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Old 19 Jul 2011, 05:07 PM   #1
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Default 70 Year Old Grandma Sued For Downloading Porn Via BitTorrent

As part of the adult entertainment industry's blitz on piracy, law firms representing porn studios have sued a 70 year old grandmother, who is accused of downloading porn via BitTorrent networks.

In a tactic that has become standard for copyright law firms, particularly ones involved with the adult industry, a warning letter was sent to Jane (as in Jane Doe) threatening to make her name public, as well as facing fines of up to $150,000, if she did not immediately pay up $3,400, via her credit card, to settle the case.

Talking the San Francisco Gate, Jane also feels that this "smacked of extortion", and the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Matt Zimmerman agrees. "It puts these defendants in a tough spot, especially with the coercive element of the porn allegation," he added.

And when the law firm sending out these notices, Steele Hansmeier PLLC, phoned her and she told them she was unaware of such activities, or even what a "torrent" was, and that perhaps her possibly unsecured wireless router was the cause, the firm formally replied that this was no excuse.

"There is no legal doctrine that says you're responsible for what somebody else does on your Internet connection," argues Zimmerman, who is a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

John Steele, partner at Steele Hansmeier PLLC, is unconvinced. In an earlier interview, Steele said that leaving a Wi-Fi router unsecured is akin to leaving a loaded gun in reach of a 3-year-old child.

For Jane's part, she's willing to take her chances in court, and hope the judge can see reason. "I'd say to the judge, 'I have no idea how this happened,' " she said. "If Sony can get hacked, if the Pentagon can get hacked, my goodness, what chance does an individual have?"
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