The federal jurisdiction for people in the Chicago area has been fertile ground for fraudulent copyright suits. People who find themselves as defendants in such cases should know that subscriptions to Internet services do not make the subscribers liable for infringement on the sole basis of the subscriber's name on the account.
(Learn about contributory infringement, however. It requires knowledge or reason to know of the infringement.)
Comcast sends a form letter to its own customers with misrepresentations about the information it may share with copyright owners. Form letters indicate that a subscriber's name, address, "and other information" are to be shared when, in fact, the subpoena only demands name and address.
If Illinois expands the Citizen Participation Act to include pleadings or a lawsuit that is calculated to prevent any act or acts in furtherance of the moving party's rights of petition, speech, association, or to otherwise participate in government, the trolls could be stopped.
Normally, adversarial legal practice would identify and defeat the false and unsupported claims of dishonest plaintiffs. These cases avoid justice by excluding opponents in a happy accident for local extortionists. An unethical or lazy defense bar has made this possible in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
These cases first appeared to succeed by threatening to name defendants as illegal consumers of pornography. The racket/business model has expanded, because shame is not the only deterrent to a strong defense in court. The costs of litigation in federal court are so high that nuisance settlements are paid regardless of culpability. Plaintiffs' lawyers demand $5,000, for example, while an intellectual property litigator will let a defendant know the cost of a case will be about $10,000.