A District Court judge gave the U.S. Copyright Group the green light to sue at least 23,000 users who illegally downloaded the Sylvester Stallone film, The Expendables. This will be the single largest case against BitTorrent downloading in U.S. history.
The Copyright Group will be granted the IP addresses of everyone who downloaded the film. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be required to provide “information sufficient to identify each Defendant, including name, current (and permanent) addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, and Media Access Control addresses, and the ISPs shall respond to such subpoenas,” according to the court document
The case will likely follow the same course of action taken in other mass infringement campaign, where file sharers are threatened with a $150,000 fine and are scared into paying a settlement ranging from a few hundred dollars to around $3,000.
Most cases rely on settlements to draw a profit, as few cases that enter a courtroom end well for those filing the charges. One of the main arguments is that an IP address could be anyone. Since an IP address is often the shared Internet connection of a household, it could be anyone in the household, or even an unauthorized user on the network.
In a recent case, a District Judge denied a copyright holder to go after infringements on grounds that “IP subscribers are not necessarily copyright infringers.”
“The infringer might be the subscriber, someone in the subscriber’s household, a visitor with her laptop, a neighbor, or someone parked on the street at any given moment,” states a court document.