The Peer-to-Peer Legal Defense Fund

The Peer-to-Peer Legal Defense Fund uses an open-source, peer-to-peer model to connect donors with recipients and distribute donations. We think this decentralized, grass-roots approach is the ideal way to support people being sued for filesharing and a perfect response to the top-down, corporate bullying of the major labels.

Instead of collecting donations to be distributed later, the Defense Fund directly connects donors to people who have been sued and are seeking support. Using PayPal, donors can give directly to each recipient. Because the recipient that appears in the "Contribute Now" box on the main page is always the one with the smallest amount of total donations, the system spreads donations evenly. To learn more about our donation system and the open-source software that runs it, please see How It Works.

Where Your Donation Goes

When you make a contribution with the Peer-to-Peer Legal Defense Fund, the money goes directly into the PayPal account of one of the recipients listed on the page. Downhill Battle takes no cut from the donations and doesn't charge anyone to participate. At no point does Downhill Battle have any access to the individual PayPal accounts or to any of the donations that are made. Other than PayPal's $0.30 + 2.9% transaction fee, there are no middlemen and no administrative costs. After you contribute, you can check each recipient's payment log to make sure that your contribution was received and correctly reported to our site.

When someone who has been sued joins the Defense Fund, Downhill Battle confirms their identity (for a description of our procedure see Who Can Join). In the vast majority of cases, we contacted the recipients and their attorneys before they contacted us, so fraudulent applications are currently not a major concern. We are somewhat limited as to the information we can provide publicly because we don't want to further trample on people's privacy, but we invite scrutiny from journalists, webloggers, and individual donors. If you have any questions or concerns or if something doesn't look quite right, please contact us immediately.

We think the Defense Fund's "peer-to-peer" system is ideal for both the people that have been sued and the people that want to contribute. For recipients, receiving the money directly and immediately means each family can decide the best way they can respond to the suits. For donors, there's the satisfaction of knowing that your money goes directly to an individual or family who needs your help.

Large Donations

Because donations go to individuals rather than into a general pool, a large donation could surpass the financial need of a particular recipient. The full recipient list shows each person's current legal costs and how much they've raised. If you are considering making a large donation, we'd be interested in talking with you about how your contribution can have the biggest impact. Please feel free to contact us.

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