It might have won Best Picture at the 2010 Oscars, over-throwing box-office behemoth Avatar, and earned critical adulation for its high-tension, nerve-shredding portrayal of a team of bomb disposal experts during the Iraq War, but Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker was far from the success its studio, Voltage Pictures, would have hoped for. Now, its makers are looking to recoup some of their earnings, filing a lawsuit at a federal court in Florida against at least 2,514 BitTorrent users in order to “compensate the studio for piracy-related losses.”
According to TorrentFreak, all defendants have their internet provided by Charter Communications and all are accused of downloading and sharing the film, which made a modest $12.6 million off a $11 million. With it, there's a definite sense that the studio is looking to lay the blame on something or someone, hoping to confront each of the two-and-a-half-thousand-odd downloaders with a settlement offer that is “around $3,000” which, when applying simple maths to the value, will earn them an estimated $6 million in damages – nearly half of its box-office takings. That's not too bad a profit on a film now two years on from its theatrical debut.
Notably, this isn't the first time Voltage Studios has targeted BitTorrent file-sharers. The studio currently holds the prestigious (at least amongst film studios) record for registering the largest file-sharing law-suit of all time with last year's similar listing of 24,583 alleged piraters of the same film. Although Voltage later went on to retract the lawsuit for around 90% of the infringers, the new lawsuit signifies the studio is still taking a tough stance on illegal file-sharers and also signifies the success rate for such tactics might be working in its favour. How long before other, more mainstream studio executives take not and raise similarly high-profile cases? And what happens then within the downloading scene?
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.