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Hurt Locker File-Sharing Subpoenas Begin

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the how-not-to-generate-good-press dept.

Piracy 376

In May we discussed news that producers of the film The Hurt Locker filed a lawsuit against 5,000 John Does, known only by their IP addresses at the time, for sharing the movie over peer-to-peer sites. Now, reader suraj.sun notes that subpoenas for the lawsuit are finally going out. "Qwest Communications on Monday notified a customer in Denver that the Internet service provider has received a subpoena from lawyers representing Voltage Pictures, the production company that made The Hurt Locker. ... In legal documents, Voltage Pictures has blamed the movie's relatively poor domestic performance on illegal file sharing. As of March 21, the movie had grossed $16 million domestically, but took in $40 million overall. According to reports, the film's production budget was $15 million. The film leaked to the Web five months before the movie's US debut. ... For allegedly downloading The Hurt Locker, DGW told the Qwest customer from Denver that settling the case early would cost $2,900, according to documents reviewed by CNET."

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376 comments

Frisky Pornstar (-1, Offtopic)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 3 years ago | (#33463950)

FP, aka "Frisky Pornstar." Dontcha you wish you were one?

Does anyone even reply to FPs anymore other than karma prostitutes?

Re:Frisky Pornstar (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33463988)

Yeah, he's my buddy on Slashdot. Goes by the name TrisexualPuppy. Sometimes he says hardcore flamebait stuff (and gets modded for it), other times he has some real insightful posts. I'd say he's an above average Slashdotter.

If he shows up, I expect him to say something along the lines of "Whoever wins, we lose" or "Having to watch the Hurt Locker was punishment enough" or "the filesharers should be suing THEM!"

Culprit ? (5, Insightful)

dargaud (518470) | more than 3 years ago | (#33463962)

The film leaked to the Web five months before the movie's US debut

Looking for a culprit ? The guy who decided to sit on the movie for months while the marketing campaign was already on. When people want to see something and it is available, albeit illegally, they will.

Re:Culprit ? (1)

Sylak (1611137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33463996)

Agreed, that was more or less my reaction upon reading the entire film had been leaked five months in advance.

Re:Culprit ? (3, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464058)

Devil's Advocate here, but does that mean they shouldn't be sued for their infringement?

I paid to see the film at the cinema. I feel ripped off twice over; I paid for something I could have received for free, and the film wasn't all that great anyway. I can't get a refund from the movie company or the cinema, but I can still be peeved at the folks who leaked it. IMHO, by the way, it's the leak who should be sued, not the consumers.

Re:Culprit ? (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464192)

Devil's Advocate here, but does that mean they shouldn't be sued for their infringement?

If they can show that they caused damages even close to $2,900? Perhaps then.

The methods being employed and the shackles placed on technology means I'm not going to support the plaintiffs. A good start would be having my television not try to negotiate with my cable box to determine if I'm being a good boy.

Re:Culprit ? (4, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464276)

Mine doesn't. I show my lack of support by not using any product requiring HDCP.

Re:Culprit ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33464448)

AC +1

Re:Culprit ? (4, Funny)

ginbot462 (626023) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464348)

Devil's Advocate was OK, almost not worth pirating, but certainly not worth buying.

Re:Culprit ? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464364)

Sued, probably, sued for the kind of money they're wanting for destroying the box office returns almost certainly not. And that's the problem, back when studios and such sued large scale operations, that made sense, there was a large number of copies being distributed and there was almost certainly a large negative impact on the studio. The problem is now that you're suing individuals it's somewhat questionable as to whether it's really appropriate in terms of punishment for being a small portion of the problem.

Beyond that, if they have their account with Qwest, they couldn't possibly be guilty of any infringement large enough to warrant those kinds of damages, Qwest doesn't deliver the service to actually make any kind of substantial contribution to the piracy of something as large as a movie.

Re:Culprit ? (4, Insightful)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464410)

Sued for the act of infringeing - yea sure

Suing for lost, imagined profits? Eh no...

Re:Culprit ? (5, Insightful)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464532)

The film owners still have a legal right to sue for infringement, and there's some pretty good arguments for a moral right, BUT ...

The industry is claiming they need very high statutory damages to make up for the tremendous losses they say 'piracy' produces.
If those losses are really so high in part because of cases where the industry itself screws up, then the industry doesn't really deserve especially high statutory damages, AND giving those to the industry may encourage their incompetence rather than them reformulating their business models to make 'piracy' less attractive. Metaphorically, the punishment for auto theft should not be made so attractive to the victim that he or she deliberately doesn't lock his or her car in a known bad neighborhood. Running up demand when you are not prepared to meet it, and delaying consumer gratification while the product is hot, are simply bad business models.

The industry is also claiming they have a special need for taxpayers to foot more of the costs of them filing these lawsuits. If that same industry isn't bothering to do simple things they reasonably can to make those lawsuits unnecessary, then they themselves are the ones manufacturing that special need. That's one reason I qualified the part about moral rights, above - The industry has been claiming that the 'pirates' are solely responsible for creating that special need. If the industry itself is denying its own share of the responsibility, that undercuts their moral position. Going back to the metaphor I used, having your car stolen gives you no moral right to deliberately lie to the judge (and through him, the taxpayers paying the costs of a criminal prosecution) about whether you locked the doors or not.

Re:Culprit ? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464074)

Looking for a culprit ?

I'd say it was the sweaty man fight.

Seriously, only in Hollywood would this thing get an award. Everyone I've talked to who was actually in Iraq said the movie was complete BS. Even Newsweek whacked it with a cluestick. Does no one on the entire Oscar committee know an actual veteran?

Re:Culprit ? (3, Insightful)

cHiphead (17854) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464168)

I'm not military and even I saw the movie as complete bullshit. And I wanted to like it. Just too many little bs things added up to ruin it for me. Hey I'm a bomb tech and I'm gonna walk up and cowboy the shit out of every bomb I come across, not to save some children, but to just act like a badass. Quick, let's go outside our operating zone and SPLIT UP!

That and the fact that the Nesquik cereal he is looking at near the end of the movie is not distributed in the US anymore. That was the most significant portion of the movie for me.

Re:Culprit ? (4, Informative)

garcia (6573) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464106)

The culprit was that the movie sucked plain and simple. I mean it was quite possibly one of the worst movies I have seen in the last 5 years and I just watched Repo Men. The movie was slow, it was repetitive and the only possible redeeming quality it possessed was that it was rah rah US military and how could you possibly hate on the US military right unless you're a terrorist, right?

In addition to that, there is a recession. I haven't been to a movie in the theater in a long time because I simply do not have the money due to a new baby and a SAHM. Redbox's $1 rentals and Hulu's documentaries have filled the void. Why would I ever spend $20 (for two) to go to see a movie when I can spend $1 instead?

Enough of blaming file sharing this is plain and simple a shitty and overhyped movie which was better watched from the comfort of your own home for 1/20th the cost.

Re:Culprit ? (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464232)

Why would I ever spend $20 (for two) to go to see a movie when I can spend $1 instead?

Around hear theaters are charging $12-14 per ticket. Interesting for a format that started in Nickelodeons. Now that they are approaching levels where I can STILL get tickets to see the Philadelphia Orchestra practice (Or perform.. I get a somewhat special deal).

Re:Culprit ? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464266)

I still go to the movies, but only at the cheap place on Tuesdays. $5 gets me a movie date with a drink and popcorn for the girl. I still skipped Hurt Locker. I won't even go for it from red box. Hell, I won't even waste the bandwidth to download the POS.

Re:Culprit ? (2, Interesting)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464404)

In addition to that, there is a recession. I haven't been to a movie in the theater in a long time because I simply do not have the money due to a new baby and a SAHM. Redbox's $1 rentals and Hulu's documentaries have filled the void. Why would I ever spend $20 (for two) to go to see a movie when I can spend $1 instead?

Because it's easier to talk one of the baby's grandparents into babysitting while you take your wife on a "date" than it is if you're going home to watch a Redbox movie? At least, that's my answer.

I'm crazy about our baby, but once in a while a couple hours together as adults without interruptions or baby care for dinner and a movie is really nice, too.

Re:Culprit ? (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464118)

Saying filesharers caused the lacklustre sales makes no sense either, as other films are breaking records all the time- Avatar, Toy Story 3 etc. broke new records this year but also similarly suffer the piracy problem.

As you say, there was more to this films poor sales than simply filesharing, see my other post in this thread for one possible reason, your point is also a good reason.

Really this film had such a poor financial showing because of management mistakes, it's as simple as that. Sure piracy problem does take a chunk out of film profits, but nowhere near enough to cause too many problems else if it did the afformentioned films such as Avatar and Toy Story 3 would never have been able to break the box office records they did compared to previous all time record breakers like Titanic that came around before filesharing movie piracy was even a problem.

Let's be honest, the executives responsible for the management fuckups behind this films lacklustre profits know full well they fucked up, these lawsuits are just about ass-covering so that these execs can fool some other gullable film maker into running the business end of their production in future. "Oh, yeah, the Hurt Locker, it wasn't abysmal marketing that led to it's poor showing, it was the file sharers. Honest.".

Re:Culprit ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33464150)

I love how they blame filesharing for poor turnout. The best counter argument to that BS is the crappy sales of the PS3 which until August had a -zero- piracy rate.

Re:Culprit ? (5, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464400)

Well, to be fair, they may have a point. As soon as people started watching it, I'm sure that word of mouth started to circulate about the quality of the film. Personally, I haven't seen it, but I take it that it wasn't a very good movie. And in this day and age, a bad movie might only get one day before it's outed on the web for being a bad film. Which makes it very hard to make money if it sucks as people know better pretty quickly, unlike in the past where they might get a couple weeks.

Re:Culprit ? (5, Insightful)

jdpars (1480913) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464128)

No, the culprit here is the guy on the production team who leaked it. That's who these people need to go after. This smells of lawyers trying to keep their clients from realizing how totally unnecessary they are. How much will 5000 trials cost the people paying for these lawyers, and how much will that cost the taxpayers? We ought to be in a riot that people are abusing our legal system like this.

Re:Culprit ? (3, Informative)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464318)

The lawyers are not trying to get 5000 trials. They are trying to do one trial with 5000 defendants. And so far, they just might be successful at this.

Re:Culprit ? (1)

jdpars (1480913) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464358)

It looked to me like they were sending out individual "You owe us _____" letters. Obviously it's not worth it for someone without the cash to blow to get a lawyer to help them fight it, and that's the real crime. It's cheaper to pay them what they want and go away.

Re:Culprit ? (1)

adamanthaea (723150) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464482)

I really enjoyed the movie. However, I didn't even know about it until I saw the director on the Colbert Report, when I decided I wanted to see it. I wound up seeing it as a double-feature with Inglorious Basterds at a drive-in. The Hurt Locker was premiered back in 2008 and didn't get wide release until the last weekend of July 2009. I think I saw them both the weekend Inglorious Basterds released, at which point The Hurt Locker had been premiered almost a year earlier. Seriously, why sit so long on a movie for release?

Re:Culprit ? (-1, Flamebait)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464486)

If you negatively moderate this post, you are completely uneducated. Basic economic theory confirms everything that is stated. Negative moderation means you are uneducated and don't understand anything about economics.

So you completely agree they dramatically hurt domestic profits. I do too.

Meanwhile, in the real world, there are only so many slots at one time in theaters. This is why only a limited number of movies get made every year. The exact slot is determined by the publisher and distributor. Basically you're argument for destroying massive profits is that had they released it earlier, where there were no slots available in the theaters, making even less money would have been far more profitable. Slots for movies are commonly determined a year or more in advanced. Simply put, your theory is complete bullshit.

The reality is, every time people steal IP, the owners lose money. Period. Financial harm is always inflicted to the owners. There isn't much difference between someone stealing a car and someone stealing a movie or application. Imaginary masturbation to the contrary doesn't make it true. Stealing is stealing. Someone is always harmed. The only real difference is the amount of damage incurred. Every time you steal IP, at a minimum, you are devaluing it. As a result, the IP owners have been harmed.

The case is a classic example of why the viral bullshit put forth by in that widely publicized paper, and worshiped by uneducated pirates, is just that, complete bullshit. Stealing does not increase profits for the owners. Stealing did, on the other hand, devalue the property in question. And rather than admit, yep, we completely fucked them like a car thief (Which is exactly what happened here), you blame the loss on not releasing the movie when they would have lost even more because no one would have been able to show the movie in the first place.

If you create your own stock in a company, you devalue the worth of that company. Anyone who says otherwise is either dumb, ignorant, or lying.

If you create your own currency and pass it off as the real thing, you devalue the worth of the real currency and undermine the economy. Anyone who says otherwise is either dumb, ignorant, or lying.

If you create your own version of a movie, application, music, or other IP, you devalue the worth of the real IP and undermine its market. Anyone who says otherwise is either dumb, ignorant, or lying.

In all three examples, they are forms of fraud or theft. Legally they each have their own classification. Regardless of their exact legal classification, they are all variations of a theme; theft. Creating your own currency is stealing. Creating your own stock is stealing. Creating your own copies of IP is stealing. Stealing is stealing and people are harmed.

If you pirate movies, music, and/or applications, you are literally no better than a car thief, a counterfeiter, or white collar fraudsters. In each case, they are a thief in some way. In each case, someone is harmed.

Extortion (4, Insightful)

theskunkmonkey (839144) | more than 3 years ago | (#33463970)

When are they going to make extortion illegal?

Oh wait...

Re:Extortion (3, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464268)

When it stops being so profitable.

Re:Extortion (2, Informative)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464492)

Seriously, if someone proposed "Lets update our copyright/piracy laws so that skimping out on a less than 10 dollar cinema ticket isn't worth a few thousand in lawsuit" the law would die in congress so quickly that you'd smell the rot from Europe. Probably the media will go on a "Would you like your property to be protected? The GOVERNMENT wants to take that away from us" smear campaign, and the backfire would be negligable.

Guilty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33463982)

I hope I'm not one of the John Does.

Maths ? (4, Insightful)

daveime (1253762) | more than 3 years ago | (#33463986)

So they want 5000 filesharers to pay the ENTIRE production cost of the movie (5000 * 3000) = 15m, then the 40m is clear profit ?

So, you payda money and maybya dont fall down da stairs ? Bunch of corrupt bastards. Sorry, bunch of government santioned bastards.

Re:Maths ? (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464160)

This will be the new Hollywood business model.

a) Make movie
b) Hype it
c) Release it on P2P
d) Wait six moths, release in theaters
e) When it bombs, sue 10,000 John Does because you know they can't afford to defend themselves.
f) Profit!

Anybody see a flaw?

Re:Maths ? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464170)

'months', not 'moths'...duh!

Re:Maths ? (1)

Erikderzweite (1146485) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464508)

That was the only flaw in that business model.

Re:Maths ? (1)

gyaku_zuki (1778282) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464324)

To be honest - I can totally see someone sitting down at a desk and thinking this as a viable plan...

Re:Maths ? (3, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464528)

Its a very viable plan, the only thing you lose is some public respect.

But as the past has shown, the 'general public' is a bunch of morons who don't mind if you put rootkits in their cds or bankrupt college students for a few songs.

Re:Maths ? (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464250)

The fine therefore is about $ 8000 per person, if they want to make the 40 million back (or less - I admit I didn't read the article).

Anyway... in a next case, what happens if they manage to track down 1 million people? I bet that some really popular movies got shared that much. Do the movie companies get $ 8,000,000,000 from suing and winning a case??
I mean - with such profits possible, why even put the movie in the cinema, or DVD? Just make it really, really good, and totally unavailable in mainstream movie places, then leak it onto internet, and sue everyone who do downloads and shares it. Brilliant.

Re:Maths ? (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464388)

You didn't even read the summary. They spent $15m on the movie, grossed $16m in the US, made $40m total.

Re:Maths ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33464432)

Just make it really, really good,...

There's your problem. Most present-day movies aren't worth shit.

Re:Maths ? (3, Informative)

The Moof (859402) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464476)

then the 40m is clear profit?

You're neglecting Hollywood accounting [wikipedia.org] when you think about this. On paper, I'm sure this movie lost the studio billions somehow.

Poor unhappy lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33463990)

So they are not happy with their $25 million? Well i guess they have to sue someone, for that extra 2-3 million.

$25 million (1)

Nuskrad (740518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33463994)

Clearly, no one can survive making that little profit, they need every last penny, dammit!

Re:$25 million (2, Insightful)

Jarkov (1867240) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464050)

Yeah, this is like a warning to independent film-makers everywhere: WATCH OUT or else YOU TOO could have your movie leaked to the web and still only make more than double your production budget back in sales worldwide!

There is no profit (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464370)

Movies never make a profit due to the famous Hollywood accounting.

Barely heard of it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33464004)

To be honest, I barely saw any advertisements for the movie, and from what I saw... it wasn't interesting enough to go to the movies to watch.

Maybe *that* is the cause for the "low" profits?

Re:Barely heard of it... (1)

sabs (255763) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464044)

The Hurt Locker was an amazingly good movie.
Intense, interesting.

Re:Barely heard of it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33464112)

Nearly completely plot-free. Without a single character I cared about. I'd say 6/10.

Re:Barely heard of it... (5, Interesting)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464134)

The Hurt Locker was an amazingly good movie.
Intense, interesting.

Well, this vet says it's crap.

http://www.newsweek.com/2010/02/23/when-cin-ma-v-rit-isn-t.html [newsweek.com]

I'll go with the vet.

Re:Barely heard of it... (1)

ginbot462 (626023) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464312)

I'm not sure why you got modded funny. That was insightful/informative. That link/review is worth reading. The vet points to alternatives:

The War Tapes [amazon.com]

Taking Chance [amazon.com]

Re:Barely heard of it... (4, Insightful)

cHiphead (17854) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464204)

No, it fucking wasn't. And I watch a LOT of movies. A LOT. Especially crappy movies. And it was definitely in the nonsense bullshit category. Black Hawk Down was a good military movie. The Hurt Locker was ruined by DUMB fucking plot line twists. And I mean REALLY REALLY FUCKING DUMB.

Men Who Stare At Goats was more accurate portrayal of military life than Hurt Locker.

Re:Barely heard of it... (2, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464288)

The Hurt Locker was an amazingly good movie.
Intense, interesting.

I found the characters to be contrived caricatures. The film almost seemed like a parody of itself, filled with the kind of overly stylized, cliched, and rather shallow scenes South Park would show to make fun of an overblown director.

**/****

Re:Barely heard of it... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33464386)

You're kidding, right? It just an even more boring version of Jarheads. There was fuck all innovative or memorable about it - apart from how lame it was.

Great (5, Interesting)

rshxd (1875730) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464006)

My Tor exit node is probably going to get DMCA takedown requests. I got one for "CSI: Miami Season 4" and CERT Malaysia said I was launching an attack against XXX.XXX.XXX but won't provide me an IP address or range to block. Silly DMCA folks!!!!

Marketing fail. (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464018)

First I heard of this film was when it won it's Oscars, by which point it'd been out 6 - 9 months, and seeing as most cinemas drop films after a couple of months then there's no wonder it got poor showing.

Perhaps if people actually knew the film existed, it'd have done better at the box office. Not advertising the existence of a film whatsoever then wondering why the hell no one went to watch it, despite it being popular post-Oscars is the real reason this film did so miserably financially.

Blaming file sharers wont fix a marketing mistake, and by the time they've gone through the courts, dealt with the claims they're entirely unable to prove, it'll probably have cost them far more in man hours than they can expect to earn back through strong arming people with settlement threats.

Re:Marketing fail. (1)

frozentier (1542099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464172)

Agreed. I honestly had never heard of the movie until this article. I don't remember seeing any advertising of any kind.

Re:Marketing fail. (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464502)

And I honestly had never heard of it until this article. Looking it up on IMDB and Wikipedia however, it sounds like a bore. See? My preemptive filtering of media works like a charm.

Re:Marketing fail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33464216)

Hunh? What's "Hurt Locker"? First I'd heard of it.

Oh, a film that offers me no appeal, from what I've "seen" so far, which is just the /. commentary. Oscars don't cut it as a recommendation, any more. Attacking the public REALLY doesn't cut it, even when it is proported to be defensive. So can we expect some "accidental" leak of all the "pirates"' personal info, somewhere in this, as well? Perhaps in PDF court documents? (see SANS stormfeed about new PDF & Flash vulns http://isc.sans.org/diary.html?storyid=9487 [sans.org] and "SDF" http://isc.sans.org/diary.html?storyid=9490 [sans.org] )

Re:Marketing fail. (1)

PolyDwarf (156355) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464278)

[quote]Blaming file sharers wont fix a marketing mistake[/quote]

True.. However, suing file sharers will fix a revenue mistake.

[quote]... prove ...[/quote]

hahahahahahaha

Re:Marketing fail. (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464344)

The pre-release file sharing was the marketing campaign. Its ok though, because its cheaper than real advertising and you can always sue the people you gave the film to if you don't make enough money.

Re:Marketing fail. (1)

dhermann (648219) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464352)

dealt with the claims they're entirely unable to prove

I was going to comment about the nature of independent films and low-budget studios like Voltage, but this statement interests me so much more. How, exactly, will they be unable to prove copyright infringement after matching the 5,000 IPs to people?

Re:Marketing fail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33464424)

I heard of the movie a few months before its release; the problem was it was an uber-limited release. I would have saw it once or twice in theaters but it wasn't playing in a theater within 180 miles of me. It can only make some much money when its in 150 theaters or whatever nationwide.

Re:Marketing fail. (1)

WillgasM (1646719) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464498)

agree totally. I barely heard about this movie before it hit the cinema, and It didn't really sound that appealing at the time (at least not enough to see it in theaters). After the Oscar buzz, I gave it more consideration; but by that point the most they were going to get out of me was $1 from Redbox. In the end, I still haven't seen the movie. If I've ever really wanted to see a movie, I went to the theater or at least rented it. If I really liked it, I bought it. The only movies I really download are ones that I wouldn't care to spend money on otherwise. And on rare occasion, I've DLd a movie and liked it so much that I wound up buying it on DVD (just to show my support). Long story short: if their motivation for this lawsuit is poor sales domestically, they're suing the wrong people

I like the part where (2, Interesting)

kick6 (1081615) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464028)

They assume that the movie would have been a much bigger success were it not for file sharing. Maybe the movie didn't succeed because it sucked. I certainly didn't go see it because nobody I know that did recommended it. It would appear that the new business plan is 1. make a shit movie cheaply 2. leak the film while sitting on it for no reason 3. blame filesharing for the fact that no one liked your shit movie 4. sue file sharers for what you think you should have made 5. profit!

Re:I like the part where (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464056)

It was actually pretty decent. Certainly not Oscar worthy, but at the very least rental/Netflix worthy. If you like war movies that focus more on human psyche rather than combat (although there are a couple of good combat scenes in it), you should watch it at least once.

Re:I like the part where (1)

cHiphead (17854) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464300)

What 'good' combat scenes? The sniper scene was 'cool' but it felt completely out of place for a bomb disposal unit SOLO out in the desert (WTF?). The bomb defuse scenes were all cowboy, edge of the seat but viewers simply don't get the foreboding terror involved, felt like something was really missed. The whole presentation and marketing of this movie was about the realism it portrayed, the premise from the directors and producers was realism. This simply wasn't a good movie. Let's split up so we can get shot alone. Really?

Re:I like the part where (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464500)

I personally had found it randomly while browsing through Comcast On-Demand while spending a weekend at my Wife's Uncle's house. I hadn't heard of it, nor had I heard of the realism they were pushing in their limited marketing, so I went into it blind.

As a war movie, it was pretty entertaining. Realism is quite commonly thrown out the window in war movies, so when I watch war movies, I don't expect it. I think a combination of no knowledge about the film and my low expectations regarding realism is why I think it's worth watching.

Re:I like the part where (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33464338)

I thought it was a good film that cheapened and ultimately dismissed itself by using that pithy "War is a drug" quote. Despite that insult to the intelligence of the viewer it was oscar worthy, moreso than moronic garbage like avatar.

As to the piracy, Hurt Locker was an adult movie. It was never going to do as much box office as a family popcorn flick. With something like No Country for Old Men, the marketing relied on the novelty of the antagonist. The marketing for Hurt Locker was "war movie", there was no commercial hook to draw the public in. It is this, combined with the convienient wrap up quote (hence critics didn't overly bother with the subject matter), that explains why receipts for this film failed to meet expectations.

Re:I like the part where (2, Insightful)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464162)

Maybe the movie didn't succeed because it sucked.

Actually, illegal file sharing had a huge part in the movie not making any money. People could see just how bad it sucked for free before shelling out the cash to see it suck in a theater.

Mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33464478)

Maybe the movie didn't succeed because it sucked.

Actually, illegal file sharing had a huge part in the movie not making any money. People could see just how bad it sucked for free before shelling out the cash to see it suck in a theater.

My thoughts exactly.

Ugh. (3, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464032)

Look...I understand that piracy is wrong, and if something can be legally obtained it should be.

That being said, this is freakin' insane. All 5,000 Does rolled up into one case? A case filed in Washington, DC...where almost none (if any) of the Does live? Fining these people so much money that the entire movie's budget is literally payed for by SUING people?

If this isn't abusing the justice system, I don't know what is.

I would like to perform poorly (3, Insightful)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464036)

Voltage Pictures has blamed the movie's relatively poor domestic performance on illegal file sharing.

...took in $40 million overall. According to reports, the film's production budget was $15 million.

They made $25 million and are blaming file sharing because it performed poorly? I think that possibly their standards are a bit skewed because they have been gluttonous bastards for so long. In the REAL WORLD, if a product's return is more than twice what it cost them, I'd say they are doing pretty good.

Re:I would like to perform poorly (2, Funny)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464214)

No, that's not how it works. If you're awesome enough to make something copyrightable, you must be paid millions upon millions in perpetuity. It's only fair. So what if it only cost you $5.29 to make. You deserve $250,000,000,000,000 for it and if you don't get it, there must be rampant piracy and the witch hunt is on!

Re:I would like to perform poorly (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464310)

Hollywood accounting. Y'see, after the upfront production costs, there's still a bunch of ancillary companies to be paid for their services, for marketing, PR, the DVD, Oscar promotion... Those companies belong to the production company itself, sure, but that all drains away money.

You'd be amazed at how few movies actually make a profit. It's incredible that Hollywood stays in business.

A historic moment (1)

grimJester (890090) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464412)

What I find funniest about this is that the settlements are currently equal to the production costs. What we're witnessing is the point when the MPAA members can actually stay profitable without releasing their movies!

I bought the DVD, then shared it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33464064)

I did buy the DVD, but shared it with 5 of my co-workers and let my parents watch it.

I'm not sure why it won Best Picture. Avatar was 10 times better. I would rate the Hurt Locker a 4 out of 10. There are only 2 scenes I remember from it.

Re:I bought the DVD, then shared it (2, Insightful)

plumby (179557) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464146)

Avatar was 10 times better? Hurt Locker must have been truly awful then.

Re:I bought the DVD, then shared it (1)

timepilot (116247) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464470)

Meh, one person's poo is another person's poi.

2900? (1)

BlueCoder (223005) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464070)

That sounds reasonable.

On the other hand defending a lawsuit would probably cost more irrelevant of how innocent you are. It's still legal extortion.

Occam's Razor says... (2, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464104)

...maybe the film didn't do all that well because not that many people were interested in it. I know I had absolutely no interest in watching it.

Private torrent sites? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33464116)

Does anyone know whether users of private torrent sites being targeted as well? A friend of a friend of a friend of mine said she downloaded this movie from a private torrent site, and she is concerned.

Avatar (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464122)

The Avatar DVD is currently #51 in the Amazon sales charts despite being released in April. I bet it was way more pirated than The Hurt Locker will ever be.

#6 in the Amazon sales charts is a movie made in the 1960s that has been available for piracy for many years.

Occam's Razor: The movie isn't as good as they think it is.

Re:Avatar (1)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464174)

See, now that's insightful... but I've already posted and cannot mod as such...

Re:Avatar (3, Insightful)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464406)

I _highly_ doubt they don't realize the truth. Suing everyone and basically having your own "war on piracy" probably provides far better revenue and/or chances to grab power than just sitting there collecting sales revenue. People aren't stopping buying their movies (well, I have, but I'm sure I'm in a minority) but they sure as hell stand to make _thousands_ of dollars off each person they can pin down on a piracy charge. "Oh we see you were probably never going to buy our movie, well, you owe us $2k+ now, thanks for "purchasing" our non-DRM version of [movie]!"

Re:Avatar (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33464444)

"#6 in the Amazon sales charts is a movie made in the 1960s that has been available for piracy for many years."

I had to look -- it's "The Man with No Name Trilogy" in Blu-ray [amazon.com] . Go Clint!

Seems to me, they're spending too much! (4, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464140)

Regardless of whether or not someone leaked out a copy of the movie months before its release, the *real* problem seems to be that they're spending WAY too much to make a movie, and then complaining when their return on investment isn't what they hoped for!

The average motion picture is roughly 2 hours long, right? (Often shorter, and sometimes a few minutes longer, but let's just say 2 hours for the sake of picking a number.) That appears to be about $125,000 per MINUTE they spent to make it, given a $15 million budget!

I haven't even watched Hurt Locker yet, but as I understand it, it's a contemporary movie about the war we're STILL fighting right now! It's definitely not a film that required a lot of painstaking effort to accurately re-create events of the distant past. All the costuming, props, etc. should have been readily available. So WHY can't this type of story be told for FAR less money?

Personally, if I was producing a movie in Hollywood today, I'd pass on any of the "big name" actors and actresses that demand huge salaries, and concentrate instead on having a really good script. Then I'd find some talented but under-appreciated/utilized actors/actresses and see what I could do with them instead. In the last 5 years or so, I've seen much more "in depth" and interesting stories coming out of foreign films with exponentially lower production budgets than the garbage we keep cranking out here in the USA. It's time for Hollywood to rethink how they do business ... not to blame file-sharers for their problems and try to continue the status-quo!

Worst Part (2, Insightful)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464224)

The worst part, in my opinion, is that this isn't even a good movie to pirate. I mean, it was okay to watch on Netflix, but there's no excuse for pirating such a mediocre film. Yea, it won an Oscar, but it was basically just a re-packaged Jarhead.

If this had been over Inception or another really great film, I could understand better. This? Please.

Re:Worst Part (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33464372)

The worst part, in my opinion, is that this isn't even a good movie to pirate. I mean, it was okay to watch on Netflix, but there's no excuse for pirating such a mediocre film. Yea, it won an Oscar, but it was basically just Minesweeper: The Movie.

If this had been over Inception or another really great film, I could understand better. This? Please.

FTFM.

14.5M if everyone settles (1)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464244)

The Oscar was guilt award provided by the academy to show their support for the troops. The movie, even if it never hit the p2p networks, would have never grossed more.

The movie wasn't a public hit because it didn't appeal to a broad range of movie goers. If they feel they need to sue for this - then so be it, but 5,000 cases in one DC court? What the fuck was this judge thinking?

How many of these John Does will be international (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33464298)

I'm curious to see just how much of a waste of time this will be.

"Where's this one?"

"Umm, we traced it to an ISP in Alert Bay, Canada."

"Tell him we'll go after all of his assets in the State of California!"

Marketing By Lawsuit (1)

lunatic1969 (1010175) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464340)

I've never heard of this movie before now. Maybe they need to consider doing some marketing rather than suing people.

THEY SHOULD PAY ME (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33464360)

They should pay all the poor sap's $2,900 each for having to sit through this garbage movie. WHERE"S MY CHECK?

I never downloaded Hurt Locker... (1)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464396)

...and now I'll never rent it or buy it! Congrats on the lost sale!

The real reason ... (3, Funny)

tgd (2822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464416)

Academy masturbation aside "zomg, a WOMAN made a WAR movie about IRAQ!!!", the real reason it had a poor box office showing was that the movie, frankly, sucked.

The people who downloaded it were the lucky ones.

Piracy has no excuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33464420)

Regardless if the film sucker or not, no matter how much it cost to make or how much it made, the fact is that no one has a right to simply take the work of an artist and distribute it as they please. The producers of this film made this film under the agreement that it would be protected by copyright. It is protected and now those who took it will be made to pay a price.

There is no excuse to taking this film.

Anyone ever heard of... (1)

mldi (1598123) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464440)

Anyone ever heard of "marketing". I didn't even know this damn movie existed until way late in the game. It was actually in theatres? I don't consider myself living under a rock, but maybe the underperformance of the film should be blamed on the tools who were supposed to be marketing it.

What do you expect... (2, Insightful)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464452)

...from a movie that only opened in "art houses"? At least where I live (largish metropolitan area), the movie opened in *two* indie theaters. I don't exactly know how this works, whether the movie producers steer their movie towards indie or mainstream theaters, or if the theaters can pick and choose the movies they show. At any rate, it's no big surprise that a movie that opened in a city of 2 million+ in only two movie theaters would have been short-lived, over-hyped (as these types of movies often are), and revenue-deficient.

$2900 Price Point (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464490)

Sounds to me like it would generally be cheaper to settle than to even bother hiring a lawyer. I think they've got the price point right for a very high settlement to sued ratio.

Perhaps it is just a poor movie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33464516)

Perhaps, just perhaps, it is simply a movie nobody wanted to see. I wonder, reaaallly wonder why anyone who isn't an American would want to watch a self agrandising piece of American rhetoric?

Haven't even heard of it (1)

Niris (1443675) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464520)

I haven't even heard of this movie. Maybe it did bad because it wasn't marketed well enough, or that it was just a crappy movie? There's a LOT of duds out there.

Brilliant business model! (1)

chomsky68 (1719996) | more than 3 years ago | (#33464530)

Production costs are $15M. 5000 downloaders @ $2900 a head is £14.5M. Leaking the movie 5 months prior to its official release almost guarantees that at least 5000 people is going to download it (which might not be the case after it hit the cinemas). If worst comes to worst, the investors break even. Whoever came up with the idea deserves an award!
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