Hollywood Studio Suing 16 Users Of Popcorn Time Over Alleged Online Piracy

The movie Millenium says 16 Popcorn Time users illegally downloaded.

The movie Millenium says 16 Popcorn Time users illegally downloaded.

Often when we hear about Hollywood seeking to snuff out online piracy, it’s the sites or services that distribute that content that are the targets of any legal action. But this time, the studio behind a direct-to-DVD flick starring Pierce Brosnan is going after 16 users of Popcorn Time, a service that uses an integrated media player to stream movies and TV from torrent sites.

A production company affiliated with Millennium Films said Tuesday that it’s filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Oregon against 16 people who allegedly used Popcorn Time to download the movie Survivor, reports the Wall Street Journal. The company says those people not only stole Survivor, but are also “habitual copyright infringers who have downloaded and distributed numerous additional titles through Popcorn Time and the Bit Torrent network.”

Millennium says Survivor has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times.

The defendants are only identified by Internet addresses at this point, while the studio tries to subpoena their service providers to get them to cough up their names.

“It’s really saddening to witness studios go after the ‘little people, ’” Popcorn Time said in an email to the WSJ.

Popcorn Time has also come under fire from the Motion Picture Association of America, the trade group for major Hollywood studios that has been cracking the whip on piracy in the industry (though CEO Chris Dodd has said his organization is giving up legislative efforts to penalize pirates).

Though Millennium isn’t part of the MPAA, its chairman does have a major bone to pick with pirates after The Expendables 3 was leaked online three weeks before it hit theaters in 2014. Millennium says the Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger flick was downloaded more than 60 million times, costing “its collective businesses” some $161 million.

It’s unclear what kind of financial hit the studio is claiming from people allegedly downloading Survivor, but said in a press release that it’s “seeking to educate people about the harm of piracy” as well as injunctive relief to keep defendants from infringing on their copyright in the future. The suit also seeks damages, agreeing to resolve any case for the minimum under the law, $750 per defendant, “for those infringers that promptly agree to stop their illegal activities and comply.”

Hollywood Studio Sues Over Alleged Online Piracy [Wall Street Journal]

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