Funimation is suing 1337 anime pirates for pirating a pirate anime.
The lawsuit, alleging copyright infringement and filed in a Texas court, accuses 1,337 IP addresses of the illegal bit-torrent distribution of episode 481 of One Piece.
The suit demands they delete the episode and desist from further unauthorised distribution, as well as possibly seeking damages and costs.
The actual identities of the alleged pirates the IP addresses belong to (“John Does”) would normally be included into the suit at a later date pending further investigation.
As the anime most widely available through legal channels the world over (being both simulcast and released onto DVD in unedited form), even the most self-righteous of anime pirates are likely to have trouble justifying illegal distribution of One Piece – not that this is likely to stop them trying.
However, some are speculating that the real reason behind the suit may be a reaction to the recent scape-goating of Funimation for the piracy of various simulcast series, and the unusual display of litigative wit in the selection of “1337” defendants certainly suggests an ulterior motive beyond the usual butting of heads between Internet and copyright holders.