Pornographic films on BitTorrent: Flava Works gets huge damages

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Image caption Codes embedded in pirated copies of the movies were traced back to Kywan Fisher

An American man has been hit with a $1.5m (£932,000) fine for pirating 10 pornographic movies via BitTorrent.

A federal court in Illinois awarded the damages of $150,000 per movie to Flava Works - the creator of the pornographic films.

The figure is believed to the biggest awarded in a file-sharing case.

The award is thought to be so large because the accused, Kywan Fisher, did not defend himself against claims that he pirated the movies.

In court, Flava Works presented evidence which it said demonstrated that Mr Fisher was the person who put copies of its films on a BitTorrent site.

In its evidence, Flava revealed that it had embedded unique codes in the copies of its films that customers pay to view. Digital detective work connected the code in the pirated films back to Mr Fisher, who had earlier signed up as a customer of Flava and paid to view the movies.

Once shared via BitTorrent the films were downloaded or viewed 3,449 times, said Flava during its court statements.

Flava claimed Mr Fisher had exhibited "wilful copyright infringement" and violated the terms and conditions of the pay-to-view video service he signed up for.

US Judge John Lee noted Flava's evidence in his summary and said in light of that and the lack of any defence or objection by Mr Fisher, he had no choice but to issue a default judgement in favour of the adult movie maker.

It is not clear whether Mr Fisher will appeal against the judgement or whether he can pay the fine.

Mr Fisher was one of 15 people that Flava pursued for pirating its movies. However, the cases against all the others were dropped earlier this year for lack of evidence.

Many content creators, including movie studios and record labels, have pursued pirates in the courts using net, or IP, addresses as evidence.

However, many of these cases have been dropped as in May, a US federal judge ruled that an IP address was not sufficient evidence to accuse a person of being a pirate.

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