The saga of West Coast Productions' porno Teen Anal Nightmare 2 is long and twisted. Last November, the law firm Adult Copyright Company filed a record-breaking lawsuit against 9,729 anonymous BitTorrent users who allegedly pirated the film. A Judge threw it out, ruling that each defendant would have to be sued individually. The Electronic Frontier Foundation singled out the lawsuit as a particularly egregious example of "copyright trolling." "The motivation behind these cases appears to be to leverage the risk of embarrassment associated with pornography to coerce settlement payments despite serious problems with the underlying claims," the EFF wrote in a statement.
But Adult Copyright Company refiled a slightly different complaint in January, now joined by antipiracy law firm Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver. According to court records, this new lawsuit targets 5,289 alleged Teen Anal Pirates on behalf of West Coast Productions.
Last week, a man we'll call "Sam Smith," received a letter from his ISP informing him that they were turning over his account information to Dunlap Grubb & Weaver: He was being sued for pirating Teen Anal Nightmare 2 in the new lawsuit. After coming across Gawker's earlier TAN 2 coverage, Sam emailed us for advice: "I, I mean a friend of mine downloaded that and today received a suboena to my ISP for the download.... pretty humiliating."
We spoke with Sam on the phone about his predicament:
Did you know what you were doing was illegal when you downloaded TAN2 on BitTorrent?
I'm aware of copyright infringement. People do it all the time. Before I started downloading stuff I asked on chat rooms and the most I was told was that you'd get a warning from your ISP, the first time you get caught. No lawsuit or nothing like that.
If you knew it was illegal, why'd you do it?
Just to have some porn, I guess: I put 'anal porn' into the search engine for the website I got torrents from, and that was the first one that came up and I clicked on it and here I am. I didn't think I'd get caught.
How worried are you about the Teen Anal Nightmare 2 situation?
I'm extremely worried. I put myself through college, my parents aren't rich or anything. I've got three kids and a wife who's disabled. My life's been pretty rough. I'm a nurse, so if I get criminal charges against me I have to do something else. In the end I don't care about the money. I just don't want it to be that whenever anyone searches, "Sam Smith" on Google it pops up and says, "Sam Smith downloaded Teen Anal Nightmare 2 and got sued for it." That's going to be a great legacy for the kids. Granted what I did was wrong, but this could ruin my life.
What was it like getting that letter in the mail?
Me and my wife were driving and we stopped by our mailbox, and I saw this great big packet from my ISP. I thought: 'Oh no no no, please don't let this be what it is.' We pull over and I start reading it. And it's completely consumed every thought that I've had since I found it. I don't know what to expect. I don't know what to do.
So your wife knows you're being sued for anal porn?
Yep. She laughed at first, but then I started explaining how serious it was. She asked, "Why did you do that?" I said some guys download porn. She's not pissed.
How long did you have the film on your computer?
Maybe for two days after I downloaded it. It wasn't even that good. I tried to watch a couple parts of it but it was garbage.
What's your plan for dealing with this?
My plan right now is just keep sweating bullets. I couldn't afford a lawyer even if I wanted one. I contacted the Electronic Freedom Foundation, so I'll see what they can do for me. I've been doing some research. Once the lawyers have my information they're going to contact me and throw out a number to just settle, and if I don't do that They'll take it a step further.
But the earlier lawsuit was thrown out. Are you hopeful this one might be too?
I'm really hopeful. But what I'd rather do is pay the retail price for Teen Anal Nightmare 2. I like to think of myself as not a thief, but apparently I am. I'd like to square it a away and just wash my hands of this entire ordeal.
Q&A has been edited for length and readability. If you're the target of a porn lawsuit, we'd recommend getting in touch with the Electronic Freedom Foundation.