23,000 US file sharers targeted in largest ever BitTorrent case

10 May 2011

The US Copyright Group has been allowed to subpoena ISPs in order to find out the identities of more than 23,000 file sharers who illegally downloaded the Sylvester Stallone film The Expendables.

According to Wired, this will be the largest illegal BitTorrent downloading case in US history. The number of defendants in the case was originally 6,500 but it will soon be bumped up to 23,322, for each IP address that the US Copyright Group obtained who allegedly illegally downloaded the film.

It is usually up to the federal judge to agree to allow such a large quantity of subpoenas in a single case.

Each US ISP who receives this subpoena will have to notify the account holder who downloaded the film, telling them their information is being handed over to the US Copyright Group. Subpoenas will be sent out this week.

These mass lawsuits have become a common tactic from the US Copyright group, aiming to claim back losses caused by online piracy.

Settlementsare likely to hit US$3,000 per infringement, meaning this strategy can be highly lucrative.

The closest single lawsuit for illegal file sharing was a case aimed at 15,551 BitTorrent users downloading a number of pornographic films, though in this case, the judge has not yet decided whether to allow the subpoenas or not.