Downloaded any shitty movies lately? If so, you better watch your back. The US Copyright Group is on the warpath, and they’re coming to get you. Over 20,000 people have reportedly been slapped with copyright infringement lawsuits in a federal court over the past few weeks after downloading one of five movies: Uwe Boll’s Far Cry, Steam Experiment, Uncross the Stars, Gray Man or Call of the Wild 3D. Another 30,000 more cases are expected to be added in the near future for illegal downloads of an additional five titles that are probably equally as obscure.
This is the latest in a number of scare tactics being employed by movie studios to combat movie piracy via BitTorrent. In the past, they had filed some lawsuits against a few specific individuals, but this time around they decided to try a new strategy by targeting thousands of perpetrators at once. Also, although previously it was difficult to prove that the downloaded file was, in fact, the movie in question, and that the accused person was the one downloading it, they are now employing new technology from a German-based company that allows them to monitor torrents in real-time.
So why are they only targeting downloads of these relatively unknown movies, and what does this mean for the future? It seems that the MPAA has been adopting a wait and see approach, and if Internet Service Providers co-operate in releasing personal info for the suspected pirates, they will be going full steam ahead with even more lawsuits related to bigger studio films. Their goal is to create a revenue stream from what they see as “the equivalent of an alternative distribution channel”. Right now it’s unclear what their chances of success are, but the brute force method of dealing with piracy seems doomed to fail. Can they truly hope to scare people into abandoning illegal movie downloads, or at least make enough money to counteract the cost?