Careful if you receive collection calls from sites that say they will take you to court over supposed download violations. Adult publisher Perfect 10 was ordered to pay $5.6 million in legal fees after failing copyright battle with Usenet provider Giganews. The US court heavily criticized Perfect 10 and described it as a serial litigator intended to function as a “tax write-off”.
Indeed, Perfect 10 has earned a reputation for profiting from suing tech companies for alleged copyright violation – it is known for targeting Google, Amazon, DepositFiles, RapidShare, MasterCard and Visa, and even hosting providers LeaseWeb and OVH.
The porn company has secured private settlements from some of the victims, but always failed a contested court case. Perhaps, Perfect 10 hoped to win the recent lawsuit against Usenet provider Giganews, but it has turned into a disaster. First of all, the U.S. District Court found that the Usenet provider was not responsible for the infringing activities of its users, and secondly, the adult publisher was roundly criticized for multiple failings. Finally, the judge ordered Perfect 10 to pay Giganews $5.6m in attorney’s fees and costs.
It turned out that Perfect 10 has never been a self-sustaining business and has lost over $50 million dollars at the very least. But this loss seems to be largely intended – the company simply wanted to show how it couldn’t make money because of online piracy. The court found out that over 50% of the revenues of Perfect 10 had been derived from settlements and default judgments.
In response, Giganews welcomed the court’s ruling, especially appreciating the court’s recognition of Perfect 10’s attack on its business model, which posed a serious threat to the public’s access to free and competitive expression.