Posted: 17 Feb 2015 02:55 AM PST
BitTorrent networks are online venues where anyone with an Internet connection can obtain almost limitless content for free. They’re also places closely monitored by copyright holders looking to protect their interests.
While some monitor for analysis reasons, others aim to boost profits. The most recent to venture down this latter path are the rights holders behind the Jim Carrey / Jeff Daniels movie Dumb and Dumber To.
In motions filed at the United States District Court in Oregon, DDTO Finance, LLC explains that it needs to obtain the identities of at least five individuals said to have downloaded and shared the comedy without permission.
“The Doe defendant is a BitTorrent user, or ‘peer,’ whose computer is interconnected with others and was used for illegally copying and distributing plaintiff’s motion picture to others,” one motion (pdf) reads.
“Plaintiff is suing the Doe defendant for using the Internet, specifically the BitTorrent file distribution network, to commit copyright infringement.”
While conceding that the subscriber may not necessarily be the actual infringer, DDTO Finance calls on the Court to force Comcast to reveal the subscriber details quickly so that ongoing infringement can be brought to an end.
“[It] is the experience of counsel that parties generally promptly terminate infringing activity and further distribution as soon as they have notice of an actual suit pending,” motion for discovery adds.
In one copyright infringement complaint DDTO notes that Dumb and Dumber To is currently one of the top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent networks “with over 1,000 confirmed infringing Internet Protocol (‘IP’) addresses in Oregon alone.”
Also of interest is how DDTO takes its IP-address evidence and uses it to build a wider picture of infringement against the subscriber.
“Defendant’s IP address has been observed as associated with the peer-to-peer exchange of a large number of copyrighted titles through the BitTorrent network,” the complaint reads.
“The volume and titles of the activity associated with defendant’s IP address indicates that the defendant is likely the primary subscriber of the IP address or someone who resides with the subscriber, as such activity indicates the defendant is an authorized user of the IP address with consistent and permissive access.”
Continuing with its assumptions, DDTO ventures that based on the quantity and type of content being transferred, the infringer is not a minor.
“The volume and titles of the activity associated with defendant’s IP address indicates that the defendant is not a young child, but an adult with mature tastes,” the company says.
The suit goes further still, suggesting that by downloading the movie the subscriber contributed to the illegal activities of torrent sites which generate “hundreds of millions” from “sales and advertising”. Not only that, he or she may even have been rewarded for doing so.
“Many parties, and possibly defendant, have been compensated with increased access to other content, faster download speeds, or other forms of compensation for their participation in expanding the availability of pirated content, including plaintiff’s movie,” the complaints adds.
In conclusion, DDTO seeks a permanent injunction against the defendants, costs and attorney fees, statutory damages of up to $150,000, and a trial by jury.
It is much more likely, however, that Comcast will hand over the subscribers’ details and a cash settlement will be reached in private.