A copyright infringement lawsuit has been filed against 31 unidentified Internet users who have used a torrent protocol to share “Dallas Buyers Club,” a cumbersome legal attempt to identify individuals who have unleashed copies of the Oscar-nominated movie online.
The lawsuit was filed on Monday in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas by Dallas Buyers Club LLC, the movie’s copyright holder. But Voltage Pictures is among its co-producers, and the company has pursued individual torrent users for one of its most famous titles, “The Hurt Locker,” which won best picture. Their law firm set up a system where users identified for infringers could quickly settle for several thousand dollars. Voltage Pictures’ principal Nicolas Chartier has been particularly outspoken about the impact that piracy has on independent filmmaking and smaller-budgeted movies.
Major studios have largely abandoned efforts to pursue individual Internet users who download or upload infringing content, primarily because it is a complex legal process that often forces lawsuits to be filed in each jurisdiction where a the user lives. The plaintiffs in this suit indicated that they would attempt to identify each user by attempting to obtain the names behind IP addresses from Internet providers, something that cable and telecom companies have often resisted.
The suit says that the IP addresses were identified using geolocation technology, allowing them to narrow the field of potential pirates to specific locales.
The plaintiffs say that they are continuing to monitor individual pirates.