The studio behind Oscar-winning movie Dallas Buyers Club has given illegal downloaders in Singapore three days to pay a fine of their own choosing.
The letters have reportedly been sent to customers of M1, a Singaporean internet service provider, who allegedly downloaded the film without paying, TODAY Online reported.
Recipients of the letter were told to pay however much they believed was fair within the set deadline, and to also delete any unlicensed versions of the film in their possession.
Singaporean media have not indicated if a consequence for late payment was mentioned.
A lawyer for Voltage Pictures, the studio behind the 2014 movie, said the company took the action to prevent the cascading effect of piracy.
“When the public downloads our client’s movie using peer-to-peer networks, at the same time they are also uploading the film and they become illegal distributors globally,” lawyer Robert Raj said.
“One person can turn into 10, which in turn can turn into 100 or to thousands,” he said.
Voltage Pictures recently won the legal right to force internet service providers in Australia to divulge the names of customers who illegally downloaded the movie.
Consumers who committed no crime could be intimidated into payment by such letters, experts have warned.
The court verdict “potentially paves the way” for so-called speculative invoices (of which these Singaporean letters are arguably an example) to reach our shores, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) previously told The New Daily.
But before Voltage Pictures could attempt such a tactic in Australia, it would first need the approval of a senior judge.