TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Grandpa Gets Sued Over Grandson's Downloads From Net

Grandpa Gets Sued Over Grandson's Downloads From Net

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal (
Wed, 2 Nov 2005 20:02:21 -0600

A 67-year-old man who says he doesn't even like watching movies has
been sued by the film industry for copyright infringement after a
grandson of his downloaded four movies on the family computer.

The Motion Picture Association of America filed a federal lawsuit
Tuesday against Fred Lawrence of Racine, seeking as much as $600,000
in damages for downloading four movies over the Internet file-sharing
service iMesh.

The suit was filed after Lawrence refused a March offer to settle the
matter by paying $4,000.

"First of all, like I say, I guess I'd have to plead being naive about
the whole thing," he said.

"I personally didn't do it, and I wouldn't do it. But I don't think it
was anything but an innocent mistake my grandson made."

Lawrence said his grandson, who was then 12, downloaded "The
Incredibles," "I, Robot," "The Grudge," and "The Forgotten" in
December, without knowing it was illegal to do so.

The Racine man said his grandson downloaded the movies out of
curiosity, and deleted the computer files immediately. The family
already owned three of the four titles on DVD, he said.

"I can see where they wouldn't want this to happen, but when you get
up around $4,000 ... I don't have that kind of money," Lawrence
said. "I never was and never will be a wealthy person."

Kori Bernards, vice president of corporate communications for MPAA,
said the movie industry wants people to understand the consequences of
Internet piracy. She said the problem is the movies that were
downloaded were then available to thousands of other users on the
iMesh network.

"Basically what you are doing when you use peer-to-peer software is
you are offering someone else's product that they own to thousands of
other people for free, and it's not fair," Bernards said.

Illegal downloading costs the movie industry an estimated $5.4 billion a
year, she said.

Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

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