MPAA Sues Grandfather for $600,000

The Motion Picture Association of America sued a Wisconsin grandfather on Tuesday for allegedly downloading several movies to his home computer. However, there's one small problem with the case: the man doesn't like to watch movies, nor does he have any intention of downloading them.

Fred Lawrence, 67, of Racine says that his 12-year-old grandson apparently downloaded four movies from the P2P file service iMesh in December 2004. The family actually owns three of the four movies, and Lawrence says his grandson had no intention of breaking, nor knowledge of copyright laws.

In April, the MPAA attempted to force Lawrence into paying a $4,000 settlement to avoid copyright infringement charges, which he refused. The group subsequently filed a lawsuit seeking up to $600,000 in damages for the illegal downloads.

Lawrence says that his grandson made an innocent mistake, and he would not personally download movie files. "First of all, like I say, I guess I'd have to plead being naive about the whole thing," he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

But the MPAA apparently does not care whether or not the public agrees with the organization's tactics in combating piracy, and is not asking for "anyone's sympathy," the paper reported.

If Lawrence is successful in fighting the lawsuit, the MPAA could legally turn around and sue the child. However, doing so opens up other potential issues, as it is much harder to sue a minor than an adult, especially for damages the MPAA is claiming.

Some interest groups suggest that the only way around such a case would be for Lawrence's grandson to declare bankruptcy, as in most cases children have no income.

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