Voltage Pictures, the studio behind director Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-winning film The Hurt Locker from last year, is apparently pursuing legal action against 24,583 BitTorrent users for illegally downloading the video game-esque war thriller.
In enlisting law firm Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver, the studio’s prosecution marks the largest BitTorrent case in history, beating out the 23,000 file sharers targeted by The Expendables lawsuit from two weeks prior.
In a status report obtained by TorrentFreak, Voltage Pictures lawyers give the U.S. District Court of Columbia an overview of the massive list of alleged BitTorrent downloaders they filed complaints against. This report reveals that most defendants are subscribers of Comcast (10,532), followed by Verizon (5,239), Charter (2,699) and Time Warner (1,750).
The case’s prosecutors have apparently struck deals with a number of the ISPs listed above; Charter is promising to look up 150 IPS-addresses a month, while Verizon has agreed to a list of 100. There is reportedly no notable agreement with Comcast.
The award-winning film, which earned a modest $17 million at the box office, would seek to recoup a significant amount financially by going forward with the suit. As TorrentFreak points out, if even half of the case’s defendants reached a $2,000 settlement, the prosectors could theoretically get $20 million in damages.
Adding to the hurt, and as Digital Trends points out, whether the case proceeds or not will be handled by Judge Beryl Howell, “a former RIAA lobbyist and someone not known for siding with possible copyright infringers.”
The lawsuit marks a newly hardened anti-piracy stance in the United States. The new ““pay up or else” model is part of an aggressive campaign to crack down on illegal downloads, in hopes of tipping the power back in Hollywood’s favor. Earlier this year, Netflix’s streaming service surpassed BitTorrent as the biggest consumer of bandwidth in the United States, which could point to an ideological shift towards more legal means of consuming movies, especially if cases like this become more commonplace.
Click here for a full list of the ISP addresses targeted in the lawsuit.
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