A leading online gay adult content company, Corbin Fisher, has been criticised for threatening to sue 40,000 people who have illegally downloaded its videos.

In late January, the company announced that it had the IP addresses of thousands of web surfers who had used BitTorrent to access its content and would launch a wave of antipiracy lawsuits against them.

It also offered an amnesty to any individual who had been illegally uploading or downloading Corbin Fisher material by paying a one-time fee of $1,000 by the 8th of February to avoid being sued.

Last week, the company extended the amnesty to March 1st but the settlement fee has increased to $1900, including a year’s subscription.

“Despite the fact that these people are stealing from us, we wanted to give them a chance to admit their mistakes and move on,” said Brian Dunlap, Corbin Fisher’s COO. “Therefore, we are offering this limited period where we will resolve these cases quickly and cheaply.”

He added: “Since offering the original amnesty period, we’ve discovered thousands more IP addresses worldwide, and are engaging counsel in three other countries to start filing claims. We will continue to move worldwide on the industry-critical issue of piracy.”

However, some have slammed the company’s gung-ho actions saying that its lawsuits could cause teenagers and others to be outed with potentially dangerous consequences.

Marc Randazza, general counsel for Corbin Fisher, told that “We are acutely sensitive to any issues like that. We have taken great pains and at great expense at times [to avoid outing anyone]”.

He added that the studio also produced straight adult content which meant that offenders did not have to reveal their sexual orientation.

“One of our DVDs sold 600 units, and on one website alone, it had been downloaded 11,000 times. Something had to be done about it,” said Randazza.

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