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Monday, 29 November 2010 09:51

Lawyer in hot water for making sure pirates have access to legal rights

Written by Nick Farell
y_lawbookhammer

Helping P2P pirates will get you sued
A lawyer who flogged legal self-help documents to those sued by the US Copyright Group has himself been sued.

The USCG is demanding that he pay the costs involved in dealing with the people who used the documents he sold. Graham Syfert flogged the documents to allow defendants in lawsuits filed by the U.S. Copyright Group to respond in court without having to fork over the huge piles of money needed to hire an attorney.

This stuffed up the USCG's campaign of suing "thousands" of BitTorrent users who had downloaded films like The Hurt Locker, Far Cry and Call of the Wild, in the hope that they would pay up $2500 to avoid the much more expensive proposition of going to court. Armed with the documents of their legal rights, it seems that the more BitTorrent users decided to tell the USCG to go forth and multiply.

Syfert charged $20 for legal work which many lawyers would have charged thousands for. So far only 19 people have thus far taken advantage of Syfert's offer and submitted responses to the court using his package.

Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver, the law firm behind the USCG lawsuits threatened Syfert with sanctions soon after he began selling his forms and also said it would double its settlement requests for anyone who used them. On November 22 attorney Jeff Weaver made a formal request for sanctions against him on behalf of the production company behind The Hurt Locker, one of the driving forces behind the USCG lawsuits.

Weaver is apparently claiming that the 19 cases filed using the self-help package have cost his firm $5000 and he wants Syfert to pay. Syfert, being a lawyer has counter sued with his own claim for sanctions against Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver.

The reason that USCG is "upset” is because Syfert's package is allowing people to mount an effective defense against the claim and the USCG is faced with the very expensive possibility of having to re-file thousands of individual cases in order to get around it.

It will be hard to see the USCG's case having any legs in the US. After all it is everyone's right to have legal information.

Nick Farell

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