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Copyright holders of the movie "Dallas Buyers Club" are suing 31 torrent users who've illegally shared the movie online.
The torrent downloaders are accused of unlawfully distributing the movie without the copyright owners' permission, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The owners worry with even just one unlawful copy floating out there, it could be distributed to a "limitless number of people."
So who are these mysterious alleged freeloaders?
Defendants Are BitTorrent Users
The main claim in the "Dallas Buyers Club" lawsuit is that the torrent users infringed the copyright owners' exclusive rights to the film, including distribution and reproduction of the film.
The lawsuit asserts that the defendants deliberately worked with each other to distribute the "seed file" of the film "by using a network called a 'BitTorrent protocol' or 'torrent.'" Any "seed peer" who has already downloaded the file becomes an automatic source of the file, the lawsuit explains. The illegal download is readily available to any other torrent user as long as a "seed peer" is online.
The lawsuit is seeking a permanent injunction to stop the torrent users from reproducing and distributing the film, as well as monetary damages.
But exactly which torrent users are being sued?
'John Doe' Defendants
Similar to other Internet-based lawsuits, like Kayne's Coinye lawsuit, the anonymity of the online world makes it difficult to ascertain people's true identities.
In the "Dallas Buyers Club" lawsuit, the defendants are listed as "Does 1 through 31." So far, lawyers been able to use "geolocation technology" to trace the IP addresses of the torrent users. Subpoena were delivered to BitTorrent to get it to identify the users by name and address, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
However, the plaintiffs will need the obtain the infringing users' true identities in order for the lawsuit to continue, and they will have to amend their lawsuit when they do.
The "Dallas Buyers Club" lawsuit was filed in federal court in the Southern District of Texas because the alleged infringers' IP addresses were traced there, THR reports. Plaintiffs' lawyers believe that means "the defendants reside in this Division and elsewhere in this Judicial District," their lawsuit asserts.