The record for the largest BitTorrent lawsuit in history is now held by Voltage Pictures, producers of the 2009 film “The Hurt Locker”. Voltage is suing 24,583 BitTorrent users for downloading the Oscar winning film. Previously the largest BitTorrent lawsuit was against the 23,332 downloaders of “The Expendables”.
Voltage pictures is currently in the process of collecting the personal information of users who downloaded the film. According to TorrentFreak, the ISP breakout of the offending users is about half Comcast (10,532). Verizon holds the second spot at 5,239 users and the rest of the downloads come from Charter (2,699) and Time Warner (1,750). ISP providers are cooperating with Voltage Pictures and the US Copyright Group by providing IP addresses to the tune of 100-150 per month.
By my math, that works out somewhere between 11 and 16 years before all of the IP addresses of the offending users are coughed up to Voltage and the US Copyright Group.
What is most likely to happen here is exactly what has happened in past cases involving US Copyright Group (a business registered by the law firm Dunlap, Grubb, and Weaver), when personal information is given up by the ISP, the “pay up or else” settlement letter scheme used by the firm will be enacted.
Targeted individuals will be sent a threatening letter which tells them a lawsuit will be coming their way if they do not pay a settlement fee of $1000-$3000. The truth of the matter is that the US Copyright Group and Voltage Pictures have no interest in seeing these cases ever go to court, they simply want to scare people into forking over cash.
What’s even more interesting in this case is the fact that it has been assigned to Judge Beryl Howell, who is a former RIAA lobbyist. Combine that with the fact that he previously held a position at a consulting firm specializing in digital crimes and you have a clear case of conflict of interests.
Why is Voltage bothering to go down this path in the first place? Despite critical acclaim and an Oscar win, “The Hurt Locker” only grossed $49 million worldwide and Voltage is making an attempt to recoup money lost due to piracy. Voltage and US Copyright Group are hoping to scare users into paying the settlement fee despite a lack of any real evidence. It’s becoming clear the Judge is on their side after he dismissed all motions by users claiming to be innocent last week. This whole business is a shady way of trying to recoup money on a film that did not bring in as much as expected.