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FAQ for Bittorrent Cases: Or, “I got a letter from my ISP and…”

3.    What happens if I just ignore it?

This real answer to this question depends solely on the nature of the case, what Plaintiff’s lawyer you are dealing with, what state you are located in, and in what state the action to reveal your identity is located. 

Some better and/or smaller ISPs have strict administrators who do not like these actions, and will hire attorneys to file objections to the action, without you ever doing anything.  Sometimes, your ISP has already filed an objection to the action and lost, and this is the only reason you are receiving the letter notifying you of the action.

If you ignore it, you can expect for the Plaintiff’s lawyers to obtain your information eventually.  You can then expect contact from the Plaintiff’s lawyers demanding a settlement.  They will and have used e-mail, fax, phone, UPS, regular postal service, and any other communication tool you make available.

4.    But I didn’t do this, and I don’t know who did.  I had unpassworded Wi-Fi, neighbors, roommates, sons, daughters, etc. at my house.

All of these are valid defenses.  For these defenses to work, you would need to have your day in court. A Plaintiff’s lawyer might say that they do not want to try and extort money from innocent people, but the truth is that they are too busy to care and the people actually doing the collecting do not care what stands between them and a check.

If the case referenced is not in the state where you are located, (lately typically Florida or D.C.) then you probably can wait safely until your identity is revealed and then wait for a demand letter or nasty phone call to come.

Hold off on telling the Plaintiff’s lawyers anything regarding your situation.  Do not contact them without an attorney, or if you do contact them without an attorney, do not bother defending yourself or engaging in any sort of discussions outside of how much they want.

If you do not want to pay their settlement amount, do not communicate with the Plaintiff or the Plaintiff’s lawyers without an attorney.  Do not divulge these defenses, and do not make statements without communicating through an attorney.

Defenses to these sorts of actions do vary by state.  Different states have different regulations when it comes to the actions of minors, and many different factors come into play.  This is why an attorney in your state is important.

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