BitTorrent Lawsuit May Rope in 23,000 Americans Over Illegal Expendables Download

Watching The Expendables could very well turn out to have been the most expensive movie ticket 23,000 Americans have ever paid for.

In what is poised to become the single biggest BitTorrent downloading case in the US, those who illegally downloaded a copy of The Expendables may soon be slapped with a potentially very costly lawsuit, Wired reports.

Clearing the legal hurdles necessary to bring these “dastardly downloaders” to justice, a US district judge flashed a green light to a US Copyright Group seeking authorization to uncover the identities and contact information of those who downloaded the film in question from their Internet service providers.

Many lawyers are mimicking the Copyright Group’s legal strategy, which includes offering online settlement payments, in hopes of making quick cash. The litigation can be so lucrative — with settlements around $3,000 per infringement — that two companies are both claiming ownership to a low-budget movie called Nude Nuns with Big Guns, and both firms are suing the same downloaders.

Thomas Dunlap, head of the Copyright Group in Washington, D.C., has obtained 23,322 IP addresses to date, with that number expected to swell further in the coming months.

If the lawsuit ultimately proves successful, the practice of targeting BitTorrent downloaders could soon become all-too commonplace in the legal system, a reality that BitTorrent critics say is a welcome scenario.