Voltage Pictures is suing 5,000 people who illegally downloaded its Oscar winning film "The Hurt Locker."
In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. on Monday, the film's producers say that they intend to subpoena ISPs to identify the individuals behind the piracy.
In its suit, Voltage maintains that though the names of those behind the copyright infringement remain unknown to them, it believes that a substantial number of the defendants live in the District of Columbia or committed the violations within the city's borders.
"Each time a Defendant unlawfully distributes a free copy of the Plaintiff's copyrighted motion picture to others over the Internet, each person who copies that motion picture can then distribute that unlawful copy to others without any significant degradation in sound and picture quality. Thus, a Defendant's distribution of even one unlawful copy of a motion picture can result in the nearly instantaneous worldwide distribution of that single copy to a limitless number of people,"the suit reads.
Voltage is seeking compensation for its attorneys fees and the costs associated with tracking down the pirates. It also writes that it is any further relief that the court deems appropriate, but no figure is named.
Those sums though could range from $1500 to release each alleged pirate from liability or damages on the order of $150,000 per infringement if a violator goes to trial, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The suit had been anticipated, with producer Nicolas Chartier previously announcing that he has enlisted the U.S. Copyright Group, a law firm specializing in such cases, with preparing a legal response to what he characterized as rampant downloading of the award-winning film.
The suit had been expected, with producer Nicolas Chartier previously announcing that he has enlisted the U.S. Copyright Group, a law firm specializing in such cases, with preparing a legal response to what he characterized as rampant downloading of the award-winning film by BitTorrent users.
Voltage did not immediately respond to TheWrap's request for comment, but Chartier's feelings on the matter of illegal downloading come through quite clearly in an email missive he sent to a Boing Boing reader who was complaining about his plans to sue pirates.
Chartier writes: "...please feel free to leave your house open every time you go out and please tell your family to do so, please invite people in the streets to come in and take things from you, not to make money out of it by reselling it but just to use it for themselves and help themselves. If you think it's normal they take my work for free, I'm sure you will give away all your furniture and possessions and your family will do the same. I can also send you my bank account information since apparently you work for free and your family too so since you have so much money you should give it away."
Voltage, which has made films such as "Spy Kids" and 'Flyboys," is run by Chartier and Dean Devlin. Chartier made headlines earlier this year when a series of emails sent to Academy members campaigning for votes for "Hurt Locker" resulted in his being banned from this year's Oscar ceremony.