Those of you who have been keeping up to date with all the piracy and anti-piracy debates may be familiar with the name of Carl Crowell, the copyright lawyer pushing the anti-piracy agenda of some of the biggest media companies involved in this war. He has become notorious for tracking down people who used torrenting in order to download and watch copyrighted material such as movies, music or TV shows, and then suing them for crazy sums of money, for the alleged damages caused by their copyright infringement. He has been known to work on behalf of legal entities such as Voltage Pictures, the Californian movie studio which produced Dallas Buyers Club. There are currently more than 5,000 downloaders of this movie being legally pursued for piracy, with the help of the notorious anti-piracy lawyer.
While there are plenty of other lawyers out there doing the same thing, his name tends to stand out for a couple of reasons. First of all, he tends to represent mid-sized studios which created mainstream, blockbuster movies (as opposed to the majority of the so-called ‘troll’ copyright lawyers which mainly represent the porn industry). Second of all, unfortunately, he tends to win his cases much more than the other lawyers do (this is precisely why you may have already heard of him).
So, to cut a long story, Carl Crowell is the least favorite person in the world for a large share of internet users everywhere, representing precisely that small-mindedness which free file sharing activists are trying to combat. Much to our surprise, the bane of file sharing sites (not that he can actually stop their activities, for now at least) recently agreed to give an interview to a local paper, to help us all have a deeper look into his activity and his views on it. This is, in a nutshell, what Car Crowell had to say in his interview by the Willamette Week, the paper which cornily nicknamed him ‘the pirate hunter’.
Highlights of the Carl Crowell Interview
- Not responding to his letters (or any copyright infringement letters) makes things worse, at least according to him. ‘The media calls what I do a scam, a fraud. There are stories online that tell people the worst thing you can do is respond,’ he said, ‘but it’s not a problem that’s going to go away by being ignored’.
- Most peer to peer file sharing lawsuits tend to end in settlements of around $7,500. This is the sum you can expect to have to cough up if you’re ever targeted by Carl Crowell. Hopefully, it will never come to that, if you don’t engage in risky online behavior.
- Speaking of being targeted by him, that isn’t likely to happen if you only have a small file sharing misdemeanor every now and then. According to his own words, he tends to go after the bigger fish first, so he won’t come after you unless you get persistent in your free file sharing ‘crime’. ‘If you just download and don’t upload, you don’t cross my radar, Carl Crowell said in the interview. ‘I’m interested in persistent involvement over several months.’
- He justifies his highly unpopular actions by the fact that torrenting sites make millions upon millions of dollars, so it’s unfair that the studios lose money over this. Still, this doesn’t take into account the fact that most ‘pirates’ aren’t making any money from their peer to peer file sharing, nor do they have that much. This is precisely the issue for which other copyright lawyers don’t approve of Crowell’s approach of going after the individual users.