Popcorn Time Users ‘Fined’ Over Michael Douglas Movie

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The popularity of streaming movie app Popcorn Time is being leveraged once again, with several hundred users now being targeted for downloading a Michael Douglas movie. Unlucky users are receiving letters containing demands for several hundred dollars but as always the threat of greater punishment looms in the background.

Considering its massive rise to fame in the past 18 months it’s little wonder that Popcorn Time is still causing controversy. With millions of users in dozens of countries the ‘Netflix for Pirates’ is firmly on the radar of Hollywood.

Just lately, however, Popcorn Time has attracted the attention of copyright trolls, the anti-piracy enforcers that inhabit the very bottom of the rightsholder food chain.

Infamous U.S. studio Voltage Pictures recently began targeting Popcorn Time users who downloaded the movie Dallas Buyers Club and in recent weeks troubled piracy monetization outfit Rightscorp launched its own questionable anti-Popcorn service.

Now users of the software in Scandinavia are coming under fire, with hundreds of Danish Internet account holders being hit with cash demands after their connections were linked with infringements of the Michael Douglas movie ‘And So It Goes‘.

The demands for compensation are being issued by lawfirm Opus Law acting on behalf of the Denmark division of Scanbox Entertainment. They appear to average around $320, a much lower sum than is usually demanded in the United States, for example, but still a considerable amount for a single movie.

Of course, in the background of what is portrayed as a generous initial offer, trolls often indicate that worse could be round the corner if Internet users don’t agree to settle. This case is no different.

“It’s clear that we did not start the case with the intention of ending up in court, but at the same time it is also clear that when we are ultimately faced with a case where we can not agree [to settle], then we need to go to court,” Opus lawyer Niels Hald-Nielsen told DR.dk.

As the publication notes, there have been no file-sharing related civil actions in Denmark since 2011, which means there is no precedent to indicate what kind of punishment a court might settle on in such a case.

Nevertheless, Hald-Nielsen feels that the settlement offer is a generous one and even suggests that Popcorn Time users are more damaging than users of other file-sharing software.

“The reason why I think that the amount I suggest – [$320] – is reasonable, is that when you distribute a film through Popcorn Time, it goes out to a much wider circle of people and the harm is just so much bigger,” the lawyer says.

These legal threats come on the heels of other recent Popcorn Time related events in Denmark. In March a local producer threatened to target users of the software and during August two men running Popcorn Time information websites were arrested by police.


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