Ars Technica examines the recent spat of lawsuits against illegal movie downloaders, which reached its zenith with 5,000+ lawsuits for The Hurt Locker.
So why have P2P lawsuits against individuals spiked dramatically in 2010? It’s all thanks to the US Copyright Group, a set of lawyers who have turned P2P prosecution into revenue generation in order to “SAVE CINEMA.” The model couldn’t be simpler: find an indie filmmaker; convince the production company to let you sue individual “John Does” for no charge; send out subpoenas to reveal each Doe’s identity; demand that each person pay $1,500 to $2,500 to make the lawsuit go away; set up a website to accept checks and credit cards; split the revenue with the filmmaker.
The lawsuits are brought in Washington, DC’s federal courthouse, and they all come from the same law firm: Leesburg, Virginia-based Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver. In half a year, the group has proved surprisingly active and has managed the rare feat of making the RIAA campaign look slow-moving and small-scale.
What’s interesting is that the RIAA and movie studios have given up completely from bringing lawsuits against illegal downloaders.