Cinematic success story The Hurt Locker was popular long before it won an Oscar for Best Picture and before its director won the first Best Director Oscar for a female director. In fact, it was popular before it was released. A screener copy of the movie was leaked through bitorrent sites three months before its theatrical release, and the downloads only grew once its critical acclaim became well known. Since the Academy Awards ceremony, it has been downloaded three million times. Nevertheless, even with the numerous awards, nominations, and accolades, box office numbers remained low ($16.4 million).
TorrentFreak reports that the makers of the film will attempt to recoup the lost revenue by suing a large number of users who illegally downloaded the movie. They have reportedly hired the U.S. Copyright Group to take legal action against many of the copyright abusers.
The U.S. Copyright Group has used similar tactics in the past against smaller indie film piracy. They request IP addresses from ISPs to identify culprits, and they demand that they pay up for the downloaded content. In the vast majority of cases, the users settled and paid for the content. The makers of the content recoup their losses from piracy, but they only make 30% off each settlement. The U.S. copyright group keeps the other 70%. Thomas Dunlap, a lawyer with the U.S. Copyright Group said that 75% of ISPs have already cooperated with them in giving up identifying information.
The exact numbers of the litigation is as of yet unknown, but Dunlap said this: "You can guess that relative to the films we've pursued already, the order of magnitude is much higher with Hurt Locker." The lawsuit is expected to go into effect this week.