No, this isn't a rehashing of news from last year. Voltage Pictures, the maker of the Oscar-winning Hurt Locker, has filed a new lawsuit targeting 20,000 more alleged BitTorrent users. The anonymous defendants are accused of pirating the film over the p2p protocol. This brings the total number of users sued by Voltage Pictures to 24,583.
The lawsuit seeks to force ISPs to reveal the personal details of the users behind those 20,000 IP addresses. It is a tactic several studios have used in the last year, and the whole thing was kicked off by Voltage Pictures' original suit. A judge must decide if the ISPs will be forced to hand over the information. Though, we should point out that the judge on the case, Beryl Howell, is a former RIAA lobbyist. If Voltage gets the details on a user, they will send out a settlement offer. The goal is not to go to court, but to intimidate users into paying up.
Several ISPs have worked out deals wherein they will work through a certain number of the subpoenas each month. For some ISPs, that could take years. Comcast has the most horses in the race (over 10,000), but has not worked out an agreement. Verizon for instance has agreed to do 100 per month. It would take them more than five years to get through all 5,239 users. We also wonder how long the ISPs are supposed to be keeping our data anyway. How do you think this is going to pan out?