Hollywood Offers to Cut a Deal With Grandpa Getting Sued

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: You may recall our main story in yesterday's issue of the Digest was about a man being sued on account of some movies downloaded onto computer by his 12-year old grandson. The stink got pretty awful, so MPAA contacted grandpa on the phone late Wednesday and offered what they termed a 'generous offer'. PAT]

A man sued by the film industry after his teen grandson downloaded four movies on the family's computer has been offered a chance to settle the case by paying $4,000 in installments.

The Motion Picture Association of America filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Fred Lawrence of Racine, seeking as much as $600,000 in damages for downloading four movies over the Internet file-sharing service iMesh.

An attorney for the Motion Picture Association of America called Lawrence late Wednesday, telling him the lawsuit would be dropped if he paid $4,000, Lawrence said.

The MPAA said it would let Lawrence pay the amount in monthly payments over a year to 18 months, he said.

The deal is about the same one offered Lawrence in March, which he ignored, except it allows him to pay in installments.

"I don't want to sound like a smart aleck, but $4,000 might as well be a $1 million," Lawrence said. "We are budgeted. We have a fixed income. I don't have even an extra $250 a month."

Lawrence, a former employee of Snap-on Inc. and seasonal worker for the City of Racine, said he is still trying to find an attorney to defend him in the suit.

Lawrence said he didn't even know what file sharing was.

Lawrence was one of several people the MPAA contacted this year who were offered an out-of-court settlement. Those who declined or didn't respond including Lawrence, now face individual lawsuits.

A message left at the association Friday by The Associated Press was not immediately returned.

Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,

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Copyright 2005 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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