Hurt Locker Still Shared Widely Online; Wonder Why Producers Aren't Issuing Takedowns?

from the why-interfere-with-the-business-model? dept

By now we all know about how the producers of the movie Hurt Locker, Voltage Pictures, are suing thousands of people for file sharing their movie. And, you're probably also aware of the claims from Nicolas Chartier, who runs Voltage, that anyone who thinks these lawsuits are a bad strategy is a moron and a thief. You might also be aware that Chartier's "morality" on such subjects does not extend to paying the soldier whose story the movie is based on, but we'll leave that for another day.

However, it is interesting that despite all of this publicity and all of this attention about lawsuits, that file sharing for the movie has not dropped at all. It appears to still be quite popular on file sharing sites. More interesting is that Voltage, and the lawyers they've hired to file these thousands of lawsuits, US Copyright Group (or, more accurately, Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver) apparently have not issued a single DMCA takedown notice to get the file removed from various file sharing networks.

That's pretty telling, of course. It certainly suggests that this has nothing, whatsoever, to do with stopping file sharing or any sort of moral position. The law gives Voltage and US Copyright Group the tools, via a DMCA takedown to mitigate damages. But they're not using them. Instead, they're suing as many people as they can and threatening to take them to court if they don't pay up. That feels a lot more like a typical shakedown. If USCG and Voltage were really interested in stopping file sharing, why wouldn't they use the tools within the law to improve the situation for themselves? It does make you wonder, should any of these lawsuits actually reach a court, if those who are sued will point to Voltage's own failure to mitigate the infringement through the tools provided by the law....

Filed Under: copyright, hurt locker, lawsuits
Companies: dunlap grubb & weaver, us copyright group, voltage pictures

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  1. icon
    average_joe (profile), 6 Jul 2010 @ 9:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "No, it's a right. Copyright is a right that society grants to a copyright owner, and a specifically stated exception to that is fair use. I find your attitude disturbing, especially being a blog writer myself who regularly uses the criticism aspect of copyright law to illustrate my reviews."

    No need to question my "attitude." I'm only expressing my belief of what the law is. I'm not taking sides. I meant that in a copyright infringement suit, fair use is an affirmative defense. That's a fact. The fair use doctrine states that fair use of a copyrighted work is not an infringement of copyright. In a trial, the burden would be on the person claiming fair use to prove that it was so. If it was a right, the presumption would work the other way.

    I am aware of the debate surrounding whether fair use is a right or a defense: I think it operates as both, depending on the context.

    "But, the wider point is that the person downloading a sample or a poster would almost certainly not have *paid* for it - even if it was available. Therefore, there's no losses to be recouped by such a lawsuit and it can lose the copyright owner money quite easily."

    If the copyright owner is seeking statutory damages then their actual loss wouldn't matter as much.

    "...and yes, most torrent programs on their default settings will ask you which file(s) you want to download. So, you can be happily seeding a torrent without breaking any law and still be sue for it."

    It depends on whether or not simply offering a file for download is infringement. I think the courts are divided on that issue at the moment.

    "Not an exaggeration, either - I was once involved in a torrent with Roger Corman titles from the 50s to the 70s. I was only seeding those based 100% in the public domain, but by the logic of these discussions since there were copyrighted works on the same torrent, I deserved to be sued. Most disturbing, especially since some of those movies were not available anywhere else."

    That sucks. :(

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