Saper Law Defends BitTorrent Copyright Lawsuits Brought by Bodyguard Productions

Bodyguard Productions, Inc., is a production company that produced the 2017 drama The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which stars Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson. Bodyguard Productions has filed lawsuits against individuals that, Bodyguard Production alleges, violated their copyrights to The Hitman’s Bodyguard by illegally downloading, acquiring, or otherwise sharing digital copies of the film using file sharing systems, such as BitTorrent.

How It Works

BitTorrent is what is known as a Peer-to-Peer network: it operates by having users download parts of the film and then upload those parts when they have been watched. This type of transmission may be legal if the film has been purchased and the production company receives appropriate royalties; however, Bodyguard Productions alleges that the copies of The Hitman’s Bodyguard that are on BitTorrent are pirated (i.e., stolen) copies. This means that users who share the film and/or have copies of the film on their computer may be liable for copyright infringement, regardless of whether the individual intended to share the film or knew exactly how BitTorrent worked.

In order to identify the locations of the allegedly stolen films, Bodyguard Productions uses a geo-location software to identify which IP addresses (the unique tag that identifies any computer that uses the Internet to communicate over a network) contain these films. Once the IP addresses have been identified, Bodyguard Productions and their lawyers file copyright infringement lawsuits against “John Does,” or the unknown people behind the IP addresses. In order to identify the “John Does,” Bodyguard Production’s lawyers obtain leave to serve subpoenas to be issued to Internet Service Providers (ISPs; i.e., Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner) for the names and addresses of the individuals corresponding to the IP  addresses. After the subpoena is received, the ISP will contact the applicable subscriber(s) that the subscriber’s information has been requested. If the subscriber fails to take action, the ISP will then authorize the release of the appropriate subscriber’s information to Bodyguard Productions/

Bodyguard Production Lawsuits in the Chicagoland Area

Bodyguard Productions has filed lawsuits against “John Does” in New York, Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, Utah, and Virginia. However, Chicago has been the biggest hotspot for Bodyguard Production filings. Since October 2017, 51 cases have been filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, with 21 cases in the last month alone. Since several users share IP addresses, each lawsuit is filed against at least 10 individual “John Does,” with some suits containing as many as 34 individuals. All the while, most of the lawsuits have been filed by a single attorney: Michael A. Hierl of Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd.

What to Do Next: Contact Saper Law Offices

If this situation sounds familiar, Saper Law Offices can help. Our attorneys have represented numerous individuals who allegedly illegally downloaded films, including those recently involved in the UN4 Productions, Inc. suits. If you received a letter or notification from your ISP, Bodyguard Productions, Inc. or an attorney representing the company, such as Michael A. Hierl of Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd., then you should contact Saper at (312) 527-4100 or click here to book a consultation.

For more information regarding BitTorrent and copyright implications, listen to Saper Law’s BitTorrent and Copyright Podcast here. You can see prior cases that Saper law is been involved in herehere, and here.

 

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