Hastings Business Law Journal


Brian Noh


By some estimates, more than 40 billion songs were downloaded illegally in 2008. In recent years, some copyright holders seeking to curtail copyright infringement have filed thousands of claims against individual end-users and peer-to-peer network operators. The resulting scenario, in some instances, has required plaintiffs to prepare settlement strategies against thousands of individual defendants who are often ill equipped to deal with such suits. This note addresses the inability of the copyright law regime to resolve such scenario, one of the growing problems of the information age. Specifically, the author proposes that the solution to these problems is found in Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, through what is described in this note as the reverse class action mechanism. By combining individual defendants in one suit, consumers can make litigation more economically feasible by combining their resources, simultaneously saving both plaintiffs and courts significant litigation related costs. Importantly, plaintiffs will be able to obtain court judgments against a bigger pool of individuals, potentially deterring more users down the line.