Some 5,000 Australians are expected to receive a letter from a Hollywood production company demanding payment for illegal downloads of its film Dallas Buyers Club, it was reported on Wednesday.
A landmark Federal Court ruling ordered several Australian internet service providers, including iiNet, to hand over the identities of thousands of account holders whose internet connections were allegedly used to share the Hollywood film, Fairfax Media reported.
Dallas Buyers Club LLC and Voltage Pictures LLC targeted six Australian telcos -- iiNet, Internode, Dodo, Amnet, Adam Internet and Wideband Networks -- when they sought personal details associated with more than 4,700 IP addresses that were used to share the movie using BitTorrent.
Michael Bradley, the lawyer representing Dallas Buyers Club, starring Matthew McConaughey, in the precedent-setting piracy case, said the company will seek compensation.
"Ultimately for the owner of the film that's what's it's about because they've lost a lot of money," he told Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Wednesday.
The U.S. companies sent letters to illegal downloaders claiming they were liable for damages of up to 150,000 U.S. dollars unless settlement fees of up to 7,000 U.S. dollars were paid.
The chief executive of industry body, Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation, Lori Flekser, was pleased with the landmark piracy judgment.
She hopes it will be a deterrent to piracy which affects the livelihood of Australia's independent filmmakers.
"Most recently, two small Australian films, Wyrmwood and The Little Death, were seriously pirated," she said.
"Not when they were in the cinemas but when they were available on DVD. So it's not always about availability and access, it's simply about people wanting something for nothing."
Flekser said with every film that's pirated, potential future investors are scared away, draining the industry's lifeblood.