Canadian Internet users will likely be outraged, as Voltage Pictures expands the biggest BitTorrent lawsuit in history, going north of the border.
Voltage Pictures LLC produced the 2009 Oscar winning film “The Hurt Locker”, which has coincidentally become one of the most illegally downloaded movies found online. What drives Voltage Pictures to seek the names and addresses of so many BitTorrent users through their ISPs is a hunger for more profit.
“The Hurt Locker” was damn close to being a flop at the box office, as it only grossed $49 million worldwide, despite rave reviews and an Oscar award (which no doubt added to the flurry of Internet downloads after the movie was out of theaters).
Voltage has adopted a scare tactic campaign to pull in more monies by threatening Hurt Locker downloaders, whose identities they have obtained via Internet service providers. The “pay up or else” scheme involves a legal letter being sent to suspected downloaders, offering the option to settle out of court for about $1000 or else face a huge lawsuit that could result in even higher fines.
Voltage Pictures is still seeking fast cash from these legal letters to boost “The Hurt Locker” revenue, and the laissez faire attitude toward BitTorrent use in Canada has moved their sniper scope and pointed it northward.
Federal courts in Montreal upheld a grant by Voltage Pictures, and the identities of the ISPs (that Voltage found on their own) are to be delivered to “The Hurt Locker” producers by Monday.
As TorrentFreak reports, there is a more “relaxed attitude towards their culture of file-sharing” in Canada, and Canadian legislation has appeared to lean toward file sharing users with legislation like the enacted Bill C-32 that limits the potential tens of thousands of dollar-plus to a five thousand dollar cap for all infractions.
But the willingness to allow Voltage Pictures to attain the user names, and to therefore allow the company’s legal team to make defendants out of the BitTorrent users, points to an unclear view on peer-to-peer file sharing usage in the country’s government.
The people might openly support BitTorrent users, but there will be an intriguing debate at the federal level as to whether or not the legislation will support the copyright holders or the purported digital infringers. The results of this case could certainly set a precedent in Canada going forward.