California death metal act All Shall Perish – who have penned tracks with titles like “There Is No Business To Be Done On A Dead Planet” and “Stabbing To Purge Dissimulation” – aren’t known for their sunny disposition. But the group has had justification for their gloomy outlook as of late, thanks to a lawsuit being brought upon 180 of their fans. Panama based company World Digital Rights, Inc. filed suit on April 20th in the US District Court For The Middle District of Florida against two groups of John Does whose IP addresses were picked up in BitTorrent download swarm for the band’s latest album This Is Where It Ends. As TorrentFreak reported, the band, their management and record label were blindsided by news of the suit. All Shall Perish only learned of the lawsuit after catching a wave of negative fan feedback.
The lack of information from the band isn’t the only strange wrinkle in this story. Very few lawsuits have been filed against individual downloaders in the past few years. The practice, once popular in the early Aughts, has been largely abandonded by the major labels and by the RIAA. There is some precedent for lawsuits being filed against P2P infringers en masse: in 2010, the producers of the movie The Hurt Locker filed against a staggering 24, 583 users who were charged with downloading the film over P2P services.
While this current suit from World Digital Rights, Inc. isn’t a fraction as large as The Hurt Locker case that hasn’t diminished pushback against it from the band and fans alike. Unfortunately the group has little say in the matter as it appears that their label, Nuclear Blast, signed the some of the band’s rights over to World Digital Rights, making them the exclusive licensee of the group’s most recent album. And with statutory damages of up to $150,000, it looks like the 180 soon to be ex-John Does may soon have to pony up some cash.