A Chicago law firm is going after grandma and her alleged online porn habit.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Steele Hansmeier has filed a lawsuit against “Does 1-46” -– including one the Chronicle describes as a Bay Area widow in her 70s -- in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on behalf of Hard Drive Productions.
Steele Hansmeier accuses the Bay Area woman and scores of other “digital pirates” across the country of downloading porn illegally over BitTorrent. They’re being urged by Steele Hansmeier attorneys to settle with the originators of the content by ponying up several thousand dollars by credit card.
The Bay Area Jane Doe tells the Chronicle she has never downloaded porn and doesn’t even know what a BitTorrent is. She can’t afford an attorney to make her case, but she won’t settle either, she told the Chronicle. The Electronic Frontier Foundation describes such lawsuits as "copyright trolling," and EFF attorney Matthew Zimmerman said the porn allegations add a further "coercive element," the Chronicle reported.
Steele Hansmeier, which describes itself as a law firm dedicated to eradicating digital piracy, says on its website (wefightpiracy.com) that it focuses on representing content producers and creative professionals. It’s unclear how many lawyers it employs.