Village Roadshow wants to sue 'hundreds' of Australians for pirating Mad Max and other movies

Warner Bros. Pictures

Entertainment company Village Roadshow will reportedly pursue legal action against “hundreds” of Australians the company believes illegally downloaded its films.

The AFR reports Village will act later this year, along with a campaign to stop Google from indexing pages that contain pirated films and TV shows.

Business Insider has contacted Village Roadshow and Creative Content Australia, the industry association representing the entertainment sector, for comment.

The plan is reminiscent of the lawyers for Dallas Buyers Club three years ago demanding pirates sign a $US7000 settlement while threatening up to $US150,000 damages as an alternative – a strategy that was thwarted in the courts in Australia in 2015.

Creative Content Australia chair and Village Roadshow executive officer Graham Burke told the AFR that while offenders would be pursued “vigorously”, any damages sought would be gentler than the Dallas Buyers Club.

“We will be looking for damages commensurate with what they’ve done,” he said.

“We’ll be saying ‘You’ve downloaded our Mad Max: Fury Road, our Red Dog, and we want $40 for the four movies plus $200 in costs.'”

Burke is cognisant of public opinion turning against big entertainment companies in the 2000s when vulnerable people like children and the elderly were targetted with lawsuits from music record labels for illegal downloads.

“We will identify people who are stealing our product, we will ask them do they have ill health or dire circumstances, and if they do and undertake to stop, we’ll drop the case,” he said.

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