Has there ever been "mass" lawsuits for theft of intellectual property?

I am thinking along the lines of Naptster/MP3s, and the “stealing” cable TV signals and satellite.

Along the lines of Napster, if someone wanted too, I suspect they could track down several individuals via their IP. As per cable/satellite TV, they could get the names/info of their “clientel” via the “busted” operations that sell the illegal hardware.

Or, do the big corps only seem to go after the big fish, like the “dealers” of the goods, the ones higher-up the food chain and leave the end users alone?

The reason I ask this is I heard the other day of a bust of group of people in the US professionally selling goods (pirate satellite TV equip, in this case) that has no real other purpose than stealing signals that they aren’t paying for. However, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of end-users getting successfully sued even though the TV and music industry itself says there are, literally, millions of people using the stuff.

Is it the law-enforcement angle? Too many people and too few cops? Do they even care?

Too many people doing it, and too much money and hassle to go after every single one of them. You can’t just round up a herd of people and take them to court over something-- you have to have a specific charge against every individual. The companies could very well lose more money trying to get everyone punished than if they just sat back and accepted piracy as an unavoidable loss to be budgeted for.

…and all that bad karma those people are building up by stealing:D

…and all that bad karma those people are building up by stealing:D

They have done mass cease-and-desist letters. The MPAA did it over the DeCSS program for decrypting DVD’s, and sent it to everyone who was hosting the program.