Look Out, Downloaders: It Now Pays to Sue You

Virginia lawfirm makes RIAA actions pale by comparison
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2010 5:48 PM CDT
In this film publicity file image released by Summit Entertainment, Jeremy Renner is shown in a scene from "The Hurt Locker."   (AP Photo/Summit Entertainment)

(Newser) – The recent lawsuit against those who illegally downloaded the Hurt Locker is likely just a sign of things to come. But that's not because the movie industry has suddenly decided to go after pirates; it's because a group of lawyers—they go by the name the US Copyright Group—has figured out how to make money off the cases, reports Ars Technica. The group asks indie film producers for permission to sue downloaders, sends out subpoenas, then asks for $1,500 to $2,500 to settle a potential $150,000 lawsuit.

Unsurprisingly, almost everyone settles, and the money is split between the filmmaker and the lawyers. Since January, they have sued about 15,000 people and probably collected about $20 million in settlements to split. That's almost as many as the RIAA sued across all of 2003 and 2008, and the Copyright Group is stepping up the pace. Maybe it's time to get Netflix after all.

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