from the now-that's-how-it's-done dept
Wired has a “big” story up covering how various indie filmmakers seem to be jumping on the “sue downloaders as a business model,” bandwagon. It notes that for some filmmakers, these legal shakedowns are becoming the business model of choice:
Welcome to the future of Hollywood, or at least the less glittery outskirts of Tinsel Town that produce art films, exploitation flicks and porn. Over the past year, small-budget film producers have nearly perfected a slick, courtroom-based business strategy that?s targeted more than 130,000 suspected movie downloaders.
As the article notes, this is wholly different from the RIAA’s multi-year lawsuit strategy (which was a big money loser), which was supposed to be about deterrent. These new lawsuits are all about squeezing people for cash. Of course, if you read Techdirt, there’s not much new there. But it is a nice piece bringing a bunch of these stories together.
But here is something new. Over at THREsq, Eriq Gardner picks up on the Wired story, and notes that the main example used by Wired reporter David Kravets, the B-movie Nude Nuns With Big Guns — which Camelot Distribution Group has used to sue 5,865 alleged downloaders, claiming they’re owed $880 million dollars — may be even more ridiculous than some of the others. That’s because Camelot is being sued by Incentive Capital for “breach of contract and fraud” in relation to a $650,000 loan that was given to Camelot to acquire the rights to various films, including Nude Nuns With Big Guns. Since Camelot failed to live up to its payment requirements, Incentive foreclosed on the film — to which “no objection was made.” So, technically, it appears that Camelot no longer holds the rights to the movie at all… despite the lawsuits over it.
Yes, you read that right. Camelot didn’t make the movie. It has little to do with the movie. It apparently took out a loan to acquire the rights, sued nearly 6,000 people demanding cash for downloading the movie… and, according to the company who lent it the money, failed to pay back the loan, meaning they took control over the rights. Think about that for a second. That’s quite a business model: borrow money, “buy” the rights to a film, sue thousands of people demanding they pay up, and don’t pay back the loan, let the lending company “reclaim” the rights, but keep the lawsuits (and the cashflow) coming in.
Of course, it seems like this could open Camelot up to serious legal consequences, especially since it filed the lawsuit against those thousands of file sharers approximately two weeks after Incentive allegedly took over the rights to the film…