The industry-wide war on piracy has taken yet another interesting turn now that the movie studio behind The Hurt Locker plans to launch legal action against 50,000 alleged movie pirates.
Voltage Pictures, which produced The Hurt Locker, is working with the U.S. Copyright Group to sue file sharers that could have cut into the film’s North American profit.
The Hurt Locker was first found on peer-to-peer file sharing networks months before release in the United States, with thousands of users downloading and sharing the movie.
This is an extremely interesting move since individual movie studios have been hesitant to launch legal action against those accused of piracy. Instead, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has focused more on organized piracy rings instead of individual file sharers — but the movie industry is now more interested in shutting down torrent sites and other organized piracy efforts.
Independent studios that don’t operate under the MPAA’s banner have been forced to fend for themselves, which is why Voltage Pictures selected the U.S. Copyright Group. The group has already launched similar legal action for 10 other movies, although those movies are lesser known films.
MPAA officials last year boldly said viewing pirated films online is a crime, which was an attempt to get more attention on piracy issues in the United States. In the future, the MPAA and U.S. Copyright Group will shift focus to force U.S. ISPs to police their own users — or face consequences. This gives the industry groups better ability to crack down on piracy without suing individual file sharers for long durations.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has sued thousands of music file sharers in the past, now we’re seeing the same thing happen over movies. The mass RIAA lawsuits had little effect on piracy, so we don’t expect the movie sharing lawsuits to be effective either.