Some are suits by legit movie producers such as those responsible for "Hurt Locker," which won Oscars but didn't make a lot of money at the box office so the producers are trying to compensate for that by using the legal system to chase freeloaders.

    Anyway, as my colleagues suggestion that you hire a lawyer is good. Seek one who's licensed in the state and located in the city near the court listed on the subpoena.

    Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to... more
  4. Philip Leon Marcus

    Contributor Level 16

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    Answered . Probably half the people who are threatened or actually sued (often as John Does) did not do a download. They did not password protect their Wi-Fi routers and a neighbor did the infringement using their router.

    But you cannot wholly ignore this threatening letter because you may get a judgment against you, a big one. Get a lawyer to look over the papers you have and give you advice. And secure your router now.

    Licensed in Maryland with offices in Maryland and Oregon. Information here is general, does not create a lawyer-... more
  5. Maurice N Ross

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . You have received excellent advice. I would add that the law in this area is unsettled. For example, courts disagree as to whether someone who allows visitors to his business to use an business IP address can be held liable if his invitee used the business address to illegally download copyrighted materials. When you sign up for internet in a hotel, you have agree to accept terms of use pursuant to which you agree you won't engage in copyright infringement and will indemnify the hotel from liability and attorneys' fees in the event you do. Anyone company that allows outsiders to use its business IP address would be wise to develop terms of use that require any one provided access (by password or otherwise) to represent that they will not violate copyright law and will indemnify the business if they do so. I have recently begun to say significant copyright suits against building owners, landlords, restaurants, bars and other public places that allow customers access to internet service. This is an exploding area of the law---and you better get yourself an experienced intellectual property lawyer to defend you. The copyright trolls have figured out how to go up against businesses rather than individuals and they are on the warpath.

  6. Bruce E. Burdick

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    2

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    Answered . NO, of course not, they can sue a monkey for a banana if they want. And they likely have certain proof the movie in question was downloaded through your modem (they have the IP address and time and content all pegged). That's good enough to sue, but may not be good enough to win, depending on who they sue, for what, under what cause of action, and where. You can't just ignore this or you will spend lots more. You need to get a copyright defense attorney to fight it. I am sure several will respond to your question. Call any of us.

    I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is... more

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