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Illegal downloads of Dallas Buyers Club in Singapore; telcos to disclose customer details

Zafirah Salim | April 9, 2015
M1 has complied with the court order and StarHub is in the process of doing so, while SingTel must do so by the end of the month.

Photo credits to IMDb

More than 500 Internet protocol (IP) addresses in Singapore have been identified by a US film studio for illegally downloading the Oscar-winning film Dallas Buyers Club, reported The Straits Times.

Over the last weekend, local law firm Samuel Seow Law Corp - which represents film rights holder Dallas Buyers Club LLC - sent out its first batch of letters to Internet users here asking for a written offer of damages and costs within three days of receiving the letter. It is not known how many have responded to the letter.

The IP addresses that were identified were subscribers of the three major Internet service providers (ISPs) in Singapore - Singtel, StarHub, and M1. Meanwhile, MyRepublic and ViewQwest said they had not received any request for subscriber details.

High Court orders telco to disclose customer details 

The High Court has ordered the three major local telcos to disclose customer information to Samuel Seow Law Corp over the alleged illegal movie downloads.

M1 was reportedly the first to receive the court order in January this year. It has complied with the court order, releasing names, NRIC numbers and addresses of subscribers linked to the IP addresses in question.

The telco initially did not accede to the request. However, Dallas Buyers Club LLC subsequently applied for a hearing at the High Court. Only after the High Court granted the order did M1 proceed to disclose the information.

Meanwhile, StarHub and Singtel said that it is in the midst of complying with the court order. Both telcos have appointed external counsel to represent them in court.

"At court, our lawyers highlighted our legal obligations to keep our customers' information confidential and requested the court to consider if the evidence provided by the Dallas Buyers Club was sufficiently detailed and clear to support their claims of infringement for purposes of compelling Singnet to disclose our subscribers' identities," a Singtel spokesperson told Channel NewsAsia.

Singtel also said it has until the end of the month to provide information on about 150 of its customers, following the court order.

Similar illegal download clampdown in Australia and US

On Monday, ISPs in Australia were forced to hand over the personal details of almost 5,000 users who were alleged to have shared the movie on online file-sharing networks such as BitTorrent. Similar action is being sought by Dallas Buyers Club LLC in the United States.

The users were told they were liable for damages of up to US$150,000 (S$202,500) in court unless settlement fees of up to US$7,000 were paid, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.


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