20,000 US BitTorrent users sued; 30,000 more lawsuits pending

The number of Americans targetted by entertainment industry lawsuits nearly doubled this month, as the the US Copyright Group ("an ad hoc coalition of independent film producers and with the encouragement of the Independent Film & Television Alliance") brought suit against 20,000 BitTorrent users. 30,000 more lawsuits are pending, bringing the total number of US entertainment industry lawsuit defendants up to 80,000 (when you include the 30,000 victims of the RIAA).

This beatings-will-continue-until-morale-improves gambit is puzzling to me. It seems likely to me that most of these defendants will settle for several thousand dollars (regardless of their guilt) rather than risk everything by hiring a lawyer to defend themselves. But does the "US Copyright Group" really think that Americans will go back to the mall with their credit-cards in hand once their friends' lives have been ruined by litigation?

How about making peace, instead? Offer blanket licenses, DRM-free downloads, ad-supported streams, and products whose EULA consists of "By buying this product you agree to abide by copyright" (a far cry from the current status quo, which goes more like "By buying this product, you agree… [15,000 words omitted] …that we can spy on you, take it away again, stop you from exercising your consumer rights to lend or give away this product, etc etc etc).

New litigation campaign quietly targets tens of thousands of movie downloaders

(via Michael Geist)