Production company goes after illegal downloads of Steven Seagal film

By Jim Boyle | Dec 4, 2014

Christopher Fiore

The makers of a Steven Seagal movie have filed federal copyright infringement suits at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against multiple users of a file sharing website who allegedly illegally downloaded copies of the film.

Good Man Productions, Inc., seeks damages in excess of $150,000 from each suspected defendant, named John Does in each complaint and identified with their IP addresses. According to the complaint, geolocation tracking software was used to determine that the users downloaded the movie in the Eastern District using popular peer-to-peer file sharing website BitTorrent.

The claim says that Good Man Productions spent $7 million to produce the film, a direct-to-video action movie starring Seagal as a retired special ops agent dragged into a war between the Chinese and Russian mafia.

BitTorrent has become one of the top sites to view and download pirated movies, the claim says, because it allows the users to interact directly with each other without using intermediary programs to handle the massive data transfers. The hosting websites can be subject to take-down notices and regulatory enforcement actions.

According to the complaint, the BitTorrent program helps users distribute large files by breaking it up into smaller pieces. Each piece is assigned a unique cryptographic value that acts as the digital fingerprint, the claim says. The values are used to keep track of the correlating pieces. When the defendants receive all of the files, the software reassembles it into the full file.

The claims say that the production company contracted an infringement detection company, Excipio, to establish a direct connection with each defendant and download part of the copyrighted material from their hard drives.

By illegally downloading the film, the defendants infringed upon Good Man Productions' exclusive right to reproduce and distribute the movie for sale, the suit says. Besides punitive damages, the complaint also seeks a permanent injunction against the defendants to cease sharing the film and delete the files from their computers.

The plaintiffs are represented by Christopher Fiore of Fiore & Barber in Harleysville, Pa.

The federal case ID is 2:14-cv-06864-CMR.

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