While many judges around the country are throwing out file sharing lawsuits on account of questionable or faulty arguments, DC federal judge Beryl Howell just recently allowed three cases filed by copyright holders to proceed. What makes it intriguing is that she used to be a former RIAA lobbyist.
Sites like TorrentFreak are calling foul, saying that the lawsuits are just ploys for quick settlements and that Howell is allowing acts of extortion to take place.
In layman's terms her ruling means that copyright holders can easily request the personal details of people who have allegedly downloaded copyrighted works on BitTorrent. With this decision in hand the copyright holders have all they need. After all, the intention of these lawsuits was never to take the defendants to court, but to send them settlement letters to resolve the issue for a few thousand dollars.
Extortion seems a bit strong, but it's definitely odd to have a former industry lobbyist hearing cases and promising objectivity. [TorrentFreak via Ars Technica]