Over 600 Oregonians were facing copyright infringement charges for illegally downloading a Steven Seagal movie before a federal judge kicked out the case, according to Oregon Live. The defendants started receiving word of the case in March, at which time they were told that their only option was to each pay a $7,500 settlement.
However, Judge Ann Aiken of the U.S. District Court of Oregon nipped that option in the bud when she let the 615 defendants off scot-free by dismissing the case. Judge Aiken kicked out the file-sharing case on the grounds that the defendants’ copyright infringement lawsuits were improperly lumped together by Salem lawyer Carl Crowell on behalf of Voltage Pictures in Los Angeles. Aiken said the case could proceed against the first defendant, but that Crowell would have to file individual lawsuits against each of the other defendants for their cases to proceed.
Judge Aiken cited differences, such as the dates the defendants downloaded the movie and where they lived, as being too many for them to be joined. It should be noted that Aiken also made mention of the fact that by joining the defendants, Crowell avoided paying $215,250 in court filing fees, instead only paying $1,400.
“The underlying message here is that Oregon’s judiciary is not going to be duped,” said Kelly Rupp, a Wilsonville lawyer representing Emily Orlando, who was named in the suit. “They have educated themselves, taking a stance on using the legal process to advance nefarious objectives.”
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