Bad Ideas: Hurt Locker Producers Preparing To Sue Tens Of Thousands Of File Sharers
from the putting-your-fans-in-the-hurt-locker dept
Apparently, the producers of the Oscar-winning movie Hurt Locker haven’t paid attention to what’s happened on the internet over the past decade. Despite the massive levels of backlash against the RIAA for its “sue consumers” strategy, the folks behind Hurt Locker are preparing to sue tens of thousands of people for unauthorized file sharing of the movie. Apparently, they’ve signed up with the relatively new operation US Copyright Group, that is trying to copy the strategy used by ACS:Law and Davenport Lyons in the UK, where they send out thousands upon thousands of “pre-settlement” offers to get people to pay up. This process has lead to condemnation from politicians (who have called it a scam) and lawyers being barred from practice and being disciplined by regulatory boards.
But, apparently, that’s of no concern to Hurt Locker’s producers, or to Thomas Dunlap, the lawyer behind this scorched earth sue ’em all campaign. They may learn — quite quickly — about the backlash suing your biggest fans can cause. It’s hard to think of a strategic move that will make things worse than this particular move. Have they not noticed what happened to Metallica after that band tried to sue its fans? Lots of people were interested in the movie after it won the Oscar, and plenty of people have been renting it. Yes, lots of people have been downloading it and sharing it as well, but that’s not going to stop one way or the other. But in attacking people who want to watch your movie not just with legal threats, but with a full on lawsuit is ridiculous on any level. I actually had Hurt Locker in my rental queue, but there’s no way I’m renting it now. I have no desire to support movie makers who would go to such ridiculous lengths for no good reason.
In the meantime, Dunlap and US Copyright Group are now claiming that 75% of ISPs have “cooperated fully.” That’s a very different story than we heard back in March — at which time only one ISP had cooperated, and others seemed pretty skeptical. In fact, in that original case, the fact that ISPs cooperated was even more questionable after it came to light that the copyright in question was not registered in time. If it’s true that most ISPs are cooperating and handing over IP address info, based on such sketchy proof, that would be a dangerous precedent. What happened to ISPs insisting they would never just hand over such information?