My sister in law recently found herself the victim of a "legal" scam. She was accused of downloading a pornographic movie and then terrorized by unethical lawyers representing the porno companies. In reality, the lawyers (commonly known as "copyright trolls") created this "business plan" to make money via settlements (or as some people call it, extortion). The trolls harvest IP addresses and subpoena the courts to gain the personal information of whomever happens to pay the bill for said IP address. Once the trolls have the "john doe's" name and phone number they contact them and threaten a federal lawsuit and possibly having to pay $150,000 - BUT- they (the trolls) can make it all go away if we will just pay them a small settlement fee of $3000 (the settlement offer changes but is usually just under what it would cost for a John Doe to pay an attorney to defend them).
Over 200,000 citizens have been accused similarly. The trolls rarely actually served John Does with a summons (because they are in the business of collecting settlements, not litigating which costs them money). Judges began questioning this so the trolls have started naming a small percentage of John Does who do not cave to their scare tactics. My sil was one of the unlucky few to receive a summons and be forced to hire a defense attorney.
She has never used bit-torrent software and has never downloaded any porno movies so she chose to fight and not "feed the trolls". The problem is, defending yourself in a civil suit is expensive (you only get a "free" lawyer if it's a criminal case), in civil cases you seem to be "guilty until you prove your innocence".
I originally started this fundraiser to help raise money for her defense. About a month into the hearings the "plaintiff" decided to voluntarily dismiss the charge against her. We have decided that ALL FUNDS RAISED WILL BE USED TO FIGHT THIS INJUSTICE (funding the websites, helping other innocent John Does, perhaps a class action lawsuit, etc. we are open to suggestions).
Nearly 250,000 citizens have been victims of this, it could easily happen to you or a loved one if people don't start fighting back. We want to help by bringing awareness. There are some great websites to read more on this, visit "fightcopyrighttrolls.com" or "dietrolldie.com"