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Movies Piracy The Courts Your Rights Online

The Hurt Locker Producers Sue First 5,000 File-Sharers 861

Posted by Soulskill
from the tilting-at-windmills dept.
Voltage Pictures, the production company behind 2008's Oscar-winning Iraq war film The Hurt Locker, today sued 5,000 people who illegally downloaded the movie over BitTorrent. Quoting CNET: "Attorneys for Voltage wrote in the complaint that unless the court stops the people who pirate The Hurt Locker then Voltage will suffer 'great and irreparable injury that cannot fully be compensated or measured in money.' Voltage has asked the court to prevent those who downloaded the movie without paying for it from downloading its movies ever again, and order them to destroy all copies of The Hurt Locker from their computers and any other electronic devices they may have transferred the film to. As for monetary damages, the movie's producers want those found to have pilfered the movie to pay actual or statutory damages and cover the costs that went into filing the suits." According to the complaint (PDF), the 5,000 infringers are known only by their IP addresses at this time.
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The Hurt Locker Producers Sue First 5,000 File-Sharers

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  • Not this again... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ZeroExistenZ (721849) on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:34PM (#32383294)
    We've been playing this game for over a decade now..

    Are there already good alternatives for bittorrents?

    The onion-based darknets seem to be empty because it hasn't been as necessary yet there hasn't been anything other then torrents it seems..?
  • by thestudio_bob (894258) on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:41PM (#32383410)
    I've been wondering about this since I first heard about what these guys are doing. Basically they are capturing your IP when you are in the swarm downloading "the.hurt.locker.2009[dvdsrc]" or whatever. But what would happen if people started renaming the files like "the.hurt.locker.[parody]" or "this.is.not.the.hurt.locker.movie" or whatever. Basically, you wouldn't know it was the actual "hurt locker" movie until after you downloaded the entire thing. Couldn't you then just say, "Yeah, I noticed it was the real movie right after it downloaded and I immediately deleted it." Not sure if that would hold up in court, but you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty... right?
  • Re:Not this again... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:43PM (#32383444)

    It's called netflix, they even send you a disc you can easily copy if you so desire.

  • by chord.wav (599850) on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:49PM (#32383538) Journal

    What do you say? Is it worth downloading the BluRay version?
    http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4748387/The.Hurt.Locker.2008.720p.BluRay.x264-CiRCLE [thepiratebay.org]

    Or just go with the DVD version?
    http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/5421482/The_Hurt_Locker_(2008)_DVDRip_XviD-MAX [thepiratebay.org]

  • Re:alright (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:49PM (#32383550)

    Well, I don't know what the alternative is.

    I just don't like the idea of the justice system being subverted in such a way that a corporation can sue someone anonymously, and I don't like the idea of a family being destroyed financially because their kid downloaded a movie, when otherwise shoplifting the movie would be a petty theft charge.

    I would rather see them out of business if this is the only way they can make money. I'm a model mpaa customer. I have over 200 bluray movies purchased, but they would still label me a criminal because I have taken (at considerable effort) the evil step of digitizing all my movies (ripped and encoded to my fileserver in mkv). I have a live copy, and a backup, and the physical copy sits in a closet. They have never been shared. If I lived in America, they would undoubtedly sue me if they discovered what I have done.

    Allowing me to rip movies harms their business plan of reselling the same movie every format change.

    Fuck them.

  • Re:Wow.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:50PM (#32383568)

    They're also suing for something at this point incomprehensible... a block that prevents the infringer from ever downloading their movies again. Good luck with that at the tech level.

  • Re:The first movie (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HermMunster (972336) on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:51PM (#32383578)

    I was not really impressed with the film. Sure it was a quality film with a solid message. I didn't feel it was worth an academy award. I'm sure I am not alone.

    I guess some people can make the right decisions about making a good movie, but make all the wrong decisions about how to appeal to the audience for the next movie.

    Irreparable harm is being done to their next movie. It'll be known as the movie made by those guys that sue their customers.

  • Re:Not this again... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by u17 (1730558) on Friday May 28, 2010 @07:04PM (#32383734)

    Essentially, broke teenage kids want free stuff.

    That, too, but once these kids grow up, they are already accustomed to being able to get movies quickly, conveniently, and in a format that gives them full control over how they watch them and what they do with them. A large fraction of these kids will probably gladly pay a small price for each download in a similar service, but will stick to BitTorrent if you try to take their freedom, convenience and inexpensive cost away from them.

  • by Sabriel (134364) on Friday May 28, 2010 @07:11PM (#32383818)

    Even if you were telling the truth, you'd still be put in the real hurt locker by the legal costs. Innocence in a court of law isn't free.

    Hell, I run a computer repair business. What's one of the first things these asshats would do? Confiscate every computer here, mine and my customers, to sit on a shelf somewhere until they get around to "examining" them. And in this rural area, my name would make the front page, "local business raided in connection with piracy!"

    Hello bankruptcy.

  • Re:Not this again... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) on Friday May 28, 2010 @07:18PM (#32383906) Homepage
    it's funny that people completely fail to see that:

    exactly what you said, is how the world works.

    people don't "magically determine" what they do and don't like, it comes to them through experience.

    personally, when sitting on a couch, and searching against hope through the darkness that I'll find the damn pause button on a remote frustrates me. having the ability to queue the video on a device of my choosing and being able to encode it into a format that gives me the control to script the features that I need for my unique situation works best.

    I think IMHO that the media industry needs to learn that people would rather not watch something, than be forced to watch it "the way the studio makes the most money". you can't shove a SLA down the throat of a home owner about how they use their house, but you can about the way they watch their movies? that's just crazy talk!
  • by Apple Acolyte (517892) on Friday May 28, 2010 @07:19PM (#32383916)
    In a civil case the burden of proof is usually having a "preponderance of the evidence," meaning it depends on which side presents a stronger case.

    I too think it's wrong to be able to sue someone based on claims about IP addresses. Given that at least for IPv4 addresses are often dynamically assigned, isn't it possible that an unlucky person who got reassigned a heavy sharer's IP could get caught up in a sharing lawsuit without having committed the supposed offense? And besides, an IP address doesn't indicate who the specific individual was using the computer at that given time to download the offending content. It could have been Jack, his three sons, his daughter or some neighbor he generously lets use his WIFI.
  • by phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) on Friday May 28, 2010 @07:27PM (#32383998) Homepage
    is it illegal to torrent a copy if you purchased a copy and have no optical drives in which to play it?

    just a though.
  • Re:Wow.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Friday May 28, 2010 @07:32PM (#32384070)
    The main problem is that even court costs can be enough to destroy somebody's life. The odds are if you're downloading you're probably not among the wealthy elite in the world. They're probably more like me, in their 20's and only a few missed paychecks from being homeless. I simply don't think that a few hundred megabytes is worth the real human misery that you would cause. Legally they are in the right, but that doesn't make it right.
  • Re:Not this again... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kjella (173770) on Friday May 28, 2010 @07:40PM (#32384152) Homepage

    Essentially, broke teenage kids want free stuff.

    That, too, but once these kids grow up, they are already accustomed to being able to get movies quickly, conveniently, and in a format that gives them full control over how they watch them and what they do with them. A large fraction of these kids will probably gladly pay a small price for each download in a similar service, but will stick to BitTorrent if you try to take their freedom, convenience and inexpensive cost away from them.

    I'm not sure I qualify as a broke teenage kid anymore since I've rounded 30 and make $100k+/year, but otherwise... discs are so 20th century, I tend to buy the movies I like and the shelf behind me is filling up with BluRays - but I don't watch them. Every movie on that shelf, except maybe some really, really old ones I've seen before I bought and even if I want to watch them again it's a double-click away. Might as well have been a paypal link for all I care and I'm not about to change my ways until there's a bluray-quality drm-free online store. Nothing that they have done or can do will stop the fact that bandwidth goes up, storage goes up, software gets better and every year one year's worth of the old generation dies and is replaced by the young generation. For all their little victories they shout about they lose ground every year.

  • Re:alright (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Friday May 28, 2010 @07:44PM (#32384216)
    Seems to have worked pretty well for Lost, Heroes, Bones, and other television shows.
  • Re:Not this again... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by imthesponge (621107) on Friday May 28, 2010 @07:48PM (#32384254)

    The creators of firefox and Debian give those things away for free. I should have said "Taking something not given freely without paying is stealing." Obviously, for example, if I take a free sample from the tray at the grocery store it isn't stealing.

  • Re:The first movie (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Knuckles (8964) <knuckles.dantian@org> on Friday May 28, 2010 @07:49PM (#32384266)

    Who says? How many of the sued saw it in the theater and just wanted a copy on their HD? How many were, will be, or would have been paying customers of other movies of the same creators or studio?

    I, for one, spend a lot of money on CDs. And yes, sometimes I'll also illegally (depending on jurisdiction) download stuff, because there is an upper limit to what I can afford to spend, and there is much more fantastic music around. Nobody gets hurt by this, because I would not have spent any more money anyway, The only effect of not downloading would be that I wouldn't have listened to this music. And I've often bought CDs after a download if I liked the stuff. So yes, it would be wise to consider me a customer or potential customer even if I haven't paid for a particular mp3. Suing me would be a damn stupid business move.

  • Re:Not this again... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Knuckles (8964) <knuckles.dantian@org> on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:02PM (#32384412)

    Indeed. I decided to get a TV after all, and figured that the HDTV via IP package of the largest German ISP would be a good companion. This comes with a so-called online video rental shop which they currently advertise heavily, and I'd be fully willing to pay reasonable money for its supposed conveniences. Well, guess what, it sucks:

    • Rental prices are higher than in the brick & mortar store at the corner.
    • Just a few thousand titles, less than the brick & mortar.
    • All movies are dubbed in German, no other languages available, not even the original one. DVDs have offered this for how long now?
    • No obvious way to watch on laptop in bed, and impossible with Linux anyway.
    • User interface is clunky, slow, and annoying. All of this you can do better with IMDB and Piratebay.
  • by twistofsin (718250) on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:53PM (#32384998)
    Illegal or not, you have just explained why the studio is making a huge mistake with these lawsuits. This behavior is making their products unattractive.
  • Re:Not this again... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ArsonSmith (13997) on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:58PM (#32385042) Journal

    I skip the copying part, put a movie in my queue then download it from pirate by. I'm just cutting out the middle (mail) man and I have the right to watch the movie.

  • Re:The first movie (Score:2, Interesting)

    by coaxial (28297) on Friday May 28, 2010 @09:11PM (#32385146) Homepage

    I was not really impressed with the film. Sure it was a quality film with a solid message. I didn't feel it was worth an academy award. I'm sure I am not alone

    My comment about the film was, "Is there an Academy Award for 'Least Believable Main Character,' because I think Hurt Locker just won that one too."

    It had potential to be good. The reviews were good. The film just isn't. When the two big directors up for Best Picture are the directors of Point Break and Rambo, the field is pretty weak.

  • Re:Not this again... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TikiTDO (759782) <TikiTDO@gmail.com> on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:22PM (#32385646)

    I feel that I disagree with you. I, and most people I know, stopped downloading everything except the songs we might listen to once and forget the instant you could just buy MP3s in a web store. We stopped downloading all but the most questionable games the instant you could log into Steam and install on as many computers as you need to. Why do you feel movies would be different?

  • Re:The first movie (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dimeglio (456244) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @12:09AM (#32386286)

    I spend more money on movies (cinema and DVD/BD purchases) than I ever did before. I see a simple explanation: Hurt Locker made no money and investors need to blame someone. Hell, let's blame piracy. Surely the only possible reason since they received rave reviews. Marketing has absolutely nothing to do with it. I for one haven't seen any of the Oscar winning movies. Yet my initial statement stands true. Maybe people aren't into war movies where aliens are absent.

  • Re:Not this again... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nqdiddles (805995) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @06:58AM (#32387694) Homepage
    Or cashed up adult wants stuff.

    Sure I could wait many months for things to air in somewhere-other-than-the-US, I could buy a DVD/Blu-Ray (an even bigger delay), or hope to hell our cable would actually show something I want or even one day offer something like video on demand.

    Or I could download it, enjoy it, decide it's a movie I want to buy when it does finally come out.
    And don't give me that broke teenage crap. I have a single high income with no kids, and I have no problem throwing money out for my own entertainment. Broke teenagers/college students might have a problem with that but my disposable income is sitting there ready to go, and I'm impulsive. Give me a viable, timely way to PURCHASE something and I'll happily pay for it.

    Some of us may have started out as those "vile downloaders", but we've now got money to spend - and my money (entertainment wise) is increasingly going towards those who put themselves out there and entice me to spend money. Not those who sit there expecting me to come to them and (possibly) enjoy their product under difficult, delayed and restrictive conditions.
    As for the movie in question, I missed it at the movies, it won some awards, they seem more interested in taking people to court than sharing their creation. Don't think I'll bother. There's choice, and I'll choose from what is these days a plethora of options.
  • Re:Not this again... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kijori (897770) <ward...jake@@@gmail...com> on Saturday May 29, 2010 @07:43AM (#32387850)

    Essentially, broke teenage kids want free stuff.

    That, too, but once these kids grow up, they are already accustomed to being able to get movies quickly, conveniently, and in a format that gives them full control over how they watch them and what they do with them. A large fraction of these kids will probably gladly pay a small price for each download in a similar service, but will stick to BitTorrent if you try to take their freedom, convenience and inexpensive cost away from them.

    I think that more than any of that they're accustomed to being able to get things for free; while a few people might genuinely want control, a certain format or whatever the majority of them just want more stuff without paying for it and won't ever pay while the free option is around. I'll explain why (I've posted this before but I think it's relevant here):

    Last year I was working for a small, independent record company. We sold relaxing music and music to meditate to - not exactly the prime target for piracy. And we did everything we could to make buying it a pleasant experience! You could listen to a full-length preview before buying, there was no DRM, a wide choice of formats, you could download as many times as you wanted, we sold to anywhere in the world that the credit card company would take payment from and the price wasn't exorbitant: 0.50€ per track or either 3€/5€ per album depending on whether it was one or two discs. And guess what? The piracy rate was massive. Through the roof. It was ten times the number of actual sales we were making, sometimes even far more than that.

    What's the explanation? What did we do wrong that made people pirate our music rather than buy it? They clearly wanted it since they had tracked it down on Bittorrent, which was much more work than finding it on our site.

    My answer? You can't compete with free. People have got used to getting their music for free, without any real fear of legal consequences, and you can't - for the most part - get them to pay again. You see the symptoms on Slashdot: endless justifications - it used to be "I would buy it if it didn't have DRM", but music stopped having DRM so then it was "I'd buy it if the quality was better", and now that the quality's better it's "I'd buy it if it were 50c instead of $0.99". Will it end if music hits $0.50? Of course not. Because free is still better and there's always something to complain about.

  • Re:Not this again... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 29, 2010 @08:16AM (#32387978)
    You sound somewhat resentful towards file sharers. How can you be so critical when in fact you can't know how the unauthorised sharing affected your sales? It could have decreased them, or it could have increased them! While it's hard to tell, what you should have done is, you should have gone to TBP and posted a comment explaining that you can cheaply and conveniently get these tracks from your web site. After all, if you base your business model around selling something worthless (the service of transferring bits), you must appeal to your audience's charitable side, and hope that your initial investment (the production of said bits) pays off.

You have a tendency to feel you are superior to most computers.

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