So, you're being sued for piracy

What's that? You just got a letter asking for money because you downloaded a movie? Here's what you should do.

By Sarah Jacobsson Purewal, PC World |  Networking, piracy

If you have illegally downloaded files, and you are primarily concerned with the financial costs you might incur, it may be in your best interest to settle. Copyright trolls usually ask for between $1000 and $3000, and the minimum fine for statutory damages for files is $750. If you've downloaded more than a couple of files, you could wind up with a hefty fine if you go to court--not including the court fees

So, You're Being Sued

Let's say you decided not to settle, and now someone is taking you to court. Here's what you can do.

1. If you haven't yet contacted an attorney, definitely do that now. If you cannot afford an attorney, consider looking for a pro bono attorney or contacting a local law school. Many law-school teams--including those of Harvard, the University of Maine, University of New Hampshire, and the University of San Francisco--have helped out with file-sharing cases.

2. Don't ignore being served, because if you fail to show up in court, you will automatically lose. You have 30 days to respond to a lawsuit.

That said, automatically losing may be cheaper than showing up: In 2009, four defendants who failed to appear were fined the minimum statutory damages of $750 per song. Each of the four had downloaded around ten songs, which meant that they owed the record labels around $7500. While that isn't cheap, it's certainly better than $675,000 or $1.92 million, which is what the defendants who did appear in court that year were fined.

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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