Court rules Dallas Buyers letter too demanding

The Federal Court ruled on Friday that the proposed letter to illegal downloaders of The Dallas Buyers Club demanded too much.

Due to the court’s concerns about speculative invoicing, the makers of the Dallas Buyers Club film were ordered to show the court letters intended for illegal downloaders, after the Federal Court ordered internet service providers to hand over the details of the downloaders back in April.

On Friday, the Federal Court refused the proposed letter.

“It was quite long and, on the whole, negative about people copying the film, which is hardly surprising,” Justice Nye Perram wrote.
“Critically, however, it did not make any demand for a sum of money.  Instead, it encouraged recipients to make a telephone call to discuss the matter or to engage in email correspondence with an unidentified representative of DBC.”

The letter reportedly asked for details of how many films the person had downloaded and the person’s salary.
According to the ABC, downloaders were asked for four types of payment in the letter;
  • The cost of the purchase of a single copy of the film,
  • A "licence fee" for each person found to have also uploaded the film,
  • Extra damages depending on how many copies of other copyrighted works had been downloaded by each infringer,
  • Court costs for expenses in retrieving each downloader's name.
The court deemed the letters request for court costs and the purchase cost of the film legitimate, but said the licence fee and the extra damages too much.  Justice Perram may still give the film makers access to downloader’s personal information but they are likely to get a significantly smaller sum than what they were asking for.

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