Dozens in Indiana sued by makers of ‘Dallas Buyers Club’

Photo courtesy WISH

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — At least 50 people in Indiana have been targeted in a copyright infringement lawsuit and accused of illegally downloading the Oscar-winning film, “Dallas Buyers Club.”

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court, names the Dallas Buyers Club, LLC as plaintiff, and seeks damages, attorney’s fees and requests that a judge impound “all infringing copies” of the movie.

The seven-page suit is one of four lawsuits filed in Indiana – accusing dozens of “John Does” of illegally downloading the movie through BitTorrent, an online network that allows users to transfer, download or upload “large files such as movies,” the lawsuit alleges.

“The amount of piracy is astronomical. The day the movie won at the Oscars downloads quadrupled,” said Keith Vogt, the attorney representing the movie group. “It’s the same as if you walked into the store, put the DVD in your pocket and walked out the door.”

Vogt says similar lawsuits by Dallas Buyers Club, LLC have been filed in federal courts in Texas, Michigan and Wisconsin, among others.

Actors Matthew McConaughy and Jared Leto are mentioned in the lawsuit, but not named named as plaintiffs. The accused illegal downloaders aren’t named. Instead, the four separate lawsuits list the IP addresses for 50 people all across central Indiana – from Fishers to Kokomo and Indianapolis to Terre Haute.

Intellectual property attorney Jim Dimos with Frost, Brown, Todd has represented both recording artists and defendants accused of illegal downloads. He says 99 percent of the time these types of cases are settled before trial for small penalties for as little as $500. However, it could be more.

Dimos warns that while it may be easy for attorneys to track down the IP addresses, it is more difficult to prove who is actually downloading the illegal material.

“It may very well be that if someone feels, or if they know they did not download (the material), they may want to fight because there are questions that exist as to the accuracy of downloading tracking from BitTorrent,” Dimos said.

But Vogt says he’s not concerned about that, adding those claims were “trial tested” in a separate case and that his clients don’t want to go after the wrong people.

“It’s not our intent to pursue action against an innocent person,” he said.

Vogt dismissed criticism that by filing similar lawsuits in other states that this was part of larger targeted effort to make money.

Instead, he said his clients deserve to be compensated for the what he called “the harm” caused by the alleged illegal downloads, adding that independent filmmakers don’t always have the protections or resources of larger production companies.

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