• Biggest BitTorrent Downloading Case in U.S. History Targets 23,000 Defendants

    At least 23,000 file sharers soon will likely get notified they are being sued for downloading the Expendables in what has become the single largest illegal-BitTorrent-downloading case in U.S. history.

    A federal judge in the case has agreed to allow the U.S. Copyright Group to subpoena internet service providers to find out the identity of everybody who had illegally downloaded (.pdf) the 2010 Sylvester Stallone flick — meaning the number of defendants is likely to dramatically increase as new purloiners are discovered. Once an ISP gets the subpoena, it usually notifies the account holder that his or her subscriber information is being turned over to the Copyright Group, which last year pioneered the practice of suing BitTorrent downloaders in the United States.

    Subpoenas are expected to go out this week.

    All told, more than 140,000 BitTorrent downloaders are being targeted in dozens of lawsuits across the country, many of them for downloading B-rated movies and porn.

    Many lawyers are mimicking the Copyright Group’s legal strategy, which includes offering online settlement payments, in hopes of making quick cash. The litigation can be so lucrative — with settlements around $3,000 per infringement — that two companies are both claiming ownership to a low-budget movie called Nude Nuns with Big Guns, and both firms are suing the same downloaders.

    Not all federal judges, are agreeing to allow a massive number of subpoenas in a single case, but many are. The U.S. Copyright Act allows damages of up to $150,000 per infringement, and the cases all demand the maximum.

    “It is well beyond time that the courts take control of these automated enterprises being run at great taxpayer expense with the active assistance of the federal court system,” said Lory Lybeck, a Washington state attorney defending about 100 BitTorrent defendants.

    The IP addresses of the alleged copyright scofflaws are easily discoverable. Film companies pay snoops to troll BitTorrent sites, dip into active torrents and capture the IP addresses of the peers who are downloading and uploading pieces of the files.

    The closest single lawsuit in size to the Expendables case targets 15,551 BitTorrent users for downloading a handful of porn flicks with titles such as Big Dick Glory Holes and Spin on My Cock. A judge has not decided whether to authorize subpoenas in that case.

    Thomas Dunlap, who heads the Copyright Group in Washington, D.C., did not return phone messages. He informed the court Wednesday that, so far, he’s obtained 23,322 IP addresses (.pdf) that have allegedly infringed the Expendables, up from 6,500 when he initially filed the District of Columbia federal court case in February.

    Source: Wired
    Comments 9 Comments
    1. mjmacky's Avatar
      mjmacky -
      Talk about adding insult to injury, not only are these defendants being outed publicly as having watched this movie, but are being sued for it too. I don't know, I think I'd rather be a defendant in a rape accusation. How many of these 23,000 are under the age of 14. or are they all of legal age to get sued?

      Edit: the scary part is browsing the IP address list and finding IP addresses close to yours. The ISPs for that list were pretty distributed, but Comcast, Road Runner, and SBC Internet Services seemed to be the top 3.
    1. Mugur's Avatar
      Mugur -
      They don't care who downloaded it. They just want to make a quick buck and they found a way to do so. If citizens feel abused, they have to stand up and mass boycott the entertainment industry until it chages its atitude. I think it is the only way. Expecting from the government or the justice system to do things right is naive to say the least, they are already bought.
    1. rych180's Avatar
      rych180 -
      best to stay away from bittorrent.
    1. duke0102's Avatar
      duke0102 -
      Wasn't there a judge that deemed an IP doesn't equal a person?
      How would that effect this?

      I can't stand it how the porn industry are claiming there the victims, all these spoofs they do and I'm quite confident they don't get permission off whoever they steal the original ideas from.
    1. LoyalSubject's Avatar
      LoyalSubject -
      No Qwest ISP listed. For once I'm glad to have this POS DSL.
    1. megabyteme's Avatar
      megabyteme -
      I'd counter-sue. They knew the movie was awful, and still released it, anyway. I believe I deserve compensation for them wasting my time.AND PAIN AND SUFFERING.
    1. mjmacky's Avatar
      mjmacky -
      I had no direct viewing of this, but I also want compensation for being made aware of this. Knowledge of its mere existence has caused me internal strife, and would like to join the ranks of the frivolous litigation army.
    1. kodzero's Avatar
      kodzero -
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    1. Tlegasse's Avatar
      Tlegasse -
      I'm glad I got enough of that movie when it was in the theaters, and I never dl porn lol. So i guess im ok? And there's no telling what other investigations they are doing too.