By Mikal E. Belicove|For entrepreneur.com|December 29, 2011
Days before Christmas, a New York glass installer who admitted he uploaded an unfinished copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine to the Internet, received a one-year sentence in federal prison from a U.S. District Court judge who termed his actions “extremely serious.”
It’s a sad story for Gilbert Sanchez, the glass installer, but what, you ask, does this have to do with my company or start-up? Let’s suppose for a moment that instead of installing glass, Sanchez worked for you and, rather than uploading the movie from his home, he did so using his work computer and your company’s Internet connection. This circumstance may carry implications for businesses.
Recently, a raft of lawsuits have appeared accusing thousands of individuals of illegally uploading and downloading materials in violation of U.S. copyright laws. Attorneys for film companies — including one Los Angeles plaintiff that sued more than 5,800 individuals for downloading one particular adult film — file many of these suits.
OK, so you probably won’t see many of these films at the Academy Awards celebration in February, but the plaintiffs in these lawsuits are hell-bent on collecting settlements from a large number of individual defendants. They’re in the process of issuing subpoenas to Internet service providers to obtain the name and address of individual subscribers — including businesses — to pursue mass settlements.
The question is, what do you do if your company is subpoenaed as a result of…
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