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The makers of the Oscar-winning film The Hurt Locker are aiming to put users that illegally downloaded the film in a world of financial hurt. Voltage Pictures, which produced the movie, is working with the U.S. Copyright Group to threaten and potentially sue 24,583 BitTorrent users, according to TorrentFreak.
The lawsuit will be the largest BitTorrent suit in history and might be a sign of building momentum to fight against piracy fueled by BitTorrent clients and trackers. Just a few weeks back, more than 23,000 BitTorrent users were expected to get a legal notice from U.S. Copyright Group for illegally downloading The Expendables.
The makers of The Hurt Locker started the process of threatening legal action against BitTorrent users about a year ago with only 5,000 defendants. Now that they’ve added 20,000 more IP addresses to the list, the story is even more notable and deserves more scrutiny.
The U.S. Copyright Group is a business registered by the law firm Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver, and has no government ties. The company’s system is to threaten users with a “pay up or else” lawsuit to get them to pay a fee between $1,000 and $3,000. The Copyright Group has itself been sued in the past by Torrent users for fraud and extortion.
The Hurt Locker only made $49 million worldwide even though the film won the Academy Award for Best Picture, so it’s understandable the makers were frustrated with piracy. That said, there are other reasons why the film may not have succeeded the box office. Chief among those is that the film had small distribution on its initial run during the summer of 2009 and didn’t start making waves during awards season until it was already on DVD.