Individuals can join a “swarm” and download pieces of copyrighted material over time using BitTorrent or similar peer-to-peer file sharing applications. Additionally, BitTorrent subpoena defense may entail accusations of breaching a website’s terms & conditions (T&C) or terms of service (TOS), or violating state or federal computer laws (such as “hacking”).
Peer-to-peer file sharing, efficient for data distribution, exposes users to copyright infringement lawsuits. The software reveals unique identifying information like IP addresses, aiding ISPs in identification. Individuals named in BitTorrent lawsuits may be innocent bystanders, not involved in alleged infringement. They may be implicated solely because they own a house with Wi-Fi, enabling others like roommates, houseguests, or neighbors to download copyrighted material. Willful infringement can incur fines up to $150,000 per act.