The production company behind the Academy Award-winning film The Hurt Locker is gearing up to launch a massive lawsuit against “tens of thousands” of people who illegally downloaded the movie.

Voltage Pictures has hitched its wagon to the U.S. Copyright Group, which has already filed lawsuits over approximately ten other films including Far Cry, Call of the Wild 3D and Uncross the Stars. But lawyer Thomas Dunlap says The Hurt Locker suit, which is expected to be filed this week, will be much bigger than any of its previous litigation. “You can guess that relative to the films we’ve pursued already, the order of magnitude is much higher,” he said.

The exact number of people being targeted by the lawsuit is unknown but Dunlap said he expects it to be in the “tens of thousands, if not more.” And unfortunately for potential targets, three-quarters of the internet providers who have been subpoenaed have simply rolled over and cooperated; most of those who are resisting are doing so strictly because of the hassle involved in handing over thousands of customer names.

Downloaders will first be sent a settlement offer from the U.S. Copyright Group, which noted that about 40 percent of individuals have thus far chosen to settle earlier suits. Those who don’t settle will receive a second offer and if that goes ignored, the full lawsuit will be served.

The Hurt Locker was a “great success on BitTorrent,” according to TorrentFreak, particularly after it won the 2009 Academy Award for Best Picture. “The hurt locker” was the most-used search phrase on BitTorrent the day after the awards and the film has been downloaded more than ten million times, including three million since its big win in March. In spite of that, however, the film’s U.S. box office was only $16.4 million.

Dunlap claimed that since news of the U.S. Copyright Group’s lawsuits first broke, 20 to 30 independent film groups have expressed interest in signing on. His firm is also sending representatives to the Cannes Film Festival to discuss more lawsuits with other producers.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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