Last month a large private BitTorrent tracker became the first site of its type to be hit by Hurt Locker-style mass litigation. Now, just three weeks later, the same studio has returned there for a second time, gathering IP addresses on the site and filing suit against dozens of users a mere three days after.
While the US Copyright Group and its pursuit of Hurt Locker file-sharers has grabbed most of the headlines recently, mass litigation against BitTorrent users is nothing new. Pioneered in Germany and spread to the UK with lawyers ACS:Law, Davenport Lyons and now Gallant MacMillan, the aim is to generate cash – to turn piracy into profit.
To this end the law firms gather as many IP addresses from torrent sites as possible – more IP addresses means more identities revealed. More identities revealed translates firmly into more revenue. Because data is easier to collect and swarms generally more busy with a steady flow of new entrants, this data is usually collected from public trackers. Last month, however, all that changed.
Lucas Entertainment, a company specializing in adult movies, targeted the 235,000 member Gay-Torrents (GT) tracker. Lucas filed suit in Texas Northern District Court on July 19th targeting 65 defendants who allegedly shared the movie ‘Missing’.
But, it seems, that first attack wasn’t the end of the matter, and now Lucas have returned for a second bite at the cherry, and the speed it has turned the process around is nothing short of precedent-setting.
Last Friday August 6th, Lucas or its agents gathered data from a swarm at GT sharing the movie ‘Kings of New York’. Yesterday, Monday 9th, Lucas sued 53 GT users in the District Court in Dallas. According to Xbiz, this latest suit seeks an injunction against the defendants, as well as damages and attorneys fees.
“This new batch of impending law suits in the USA is disappointing and really quite suspicious,” an administrator at GT told us.
“GT has an open policy of compliance with the industry, yet Lucas Entertainment has again decided to attack our Members directly by apparently proceeding with litigation rather than requesting we take-down any material on which they claim copyright.”
According to records held by the site, the last time Lucas Entertainment contacted GT was in September 2006 – there has been no contact recently and no requests to remove torrents, the usual method of settling these type of issues.
“Why Lucas Entertainment has ignored the use of DMCA notices or even failed in almost 4 years to attempt any cooperation with their customer base via GT is beyond our comprehension and will be answered only by themselves whilst their competitors do indeed work with GT politely and amicably to everyone’s mutual benefit,” adds GT admin.
“It appears they prefer to intimidate and bully their potential customers rather than rely on the newly emerging methods of advertising and distribution commensurate with the needs of modern society.”
The previous suit filed by Lucas over the movie ‘Missing’ is moving ahead, with the judge in the case having already granted the company’s request to subpoena 14 ISPs to identify alleged file-sharers.
“I stand by my previous comment that many sites are responsive and take down content once notified of a copyright infringement. Unfortunately, some are not and we have decided to take an assertive approach with the more difficult sites and their users,” Lucas Entertainment President/CEO Michael Lucas told us. “We appreciate our fans wherever they are but business is business and we have to make some money off our content.”