Dallas Buyers Club studio intends to ask alleged infringers about downloading history

The studio behind Dallas Buyers Club (DBC) intends to ask the alleged 4,726 pirates of its film how much they earn and what other movies they have illicitly downloaded when determining a fine.

The studio behind Dallas Buyers Club (DBC) intends to ask the alleged 4,726 pirates of its film how much they earn and what other movies they have illicitly downloaded when determining a fine.

"It's something we regard as being relevant to whether we will seek a momentary settlement from them," said Ian Pike, the studio's legal counsel during a hearing held today at Sydney's Federal Court. "It's up to them whether they answer that question or not."

"They are perfectly proper questions. We would be criticised if we didn't ask them in terms of our obligations to resolve a case out of court."

The internet service providers (ISPs) in the case, represented by iiNet's lawyer Richard Lancaster, said requiring an alleged infringer to detail their download history is against the scope of the case, and that DBC doesn't have the right to conduct a "Royal Comission".

DBC has yet to disclose how much it will demand from alleged infringers, suggesting the amount would vary on a case-by-case basis. The rights holder suggested that it could provide a range of figures it would ask for, ranging from least serious to most serious offenders. These have yet to been disclosed.

Justice Nye Perram is allowing DBC to not publically disclose the methodology used to determine the fine, but the studio said it will take a licensing fee and contribution to court fees into account, along with the potential for additional damages dependent on how many times the film had been shared by the individual in question.

Justice Perram will examine this methodology to determine whether or not he would, in effect, be handing DBC a "blank cheque" that could be used extort alleged infringers.

In addition, DBC requested that its draft letter and telephone script should not be made public, in the event that it allows alleged infringers to work out how to reduce the fees demand for by the company. Justice Perram declined this request.

Justice Perram is expected to hand down a final judgement between July 10 and July 15.

Leave a Reply