Over 23,000 IP addresses cited in BitTorrent suit

A massive list of IP addresses was presented in U.S. District Court last week, paving the way for what could become the biggest BitTorrent case ever.

A BitTorrent file-sharing case could soon have more than 23,000 defendants.

Back in March, Judge Robert Wilkins of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia allowed Nu Image, a production company and the plaintiff in the case against "Does 1 to 6,500," to start seeking out contact information, including full name and address, related to IP addresses it had already collected.

Those IP addresses, Nu Image said at the time, were "Doe Defendants" who had allegedly pirated copies of last year's "The Expendables" using the BitTorrent protocol. Sylvester Stallone directed and starred in the film; LA-based Nu Image was involved in its production.

Last week, Nu Image filed another court document that included more than 23,000 IP addresses of people who allegedly pirated the film. If folks who use those IP addresses are sued as part of the case, it could become the biggest BitTorrent-related lawsuit thus far.

This case, filed earlier this year, is one of many that have been or are currently under way against alleged copyright infringers across the U.S.

For example, Lime Wire, a former go-to place for file sharers, was finally taken down last year after a protracted court battle with the Recording Industry Association of America. Currently, a jury is mulling how much Lime Wire founder Mark Gorton will pay in damages. The jury is allowed to level a fine of $7 million to $1.4 billion .

But whether Nu Image will be allowed to use the personal information it gathers from the thousands of IP addresses it has collected is up for debate. Just last week, U.S. District Court Judge Harold Baker ruled in a separate case that IP addresses cannot adequately identify an individual.

Baker pointed out that a person can easily use another individual's Internet connection to engage in illegal activity.

His point is well-taken. Last month, federal agents entered a Buffalo, N.Y., man's home, accused him of downloading child pornography, and seized his computers. Three days later, they returned his equipment and acknowledged that he was, in fact, innocent. A 25-year-old neighbor was arrested soon thereafter for allegedly using the innocent man's Wi-Fi to download child pornography.

Regardless, Nu Image is forging ahead. According to Wired, which first reported the story, more than 23,000 alleged file sharers will "soon" be notified that they are being sued for allegedly downloading copies of "The Expendables."

The plaintiff's attorney did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.

 

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