FORT MYERS, Fla. - Thousands of people across the country are facing an embarrassing and costly lawsuit, just for logging onto the internet.
"It's really embarrassing," said one such person facing a lawsuit, "because of my job, if people thought I did that and my employer found out, that would be terrible."
One of the largest porn production companies in the country calls her John Doe #2, we'll call her Kendra. We're protecting her identity because she's facing a costly lawsuit. Malibu Media out of California claims she downloaded copyrighted porn through BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer file sharing service.
The company is asking for $150,000. Kendra says she has never downloaded porn.
"I don't even know what a BitTorrent is, or how you would go about creating it or using it," Kendra said.
There are thousands of these cases across the country. Malibu Media is what's referred to as a "copyright troll." The company finds IP addresses that have downloaded its copyrighted movies. It then subpoenas the internet provider to find out the account holder's name and phone number.
Attorney Cynthia Conlin out of Orlando is one of only a handful of attorney's in the state who specialize in this type of case.
"To my knowledge, I've never seen one go to trial," Conlin said, "so many people will receive these letters and sometimes they actually get sued and have nothing to do with downloading."
Every internet router has an IP address. It's the online equivalent of your home address. But just as there could be multiple people living in your home, there could be multiple people using your IP address. Especially if you don't protect your router.
"It can basically stumble across your passwords and once it's in then it can assume your identity and get you in trouble for things that they do," said Bernie Crews, the owner of Metro Electronics in Fort Myers.
"At least password protect your router," Crews said.
Of course, not everyone the porn company sues is innocent. In fact, we can't prove or disprove Kendra's innocence, we're just taking her word for it. But just like any lawsuit, if you're named, it's important to take it seriously.
"If it's a summons they have a legal obligation to respond in court," Conlin said, "if they don't respond they can get a default judgement against them and that could cost them a lot of money."