TechSpot means tech analysis and advice you can trust. Read our ethics statement.
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?