Hurt Locker goes for dubious award

The makers of Hurt Locker are not satisfied with an Oscar. They want to break all records for the most people sued by a movie maker.

The cunning plan seems to be to sue everyone who ever downloaded the movie and according to court records that is 24,583 BitTorrent users.

Voltage Pictures has called the Guinness Book of Records and if it pulls it off it will presented with another award to sit on the shelf next to the Oscar, at MPAA bash

According to the outfit Voltage Pictures wants to make millions out of the BitTorrent users to make up for the cash they lost to pirates.

It is an interesting form of arrogance which says, we won an Oscar so you would have come to see the flick if you hadn’t downloaded it. Chances are if they had not downloaded it they would not have bothered at all. As it is, there are probably 24,000 BitTorrent users did not think it worth downloading and are wondering how it got an Oscar.

While 24,583 is a big number, it is a suprisingly low number of file-sharers attached to one flick. To make up any serious amount of cash they are going to have to be sued for some hundreds of thousands.

Last Voltage Pictures tried to sue 5,000 file-sharers and claimed that this figure was just the start. Now they have sued 20,000 more, making the film the largest BitTorrent lawsuit in history/

According to TorrentFreak  most of those sued are subscribers of Comcast (10,532), followed by Verizon (5,239), Charter (2,699) and Time Warner (1,750).

It is going to take a jolly long time before the case is ready. Charter has promised to look up 150 IP-addresses a month and Verizon 100 a month for all ongoing BitTorrent lawsuits. At that rate to get all the Verizon file-sharers details it is going to take at least ten years to hand over all the details. Of course after a certain amount of time the data would have to be destroyed.

Sadly the chance of anyone getting a fair trial is questionable. The case is being handled by a former RIAA-lobbyist Judge Beryl Howell thanks to a quirk in US Justice which says that if you are an industry body you can appoint your own judges to cases where you sue little people. We are not sure where that is in the fine print of the US constitution, but we are guessing that there are 24,583 people wishing that little revolution had not taken place.

Last week Judge Howell decided to dismiss 119 motions to dismiss, quash, and for protective orders en masse, so this does not bode well.

Once ISPs give up their personal details those identified are expected to receive a settlement offer from Voltage Pictures.

The film made $17 million at the box office. Which on the scale of things is tiny. However if the studios squeeze $2,000 each out of the file shares then they will rake in $20 million.

It looks like the business model for the next decade will be to make up for lacklustre box office returns by suing file-sharers. They do not even have to be real, you just need their IP address to send the boys around to collect $2,000. God bless America.