Thomas Dunlap

CNet News

This man may soon know your name.

Thomas Dunlap is the attorney representing at least a dozen independent movie studios, including the makers of the Oscar-winning film, “The Hurt Locker.” If you illegally shared any of his clients films online then Dunlap, a founder of the law firm Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver may have collected your Internet protocol address. He may at this minute be requesting a subpoena that compels your Internet service provider to turn over your identity.

Dunlap and his firm, which also operates as U.S. Copyright Group, will then likely file a copyright complaint against you in federal court. But before that, he will give you an opportunity to settle the case for maybe as much as $2,900. This has already happened to many of the 5,000 people Dunlap has accused of pirating “The Hurt Locker.”

Dunlap appears to be the Gung ho kind and well suited for the copyright wars. Educated in Switzerland, fluent in French, the former U.S. Army Captain has a license to drive a tank. He has a Master’s degree in biotechnology in addition to his law degree and enjoys kickboxing and piloting aircraft. He has almost single handedly revived the practice of suing individual file sharers for copyright violations, which appeared to die when the music industry dropped their five-year litigation campaign nearly two years ago. Now, even the adult-film industry is trying to adopt a similar antipiracy strategy.

  1. Joe M says:

    A message to this tool, and the tools he represents. Come up with a legal way to view first run movies, and illegal sharing will drop like a rock.

    I would gladly pay a big premium to enjoy a first run movie in my home. While I’ve had some good experiences in theaters, all too often I have to listen to people speaking, sticky floors, crying children, overpriced snacks, and overdriven sound systems.

    Stop letting the theater operators dictate movie distribution terms.

  2. Benjamin says:

    Content creators should be able to offer their work for whatever terms they care to offer it. If the terms are not fair, then I feel free to ignore their work.

    Besides, there is plenty of free content online for the asking. There are podcasts, Hulu, and open source software. I don’t need to pirate anything.

    I did download a book once on Bit Torrent. That was only because the printers mangled the end of the book that I did purchase. I just wanted to see how the book ended. The author still got paid for his book. Ultimately the bookstore replaced the book, but I didn’t want to wait until the next day to read the last chapter.

  3. Cephus says:

    Good thing I have no interest in watching such a crappy movie to begin with, huh?

  4. yoyo says:

    I can’t wait to finish up law school and start defending people guys like this sue.

  5. MikeN says:

    And what will your defense be?

  6. bobbo, the law is an ass, if you ride it, don't fall off says:

    Get Smart–with the internet providing all kinds of free information how come you don’t understand file sharing/copyright violations any better than you do? Or even how lawsuits work?

    “Verifiable proof?”—Ha, ha. Thats a laugh. But then, prison is full of people yelling: “You can’t do this to me.”

    Even while our corp, err–government, is doing it as I type.

  7. MikeN says:

    >File sharing is just something that will have to be put up with

    Yea, that’s about right, and obvious, like many other things that are criminal activities. The point is, if it is made legal, then their is little incentive for people to produce anything. Spend $100-200 million to make a movie, and you get the box office sales, and the sale price of one dvd, which will be copied and put online for anyone to download for free. People would not be paying $1 for itunes if they could get a reliable legal free download.

    THe companies tried suing the filesharing companies, and the complaint was this is a legit technology that can be used for legal means, so no case. So now they go after individual filesharers, who are the ones committing the crime, and now you say that is not acceptable either. Perhaps legally there is no proof. You’re declaring it doesn’t make it so. Could you clarify this a little? Are you going with the shared router defense? Or perhaps the it’s legal to share with friends?

    I think a third option for the media companies is to go on these file sharing things themselves, build up a bit of a reputation, then plant viruses. Hey, you’re just downloading a copy from a friend, right? YOu can’t complain if he gives you a virus.

  8. Milo says:

    In a world without copyright we had Shakespeare. In a world with it, we have this movie…
    What exactly is worth protecting here?

  9. bobbo, how broken can the USA get before we fall says:

    #39–Mike==you really buy into the spin don’t you. “Balance in all things.” Review how copyright law has expanded “rights” since it was first legislated. It has morphed and so should your boot stomping fascist support. Odd what with quoting Shaw and all.

  10. MikeN says:

    So now it’s fascism if you are not allowed to steal at will.

  11. steamin'_pile_of_copyright_infringement says:

    I haven’t seen the movie as it sounded like a piece of propaganda – I am against the wars, but I despise propaganda from all sources.

    I don’t know how many people would actually PAY to see this movie. I hardly think it qualified as a blockbuster. I would recommend that in light of this fellow’s attitude towards the general public, that we simply boycott The Hurt Locker. No one sees it. No one’s going to miss it. When the phone don’t ring…you’ll know it’s me.

  12. John E. Quantum says:

    Suing the account holder of the ip address that downloaded illegal content doesn’t always punish the guilty.

  13. ECA says:

    Lets ask a few interesting questions..
    IF the theater is charging a FAIR price from the studio..
    The internet REMOVES most of the over head.

    Would a person PAY $2-5 for a first release film across the net?

    Understand something about this.
    I have links to about 20 sites to watch Video/movies/TV. ranging from Hulu to Cartoon network and others.
    WHY would I take the time to wonder the net, IF’ I was getting what I wanted to SEE on Cable/TV/Theater?

    Standard Operating procedure for BUSINESS, is to MATCH/MEET the consumer AT LEAST 1/2 way, and GIVE them what they want.
    Netflix and HULU and a few others are TRYING.
    The BIG corps arent SEEING what is happening, and the cause.

    This is available in other countries, but is RESTRICTED in the USA. And its an INSIDE BATTLE that you havnt seen.
    Since the VHS players have gone, what do you have to RECORD WITH? How many DVD players CAN/WILL play the computer formats, so you can WATCH your sampled movies/shows/shorts on a BIGGER TV??

    90% of the problem comes from the perception of PENNIES. EVERYONE wants Pennies. Every time a video is shown, they ALL want more pennies. And we arnt paying 1 group/person. You are paying Every person that every TOUCHED the program. The movie industry, BOUGHT the movie from another company that MADE the movie, then sent it threw the copying facility, then into the distribution facility, to the shipping facility. ALL that before the actors get PAID for EACh showing of the film.

    This does not even TOUCH the lawyers and consultants that get paid to protect the movie, or the DRM company that ADDS protection to the DVD..

  14. deowll says:

    I wish I enjoyed watching movies but I don’t. I’ve heard the name before but I don’t even know what it was about. I have no desire to watch it even free in fact I suspect that if it ran on free view I still would rather turn off the TV than watch it.

    If movie makers had to depend on people like me they’d certainly have to make very different movies.

  15. MikeN says:

    Let’s see a movie that wins 6 oscars including best picture, does ok at the box office, and people say it isn’t worth watching at all. So if it isn’t worth watching, why are people downloading it?

  16. Rich says:

    “So now they go after individual filesharers, who are the ones committing the crime…”

    I understand they use some shady technology to dip into file sharers’ “Share” folders and then derive the IP address and use this to start the ball rolling. The first element (sampling Share folders) sounds shady if not illegal and the second element (deriving IP addresses) is fraught with potential for misidentification. I believe these lawsuits are successful only because most users just roll over. Why doesn’t someone sue the bastards for spying on their computer’s contents? If a person snuck into your house and accessed your PC via the keyboard you’d bust him with a baseball bat, or worse.

  17. anonymous says:

    @ Rich- you dont need a “shady technology” to derive ip adresses, as many torrent clients display the ip adresses of computers you are connected to. all you need to do to get the adresses is get one of these dl clients, go to the site hosting the .torrent file of the movie, download it and let it do its thing. BAM. i got a whole list of adresses.

    Oh, btw, i steal my very internet, i bought a laptop with cash (no tracable credit card) and i am homeless soz go from wifi network to wifi network like a /bee/ stealing that precious file pollen from the internet! HOW THE F**K YOU GONNA TRACE ME?



  18. Rick Cain says:

    What is this “Hurt Locker” and how can it be worth $2900?

    Only real snuff flix cost $2900 a viewing.


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