As you may recall, several months ago the producers of the Indi film “Hurt Locker” decided to sue downloaders and file sharers of that film. Reports are that many of the downloaders have decided to settle. The cost of the settlement? $1500 before the first deadline, and $2500 by the second.
However, some downloaders have decided that they won’t settle and are challenging the producers to go ahead and sue.
Apparently, one of the attorneys for the producers, Thomas Dunlap, of the Washington Law Firm Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver explained that there are people around the country that are refusing to settle after they received notification of the pending copyright violation and how they can settle the matter.
The process by which the law firm gets information about the users involves two steps. First, the law suit working with network engineers determines the IP address of the downloader. The law firm files a law suit naming a “John Doe.” They subpoena the ISP and get the name of downloader from the IP address that they have. They send a legal notice letter informing the person of the potential lawsuit that awaits them and a settlement offer to take to avoid it.
Apparently, this process has worked with a host of individuals. In some cases though they settlement has been for as little as $1000. This has come when individuals were not aware of the download operation, or that it occurred using an unsecure wireless connection.
The Cost of Litigation
Critics are wondering if the lawsuit strategy is worth it. They point out that a similar approach to music downloading has not worked. They point out that in the case of Jammie Thomas-Rasset there is no end in sight to the lawsuit. It has been ongoing for about five years. The cost of litigation must be very high and the likely hood of collecting any money from a person who works at an Indian reservation seems dim.
If enough people resist, the “Hurt Locker” producers will face a similar quandary of having to pay high attorney fees in order to secure a settlement that may or may not come; or may not have any recoverable value.