'Hurt Locker' producers follow RIAA footsteps

Producers of acclaimed war film are preparing to sue, according to report. This strategy was tried by the music sector and leaders there dropped it.

For years now, film industry executives have giggled at the mention of the music industry's legal campaign against individuals who illegally downloaded music.

"The Hurt Locker" won six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, but only grossed $16 million in the United States. Screenshot by Greg Sandoval/CNET

The movie folks have long quietly mocked the music industry's attempt to protect their copyrights by suing fans. To them, the strategy-- abandoned by the recording sector over a year ago--was a fantastic public relations flub that the film industry largely avoided. Apparently, the producers of the critically acclaimed film "The Hurt Locker" didn't get that memo.

The Hollywood Reporter, a trade publication for the film and TV sectors, reported Wednesday that Voltage Pictures, the producers of the Oscar-winning film, are on the verge of filing possibly tens of thousands of lawsuits against people who downloaded pirated copies of the movie.

Thomas Dunlap, of the U.S. Copyright Group, a law firm working on behalf of Voltage, told the Reporter that the complaints should be filed this week.

Representatives from Voltage and the Copyright Group were not immediately to comment for this story.

It's not difficult to guess why Voltage managers are so fired up. They won an Academy Award but only pocketed $16 million in the United States. According to the Reporter, the film leaked on to the Web more than five months before the U.S. release.

One thing must be made very clear, the Motion Picture Association of America is not part of this campaign. That may be another reason the producers may feel the need to file the suits. The indie movie wasn't made by any of the big studios and that means it doesn't have the MPAA helping to prevent leaks or lean on Internet service providers to help thwart file sharing. Producers must pursue their own antipiracy strategy.

It's probably frustrating for the producers to have earned so little from a movie that generated so much critical praise. How much piracy can be blamed for that isn't clear. One question that hasn't been answered is whether or not the producers of the film will recoup any losses after paying legal fees and other costs.

 

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