Dirty Movies Can't Be Copyrighted, Lawsuit Claims

Dennis Faas's picture

A woman accused of pirating an adult-oriented film says the United States Constitution prevents such movies from being copyrighted.

Liuxia Wong received a letter last year from Hard Drive Productions, claiming she illegally shared a copy of "Amateur Allure Jen" through the BitTorrent file-sharing system.

The company then threatened to sue Wong for $150,000 damages -- the maximum for a single copyright infringement -- unless she immediately paid $3,400 in compensation.

Accused Woman Strikes Back

Wong refused to pay, and instead filed for declaratory relief.

A declaratory relief is a request for a court to make a legal ruling of fact: in this case, that Hard Drive Productions has no right to make its demands.

If Wong prevails, she could use the ruling to defend against any copyright lawsuit.

Wong argues that the studio dated her alleged infringement on March 28, 2011. The movie was first released more than a year earlier, but wasn't registered for copyright until April 22, 2011, so the threats "were designed to coerce her into settling the case despite the absence of any facts supporting liability against her."

Wong also claims the studio's letter constitutes unlawful harassment and coercion, as it incorrectly states she could be held responsible for piracy even if someone else used her unsecured wireless connection to share the file, without her knowledge.

Constitution May Not Cover Filthy Flicks

The most fascinating part of the lawsuit, though, may be Wong's claim the film isn't eligible for copyright.

She argues the US government's power to make anti-piracy laws stems from its Constitutional authority to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

Wong's filing argues the film in question does not fall into the category of "useful Arts" and thus cannot be protected. Not only is such video obscene, she argues, but as the film's actors have been paid to perform adult activities, the studio may itself be guilty of vice-related criminal offenses. (Source: fightcopyrighttrolls.com)

Hard Drive Productions has filed a motion to dismiss Wong's lawsuit. Without addressing Wong's arguments, it claims it has not yet begun legal action against her and thus it's too early for a court to examine the details of any alleged piracy. (Source: fightcopyrighttrolls.com)

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