Massive Hurt Locker lawsuit doesn't deter pirates

By on July 5, 2010, 9:02 PM
Between the period of January and May, a group of lawyers calling themselves the US Copyright Group partnered with a number of small-time filmmakers to sue over 14,000 people suspected of illegally downloading movies. It may not sound like a lot (it's nothing compared to the number of people actively pirating) but by comparison the RIAA targeted 18,000 file sharers over the span of five years.

For those unfamiliar with the story, the group leverages technology designed by a company called GuardaLey, which logs the IP address of those sharing a specific item over BitTorrent. Once collected, they get a court to force ISPs to reveal the account holders behind the IP addresses.

The firm then issues an ultimatum to the alleged pirates, who can settle for a set fee ($1,500 to $2,500 typically) and make the problem go away, or they can risk being taken to court for $150,000, on top of legal costs. Revenue pulled in from the settlements is split with filmmakers.

This practice went mostly unnoticed for months until May, when an estimated 5,000 people were accused of downloading The Hurt Locker. Despite being the most influential and prominent case so far, attracting tons of publicity, the folks at TorrentFreak say it hasn't had any impact.

The site reports that the movie was downloaded just over 200,000 times in June, putting it in the top 25 most downloaded movies of the month only a few percentage points lower than the previous month. About 23% of those downloads are US-based, where the legal action is taking place.

TorrentFreak's stats are entirely open to interpretation, but the numbers at least partially suggest that people aren't deterred by the increased risks involved with downloading The Hurt Locker. Naturally, it could also mean they were simply unaware. What's your take on the matter?




User Comments: 16

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SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Nobody downloaded or knew about that movie until it won a ton of Oscars, then it was too late to see in theaters for most everyone. So, people downloaded it, a lot. Their choice was to download it and see what all the fuss was about, and then possibly get it on dvd/bluray when it came out, OR not download it and completely forget about it when it came out on disc several months later.

The MPAA should appreciate the pirates.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

This group is no better than the downloaders, using mafia tactics. "Pay us $1500 to $2500 and we make the problem go away"?? They can't prove who downloaded what from an IP address. All they can do is get a name on an account. They can't prove that the account holder actually downloaded that peticular movie even if it came from their address. This amounts to you being in a bank at the time it got robbed so you must be an accomplice.

If this company is going to sue, then they should sue...period.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Darkshadoe said:

This group is no better than the downloaders, using mafia tactics. "Pay us $1500 to $2500 and we make the problem go away"?? They can't prove who downloaded what from an IP address. All they can do is get a name on an account. They can't prove that the account holder actually downloaded that peticular movie even if it came from their address. This amounts to you being in a bank at the time it got robbed so you must be an accomplice.

If this company is going to sue, then they should sue...period.

Agreed. Their preliminary letter wreaks of extortion, and isn't even that smart. $60-$80 is the cost of most standard 1TB hard drives. Why pay $1,500-$150,000 when you could get rid of the evidence, and make their burden of proof impossibly difficult, for a fraction of the cost?

I don't advocate piracy, though this just doesn't seem like a smart play by this particular gang of ambulance chasers. Any 10 year old could figure that out.

gobbybobby said:

This is horrible if you are one of the 14,000 people who where sued. ''Does not sound like alot'' maybe if you compare it to the number of people pirating but in my frame of mind 14,000 people is alot of people and potentially alot of money! While watching movies and not paying for them may be a bad thing, charging people $1000s of dollers is not really solving the problem. The movie companys should contact the people who pirated the movie and ask them why they did it, not ***** slap them in the face becuase they pirated it.

I expect at least some of the people plan to buy the movie on blueray/DVD when it is out. These file sharing websites need to take some of the blame for piracy, They release figures like HAY HAY guys the most pirated movie are the site this week was <movie here> How are they getting away with that? The law needs to change/ should have changed AGES AGO. This article is an interesting read. [link]

as SNGX1275 said, Piracy can be be a good thing, get people in the no about movies, TV shows and games/software. Personally the whole movies being released X number of months after the theaters stop playing them is wrong. the Film shoud be released the day after the theaters stop showing them. (this will prob anger the theaters a little)

Guest said:

what if somebody posted a link that said funny video and you clicked it and next thing you know you were downloading a movie but it was just titled *Michael jumping off the roof* but turned out to be The Hurt Locker. . . They would get sued too?

I am going to sue you for downloading a porn video, or you can give me $20 and I will drop the case that I have against you

we pay for HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Starz; The channels and on Demand, we have Netflix, Bockbuster (depending on where you are) and premium cable.

The fact that we are paying all this money and still not getting movies we want to watch proves that 'Pirating' / 'File Sharing' / 'illegal downloading' is just a form of communicating.

Now I understand if I download it and sold it making a profit off of it then fine that is Illegal but if I am just watching it move on I paid to see The Last Airbender 3D $16.50 per ticket, the video went out when playing we waited 30 mins for them to start the movie over another 15 mins for them to skip pass the scene we were at, we watched an hour of commercials (that we saw at the beginning of the movie) and then didn't get compensated for we couldn't find our tickets. plus the 136 mins on the crappy movie.

Oh and we still buy DVDs, I think if I download 20 or 100 movies for free you can deal cause with the nickle-and-diming we are going through with movies/theaters/DVD/TV companies/ Xbox (you need Gold to play Netflix)/ Blockbuster fees/ even the $5.99 Netflix/ Blue-Ray! you are doing just fine.

Docnoq said:

I think my two most hated professions are lawyers and tow truck drivers. Both are just filled with assholes who purposely try to make people miserable. What's that? You have a decal to park in this spot and we towed you? Oh well, pay up. What's that? You weren't the one who downloaded The Hurt Locker from this IP address and we have no proof it was you? Too bad. Pay up or we will take you to court and waste a ton of your money/time anyway.

Guest said:

Also what if I bought the bloody DVD and I wanted it on my iPad, iPhone, iPod, Zune, or PSP you want me to buy the movie again when I already own it?

That's like me selling you Ocean Water while you are drowning in the Ocean.

Deathstar17 said:

Use a VPN, problem solved.

tengeta tengeta said:

Download a movie 2 months after DVD release, problem almost always solved. Its called patience.

GangGreen said:

This has nothing to do with infringing. It has everything to do with creating a new revenue stream using unscrupulous legal tactics.

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

Deathstar17 said:

Use a VPN, problem solved.

Are you referring to iPredator? Or are you implying that using a proxy is a way to avoid IP logging? Because that proxy's IP will be logged by the tracker and its likely that the proxy will have your IP logged. There is a trail that can be followed, or in turn place the blame squarely on the owner of the proxy. But as long as thats not you, you're ok with it, right?

Guest said:

You realize that a proxy is NOT a VPN, yes? Your post is irrelevant.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Or pay for it? you know, like the good old days when the Law actually ment something and for that reason people stuck by it? Or is that not hip-hop enough for the majority of people?

This shouldn't be a problem in the first place, although they shouldn't sue people such a high amount of money, instead litterally charge them for the price of the film, since they probably have a fair amount of other films on file then you can rack up a fair amount and the user will realise that instead of spending $$$ in court fees then the price of the actual film itself, they can just go to there local store (or onto the web if you would prefer delivery) and get it that way saving soo much money!

TJGeezer said:

Hey, the lawyers are simply taking advantage of a law designed to give them all the power. MPAA and RIAA corporate political assets like law cosponsor Senator Feinstein should be held responsible if you don't like the results. As for the opportunistic lawyers, maybe they'll get lucky like the RIAA and one of their victims, er, miscreants will be a computer-illiterate grandmother of a troubled 13-year-old girl who actually downloaded the movie. Grandmother gives up the family home to keep the troubled child out of jail, the lawyers make hundreds of thousands of dollars, champagne flows, politicians get to posture about crime properly punished. W00t!

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

You realize that a proxy is NOT a VPN, yes? Your post is irrelevant.

Do you understand what a VPN is?

Lets think about this shall we.

In what way can you connect to a public tracker using a VPN?

Unless you're using iPredator there are no ways to torrent using a VPN connection directly. Instead you would VPN into a seperate network, and then use that network connection to connect to the public tracker.

Now when we connect to network A to make a connection to network B, this is called a proxy. A proxy has nothing to do with how the connection is made, eg. HTTP, SSH, VPN, etc.

So instead of explaining all this in my post, I figured that anyone that knows anything about VPN would understand that all you're doing is using encryption to proxy through another network.

Can I let go of your hand now?

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

PanicX said:

You realize that a proxy is NOT a VPN, yes? Your post is irrelevant.

Do you understand what a VPN is?

Lets think about this shall we.

In what way can you connect to a public tracker using a VPN?

Unless you're using iPredator there are no ways to torrent using a VPN connection directly. Instead you would VPN into a seperate network, and then use that network connection to connect to the public tracker.

Now when we connect to network A to make a connection to network B, this is called a proxy. A proxy has nothing to do with how the connection is made, eg. HTTP, SSH, VPN, etc.

So instead of explaining all this in my post, I figured that anyone that knows anything about VPN would understand that all you're doing is using encryption to proxy through another network.

Can I let go of your hand now?

lol! that made my day =)

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