There might be a few Aussies panicking if they were amongst the 4,726 users who allegedly shared the 2013 Oscar winning film, Dallas Buyers Club. But here’s what happened in the US and Canada when Copyright holders of the oscar winning film accessed people’s IP addresses.
In the US, Voltage Pictures’, the movie studio which initiated the lawsuit, attorneys sent letters to the internet protocol (IP) addresses of people who had allegedly downloaded the movie. According to NBC Chicago, a US 1976 copyright law allows for a fine of up to $150,000. It would cost a US pirate an estimated $25,000 to $50,000 to defend themselves in court, but they usually settled out of court for around $5,000.
Here’s the letter that American IPs received from Dallas Buyers Club LLC. The letter gives a glimpse into what Australian pirates could expect, especially if someone else used their internet to download the film.
“Dallas Buyers Club, LLC believes that if the account was in your name, and you authorised the downloading or use, then you should have stopped the infringing conduct from occurring, and that you should be held responsible,” said the letter.
“That said, if you would like to sign an affidavit naming the person and testifying to the fact that the person committed the infringement, Dallas Buyers Club, LLC will consider dropping your name from the lawsuit, adding that person’s name and asking the other person to pay.”
In 2012, Voltage Pictures took Canadian ISP TekSavvy to court and obtained the IP addresses of 2,000 Canadians who download The Hurt Locker. The legal wrangles between TekSavvy and Voltage Pictures are still going on today. Three years later, legal letters still haven’t been sent out to the pirates.
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Voltage Picture’s French producer Nicolas Chartier discussed the reasons why the company pursued pirates so fiercely.
“Hurt Locker ended up winning six Oscars, but at the same time we had eight million illegal downloads on the movie. And I was like, “Wow, you know, we barely reimbursed the movie and we had eight million illegal downloads.” Well, if everybody had given me one dollar, that would be eight million dollars,” Chartier said.
According to a Singapore publication, My Press, Voltage Pictures are also going after the 500 IPs in Singapore who downloaded Dallas Buyers Club.