“Dallas Buyer’s Club” received a lot of attention this past year for its compelling subject matter and actor portrayals. However, the producers are now pursuing a legal battle with pirates who illegally downloaded and shared the Oscar winning film.
According to Variety, back in February, Dallas Buyers Club LLC, which posses the copyright to the film, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas. Voltage Pictures, which acted as a co-producer, is now going after 31 individual torrent users for settlements. Its law firm created a system to target users after “The Hurt Locker,” another one of its projects, was being illegally shared as well. The offenders could settle in a short time by paying thousands of dollars to the company.
Though piracy of movies runs rampant, it’s difficult to catch perpetrators who may hide IP addresses or live in many different parts of the country. Oftentimes, it’s complicated and plaintiffs are required to file lawsuits wherever each torrent user resides. Variety’s Ted Johnson writes, “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 lawsuit stated that geolocation technology helped the plaintiffs figure out IP addresses and then deduct where the users were living. They are being monitored for any illegal activity, too.
The movie business has been trying to deal with torrent users for a long time. Despite the challenges it presents, Voltage Picture’s principal Nick Chartier is dedicated to the cause, and has been vocal about the consequences of piracy on smaller budget movies and independent filmmaking.