Hurt Locker lawsuit targeting pirates comes to a halt

By on January 2, 2012, 1:11 PM

Refusing a request for an extension by prosecutors, Judge Beryl Howell has effectively put an abrupt end to one of the largest anti-piracy lawsuits in history. Interestingly this decision comes from a Judge who is a former RIAA lobbyist.

The now infamous "reverse class-action" lawsuit by Voltage Pictures targeted 24,583 individuals who were alleged to have illegally downloaded Hurt Locker, an Oscar-worthy flick that barely broke even at the box office with less than $13 million in revenue. Those accused were being sued for an average amount of $2500-$3000 each. That means the studio stood to collect as much as $70 million or so in damages -- enough dough to make any movie a box office hit.

When nearly 20,000 of those people accused were added earlier this year, it became the largest anti-piracy lawsuit in history, edging out a former record set by The Expendables. The Expendables case targeting over 23,000 downloaders was eventually dropped by the United States Copyright Group.

Because of the film studio's "shoot first, ask questions later" approach, the case has been slowly unraveling as prosecutors scurry to link IP addresses to the identities of suspected culprits. Just a few months ago, an unsatisfied court forced the hand of Voltage Pictures, reducing the 24,583 defendants to a mere 2,300. Because ISPs have been very slow to comply with IP lookup requests, the studio has required more than the 120 days allotted to serve suspected pirates subpoenas. As a result, the studio appealed for an extension but was ultimately denied.

Despite the studio's legal set-back, Voltage Pictures is still expected to personally contact defendants in an attempt to retrieve claimed damages by way of private settlements. Defendants may still be tempted to pay up in order to avoid future, potential lawsuits targeting downloaders on an individual basis.




User Comments: 8

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H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

" Oscar-worthy flick that barely broke even at the box office with less than $13 million in revenue. Those accused were being sued for an average amount of $2500-$3000 each. That means the studio stood to collect as much as $70 million or so in damages "

*hey guys, why make a good movie when we can make something bad/average movie and sue people for money*

Hope they get sued or loose all their money, jackoffs.

Cota Cota said:

@artix Reminds me to South Park when the kids sued the grown ups because of fake sexual harassment... but in this case, reality was far more funny. Its not like there's no mediocre movies all over the place...

RH00D RH00D said:

Maybe if they had only tried to sure each individual for what the movie actually cost on DVD ($20?) then I would have taken them more seriously. But even still, their method of accusation was flawed to begin with, an IP adress is not a person, so I still wouldn't have taken them seriously. Hopefully this case never gets any kind of resurrection.

Guest said:

What should be scaring ppl is easy. That this lawsuit got even this far. Something to note, the lawyers for the studio were requesting IP addresses!! Even tho this case didnt go anywhere it is setting a precedent for future lawsuits. If it ever gets to the point where IP addresses can actually pinpoint a physical address. <shudder>

Emin3nce said:

artix said:

Hope they get sued or loose all their money, jackoffs.

Lose. Loose is like your mother.

AnonymousSurfer AnonymousSurfer said:

RH00D said:

Maybe if they had only tried to sure each individual for what the movie actually cost on DVD ($20?) then I would have taken them more seriously. But even still, their method of accusation was flawed to begin with, an IP adress is not a person, so I still wouldn't have taken them seriously. Hopefully this case never gets any kind of resurrection.

This is very true. You cannot use an IP address to accuse somebody of a crime. My friend steals his neighbor's wifi all the time when downloading torrents, and they are like 70 and probably have no idea what a torrent is in the first place. They cannot use IP addresses to accuse someone of piracy.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

Emin3nce said:

artix said:

Hope they get sued or loose all their money, jackoffs.

Lose. Loose is like your mother.

Are you really going play the grammar police card when you use a number for a letter in your screen name? If you are going to flame someone, at least be clever about it.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Emin3nce said:

artix said:

Hope they get sued or loose all their money, jackoffs.

Lose. Loose is like your mother.

I always make this mistake, got to stop that! :X

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