Los Angeles – A coalition of independent film producers,
under the auspices of a group calling itself the U.S. Copyright Group, has
filed suit against more than 20,000 individuals alleged to have downloaded
movies illegally from the Internet, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The
lawsuits allege that users downloaded the films "Steam Experiment,"
"Far Cry," "Uncross the Stars," "Gray Man" or
"Call of the Wild 3D." The U.S. Copyright Group also plans to file an
additional 30,000 claims against alleged illegal downloaders, connected with five other films.
The group is
reportedly using technology from Germanys’
Guardaley that permits real-time monitoring of BitTorrent movie downloads —
which has been used in recent years to some success to target movie downloaders
in German and U.K.
"Research suggests that once a copyright infringer is forced to
pay settlement damages far in excess of the actual cost of the stolen content,
he will never steal copyrighted material again," the group writes on its
"Through these methods, the US Copyright Group has
the ability to recover losses for our clients and stop film piracy on a massive
Thomas Dunlap, an attorney with Guardaley, told THR that the
company talked with bigger studios, including members of the Motion Picture
Association of America (MPAA), "which expressed interest by wanted to see
proof that ISPs would be cooperative" with ‘John Doe’ lawsuits seeking to
identify alleged file-swappers via their IP addresses.
The group told THR that
so far one ISP has agreed to turn over the identities of 71 alleged
file-swappers — eight of whom have already agreed to settle infringement
claims — while "other less cooperative ISPs are in the midst of fighting
in court or reaching out to their respective customers."
liberties group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called the lawsuits
"the latest evidence that copyright law has become unmoored from its
"Copyright should help creators get adequately compensated for
their efforts. Copyright should not line the pockets of copyright trolls intent
on shaking down individuals for fast settlements a thousand at a time."