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More than 20,000 defendants have been dismissed from a lawsuit involving illegal online file-sharing of the movie The Hurt Locker.

The makers of the film brought the suit against a record-breaking 24,583 defendants earlier this year; now, the suing party, Voltage Pictures, has voluntarily let around 90 percent of those defendants off the hook.

According to documents filed with a Washington, DC, district court, all but 2,300 defendants are being “voluntarily dismissed without prejudice.”

Voltage Pictures is still seeking damages from more than 2,300 defendants. However, the company has yet to positively identify most of the defendants due to the fact that it must work with Internet service providers to link IP addresses with allegedly infringing parties.

And since many of the anonymous defendants are filing motions of their own with the ISPs, identifying all the defendants is taking more than the allotted 120 days that Voltage Pictures has to serve them with papers.

According to recent filings, “In circumstances where a Doe [unidentified] defendant has not filed the motion and only sent it to the ISP, most ISPs withhold the identifying information so that the Doe defendant can then file the motion with the court. Further, plaintiff’s counsel has been informed by the ISPs that numerous Doe defendants have recently re-filed their motions or have filed motions for reconsideration of the Court’s prior rulings.”

In other words, in trying to track down and prosecute 24,000 torrenters en masse, Voltage has without question bit off more than they can chew, especially since the alleged infringers are fighting back.

Voltage is seeking more time from the court to identify and serve the remaining 2,300 defendants.

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