STTN Capital is getting litigious again with Peter Bogdanovich movie She’s Funny That Way.
The producer of the film, which stars Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, is already in arbitration with Clarius Capital Group over problems with the U.S. release of the movie.
On Nov. 6, STTN filed at least five suits against unnamed defendants they claim illegally posted the film to BitTorrent websites, resulting in significant piracy that damaged the film financially. The lawsuits were filed in the United States District Court in Illinois against more than 100 defendants — all of whom are identified by their Internet IP addresses and not by name.
STTN says the legal action is the start of a planned international anti-piracy campaign, with further, similar suits planned across the U.S., Europe and Asia. This kind of mass John Doe attack has been done before for such films as Dumb and Dumber To and The Dallas Buyers’ Club.
The legal stratagem of suing anonymous users of BitTorrent for sharing copyrighted work is controversial with a few judges questioning whether merely identifying an IP address is enough evidence to pin blame for piracy on its user.
What also sets the She’s Funny That Way case apart from ones like that of Dallas Buyers Club is the fact that the film didn’t get a traditional theatrical release but went out via Lionsgate on SVOD, with a small theatrical platform bow. Initially, Clarius Capital Group had picked up domestic rights and was planning a significant theatrical bow.
But, according to STTN, while Clarius had guaranteed a P&A commitment of more than $24.5 million and a minimum 1,500 screen bow, the company only made a $900,000 payment on a $4.5 million minimum guarantee and couldn’t come up with the funds to release the picture theatrically.