Plans in the works to sue thousands of BitTorrent users for illegally sharing copies of the movie even though it earned more than $250 million at the box office.
It seems earning $274.5 million dollars isn’t enough for some Hollywood producers these days as a report emerges that the independent production company Nu Image Films has enlisted the help of the US Copyright Group to target thousands of BitTorrent users for illegally sharing copies of the Expendables or any of the other 180 films it’s produced over the years.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Nu Image Films and the USCG agreed on the strategy over the recent holiday season, and lawsuits against BitTorrent users are being prepared as we speak.
The strategy mirrors that of previous mass BitTorrent lawsuits, most notably from the producers of the Academy Award-winning movie “The Hurt Locker.” In that case, however, the movie earned a paltry $49 million worldwide so it was kind of understandable why the producers would be upset.
The USCG’s strategy of lumping together thousands of BitTorrent users from around the country has so far been unsuccessful. Early last month U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer forced it to submit a revised list of Defendants it plans to sue, this time only including those that “whom it reasonably believes the Court has personal jurisdiction.”
That list now stands at a mere 140, down from an initial 4,577, though it still includes a number of IP addresses that lie well outside the court’s jurisdiction and will likely be reduced even further.
The ruling was a blow to the USCG’s hopes of a single lawsuit to help expedite the process and reduce the cost of litigation, but it doesn’t seem to mind. It believes that out-of-court settlements, the real goal of the campaign, are only viable if the threat of litigation is real, and so it still plans to sue BitTorrent users around the country in courts that ostensibly have proper jurisdiction.
The USCG, if you recall, has already lined up more than 15 law firms around the country to begin filing individual lawsuits against people in their respective areas who have refused to settle out court.
The USCG also appears to be choosing its lawsuit targets wisely, researching Defendants that have been identified by their ISPs since those who live in a “a $100,000 house” make a better litigation target than those living in a “$10,000 trailer.”
With reports that an Expendables 2 is in the works the lawsuit could backfire for Nu Image Films. The negative publicity of suing tens of thousands of people for sharing a movie that seemed to do quite well at the box office could lead to reduced ticket sales, and offset any financial windfall gained by the effort.