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Time Warner Cable Claims Pirate Hunting Is 'Burdensome' Work

On the heels of last week's news that the producers of The Hurt Locker had joined a coalition targeting tens of thousands of people who illegally downloaded movies, Time Warner Cable has stepped in to say the pursuit is creating a burden for the company.

THR, Esq. reports that TWC, one of the nation's largest Internet service providers, has filed a third-party motion to quash or modify a subpoena for 809 IP addresses in a case involving Uwe Boll's Far Cry. The cable company is asking a judge to protect it "from excessive and burdensome costs" by limiting the number of lookup requests to 28 a month, "because that is the outer limit of what TWC can reasonably handle."

The company, which until March 2009 was part of media giant Time Warner, operates in 27 states.

TWC says that until recently it received an average of 567 requests a month, primarily from law-enforcement agencies. But because of cases involving the U.S. Copyright Group, which represents a group of independent movie producers, the company has been asked to provide identifying information for about 6,284 anonymous defendants in relation to 1,468 IP addresses. (Those numbers, THR notes, doesn't include The Hurt Locker action, which has yet to be filed.) The cable company has just four full-time employees dedicated to handling legal requests.

TWC claims the U.S. Copyright Group earlier agreed to limit requests to 28 a month in exchange for the cable company reducing the cost per address lookup to $32.50. Since then, however, TWC says it has been served with more subpoenas, in breach of the agreement.

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