Friday, December 30th 2011

Hurt Locker Copyright Extortion Racket In Tatters, Plaintiffs' Hypocrisy

Voltage Pictures, producers of movie Hurt Locker attempted to use a reverse class action tactic to extort hundreds of millions in 'settlement' claims aka extortion demands over alleged 'losses' due to 'piracy' – something that has never and can never, be quantified and proved. However, their attempt has failed miserably – plus read on for how Voltage Pictures did a little content 'theft' of their very own to make the movie.

The idea was to use the services of the US Copyright Group (USCG) to extract personal subscriber information from ISP's via subpoenas and then send demand letters averaging US $2,000 to hapless victims, with the hope of racking in a grand total of around US $94 million - way more than the film ever made, about US $12.6 million.
The USCG quickly unloaded lawsuit claims against 47K members of the unwitting American public, even as Voltage Picture spewed a stream of vitriol suggesting that the children and families of file sharers would hopefully "end up in jail".
explained DailyTech, putting it very well. Yes, let's get the kiddies in the name of corporate copyright and profit...

However, the ISP's, not terribly keen on throwing out their customers (those being the people who keep them in business, note) dragged their feet with the subscriber information demands, which really messed up VP/UCSG's little extortion racket. This forced USCG to drastically reduce the number of claims to just 2,300. Even this reduction wasn't enough though, as without the required subscriber information, they couldn't send out their precious 'settlement' letters in this reverse class action tactic and had to ask the court for one extension after another. However, even though the presiding judge was Judge Beryl Howell who had previously been an RIAA lobbyist, spending years decrying the evils of piracy was sympathetic to their cause, in the end got fed up with the UCSG's antics and did what she should have done in the first place: threw the whole sham case out of court, ending VP's expensive experiment in mass litigation.

Well, nearly. It appears that VP wants to focus on sending out a smaller number of 'settlement' letters, but demanding bigger amounts from each mark. Oh, so hang on, economies of scale apply here do they? If the amount downloaded illegally in total allegedly loses them X million dollars, then shouldn't that be spread evenly among all the 'perpetrators'? You can't just claim more from a smaller number of people to make up the difference! You might as well just go after one person and nail them for the whole amount! This is another telltale indicating that it's nothing more than an extortion racket and anyone caught by one of these extortion letters should use it as part of their defence.

It's a very, very good thing that this tactic failed. Had it worked, the media cartels would have launched wave after wave of reverse class action claims, extorting hundreds of millions from the American public, all in the name of copyright. The USCG alone had set a goal of suing over 150,000 Americans. What in particular makes this so disgusting is that 99%+ of these defendants don't have the resources (ie they're too poor) to defend themselves in court against these lawsuits from companies with deep pockets and would therefore be forced to cough up the money demanded in the 'settlement' letter. Note that making this kind of mass litigation quick and easy is one of the aims of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) currently going through Congress, so it's incredibly important that it's never passed into law.

DailyTech made the following important points:
They also point to growing legal support for the notion that an IP address cannot be equated to a person -- something the tech community has long understood. Given that somebody
crack your Wi-Fi connection, download content, and leave you with the fine, this seems a pretty valid point.

Voltage, for its part, appears to be unwilling to give up the fight. It reportedly is changing gears, hoping to launch a number of smaller suits against individuals, with higher settlement targets.

But like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), it may find itself fighting against the wind. The RIAA spent $64M USD to win a mere $1.4M USD from pirates during its most prolific lawsuit period between 2006 and 2008.
And now the juicy bit that you've been waiting for: Hurt Locker writer Mark Boal spent time with Army Master Sgt. Jeffrey S. Sarver and his company of brave soldiers before making the movie. Sarver claims that the films storyline has been lifted from the time they spent together, but that Boal claims it’s fictitious expressly to avoid paying any kind of compensation to the soldiers who risked their lives on the battlefield. Yes, the film makers are hypocrites: hypocrites against the very people who help defend their country for them! Disgusting. These accusations are very similar to those being made against the major music labels, who reportedly have been lifting works from independent artists on a large scale.

So, just how low will these copyright maximalists go?
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67 Comments on Hurt Locker Copyright Extortion Racket In Tatters, Plaintiffs' Hypocrisy

#1
5-101DS1PathfinderCo
Boal claims it’s fictitious expressly to avoid paying any kind of compensation to the soldiers who risked their lives on the battlefield- Seriously Boal; Don't show your face on Ft. Campbell
Posted on Reply
#2
treehouse
nice write up quibit :toast:

bastards make me sick
Posted on Reply
#3
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
by: treehouse
nice write up quibit :toast:

bastards make me sick
You're very welcome! :toast:
Posted on Reply
#5
Arrakis+9
Love reading your articles qubit they're very informative, keep up the great work
Posted on Reply
#6
mediasorcerer
Me too, i dont know how some people sleep at night, what do they tell there children when they ask ,what does daddy do for a job, oh, he extorts money from innocents ? seriously?
And the gumption to throw all this drm/copyright stuff back at us now,bah.
Posted on Reply
#7
RejZoR
I couldn't care any less for the movie. Never watched it and never will. The only time i heard it was ages ago when they started this extortion nonsense for it. Otherwise i wouldn't even know it ever existed.

As for the "defending" the nation. Ok, it's not soldiers fault that they are in this whole mess, but then again, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam etc etc never really cared about USA until the very same USA started interfering with them. So if they weren't interfering, there would be no need to defend anyone. It's all of the economic interest and nothing else. Though they also spend billions for army stuff so go figure. WW2 was a bit of a different thing since it was a global thing.
Anyway, this is for some other time...
Posted on Reply
#8
pantherx12
Honestly if these companies had any sense about going after people they would just send a letter saying

"I hope you enjoyed the film, please consider purchasing our movie if you enjoyed it"

Obviously mostly it would go in the trash but I imagine a lot of people would be like " what cool guys!" and pay the money.
Posted on Reply
#9
WhiteLotus
I enjoyed that film, definitely worth buying.
Posted on Reply
#10
DaC
it's very simple... stop buying any movie, any cd or stuff... stop downloading any paid media stuff, stop attending to big labels show, stop watching TV, stop going to movie theater and in the end everybody will watch this son ***** of going down licking our ****...... end of story...

Economics is the biggest issue today, most of wars that happen are related to that.... these guys rely 100% on the people money, so hell.... it's very easy to destroy them... I say let's go into war with these suckers.... :rockout:

Educate yourself, family and friends not to buy or care about any trash stuff they produce (which is almost 100% of their production)
Posted on Reply
#11
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
I can't wait to get one of those letters. Free legal counsel and a counter suit for slander?
Posted on Reply
#12
ironwolf
Wait, I thought the USCG was the United States Coast Guard? lol
Posted on Reply
#13
TheMailMan78
Big Member
Why can't you people just stop being lazy and go rent the movie? I mean really. Stop stealing and start renting. Problem solved for everyone.
Posted on Reply
#14
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
I don't even understand why you're writing about this here. This is a pure techsite. And again you talk about media cartels. Also the word extortion is a bad choice. I mean I know from just reading the title that you really hate whatever it is they are doing so I can't except to read a fair article about it.
Posted on Reply
#15
NdMk2o1o
by: TheMailMan78
Why can't you people just stop being lazy and go rent the movie? I mean really. Stop stealing and start renting. Problem solved for everyone.
Erm are you suggesting most people who agree with the points in Q's news piece/editorial (sorry Q :p) are pirates? good to see the old MM hasn't quite disappeared. Surely we all agree that piracy is bad but the point constantly argued is the fact the way movie/music/game devs try to go after people is just wrong, using underhanded tactics any which way but loose, but that's ok is it? even if the so-called perpetrators can't be proved to be guilty of anything and some of those tactics are borederline illegal immoral as piracy? please. Not too mention the government backed institutions such as sopa/riaa etc that are so called independant bodies fighting for the digital media industries, please. You as an american should see that these are borderline censorship corporations that will use piracy as an excuse to take away your rights of freedom as an american?

by: Frick
I don't even understand why you're writing about this here. This is a pure techsite. And again you talk about media cartels. Also the word extortion is a bad choice. I mean I know from just reading the title that you really hate whatever it is they are doing so I can't except to read a fair article about it.
It's digital media/piracy, relevancy found!!
Sorry you have no credability here please move on and find something else to hate on. I wouldn't mind if you had a decent argument to back up all of your hating but most of the time you don't and your posts prove it with your fanboyish borderline trolling comments, as if anyone really cares what you have to say. When you want to have an adult debate then by all means do your homework and come with a good argument, until then....

Posted on Reply
#16
digibucc
yeah this is disgusting actually
Posted on Reply
#17
TheMailMan78
Big Member
by: NdMk2o1o
Erm are you suggesting most people who agree with the points in Q's news piece/editorial (sorry Q :p) are pirates? good to see the old MM hasn't quite disappeared. Surely we all agree that piracy is bad but the point constantly argued is the fact the way movie/music/game devs try to go after people is just wrong, using underhanded tactics any which way but loose, but that's ok is it? even if the so-called perpetrators can't be proved to be guilty of anything and some of those tactics are borederline illegal immoral as piracy? please. Not too mention the government backed institutions such as sopa/riaa etc that are so called independant bodies fighting for the digital media industries, please. You as an american should see that these are borderline censorship corporations that will use piracy as an excuse to take away your rights of freedom as an american?
How many people have been prosecuted and punished by law who have been caught pirating software/music or movies?

Now how many have been prosecuted and punished by law who HAVEN'T been pirating software/music or movies? See my point?

Thing is people who care about pirating and the prosecution of pirates themselves pirate. I mean Joe Sixpack who doesn't even know how to torrent could care less about this. It doesn't effect him. You know what? It doesn't effect me ether. Why? Because I don't torrent. But pirates NOW have spoon fed the government a reason to censor the internet. So thank you pirates. Thank you for giving them a reason to take away more of my rights. Because your lazy and have no respect I now have to deal with more government intrusion. Joe Sixpack thanks you too. Thank you so much for your "Good Fight".
Posted on Reply
#18
NdMk2o1o
by: TheMailMan78
How many people have been prosecuted and punished by law who have been caught pirating software/music or movies?

Now how many have been prosecuted and punished by law who HAVEN'T been pirating software/music or movies? See my point?

Thing is people who care about pirating and the prosecution of pirates themselves pirate. I mean Joe Sixpack who doesn't even know how to torrent could care less about this. It doesn't effect him. You know what? It doesn't effect me ether. Why? Because I don't torrent. But pirates NOW have spoon fed the government a reason to censor the internet. So thank you pirates. Thank you for giving them a reason to take away more of my rights. Because your lazy and have no respect I now have to deal with more government intrusion. Joe Sixpack thanks you too. Thank you so much for your "Good Fight".
You go and throw away your rights which the US seems to shout about so much as YOU created democracy didn't you?, doesnt mean you're right does it :slap: Glad you're bk :rolleyes:
Censorship doesn't affect you mate, go bk to bed, nothing to see here. Tool.
Lets see your strong opinions when your american right to carry arms is taken away as oh yea you give a shit about that don't you? well sign your freedom to information over and you can kiss every other freedom goodbye from behind with no lube, but you asked for it so am sure you won't mind :o
Posted on Reply
#19
DaC
MM take a better think about what you're saying... you're actually saying that people that go against a notion of law is a criminal.... this is similar to the argument many countries are using to kill their population, the part that wants something to be changed...
This stuff is kind of: "Oh, you're against law, you're a criminal and we can make whatever law we want, whatever way we want, backed up by wealthy companies that makes political lobby to defend their interests"
If downloading digital content (protected or not), is done by most of the population all over the world, and I'm quite sure it is, well.... the industry needs to find a new way to get their money or close the doors... people will pay for whatever artist they want to support, I'm quite sure about it too, just don't think all this s***t that is created daily is worth a crap and that people should be pressed to pay for it....
Digital content distribution over the net already forced some changes in the business.... or do you really think being able to buy a single track to play over your iphone instead of a full album full of shit is not a clearly consequence of that ?
Don't worry about these companies, they'll adapt, they just don't want because it's getting harder to profit with the easy old ways.... They just want to force a bigger market to accept a higher profit margins they want to make...

And all laws should protect the less economic fortunate people against greedy wealthy companies... :banghead:
Think outside the box, take a different perspective, defend your rights. :toast:

Some (I mean, most), people just don't have luck to be able to buy whatever content they want for whatever price it's charged... while there are others that well... paying is not a problem for their deep pockets... :ohwell:
Posted on Reply
#20
digibucc
by: TheMailMan78
See my point?
amen brother! if you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to fear! ;) i mean, i don't get what the big deal is! what they should do, is just put cameras in anybody's house that's suspected of being a pirate. who has to suspect them you ask? i don't know... do you suspect anyone?

anyway - once that part's figured out, you just watch the cameras. then you know who is pirating and not. hey that could fix a lot of other problems too!

and the great thing is, if you are "joe six-pack" or any other good citizen, all they'll see is you eating your cheetos doritos and mcdonalds, watching survivor or dancing with the stars, and drinking a beer. that's what a good american does so if you're a good american you should have NO problem having a camera in your face while doing it.

/sarcasm
Posted on Reply
#22
NdMk2o1o
by: digibucc
amen brother! if you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to fear! ;) i mean, i don't get what the big deal is! what they should do, is just put cameras in anybody's house that's suspected of being a pirate. who has to suspect them you ask? i don't know... do you suspect anyone?

anyway - once that part's figured out, you just watch the cameras. then you know who is pirating and not. hey that could fix a lot of other problems too!

and the great thing is, if you are "joe six-pack" or any other good citizen, all they'll see is you eating your cheetos doritos and mcdonalds, watching survivor or dancing with the stars, and drinking a beer. that's what a good american does so if you're a good american you should have NO problem having a camera in your face while doing it.

/sarcasm
fuckin A man, I for one am surprised at seeing such an american spouting such rubbish, wasn't this the land that was built on freedom of choice and speech, yet MM will gladly give it away because he is right on piracy and y'all pirates should repent, sorry have you got an southern accent by any chance MM?
Posted on Reply
#23
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
by: NdMk2o1o
Erm are you suggesting most people who agree with the points in Q's news piece/editorial (sorry Q :p) are pirates?
What, are you accusing me of writing an editorial?! :eek: :laugh: Seriously though, you actually paid me a compliment.

I was a little undecided whether to mark it as an editorial or not, because of the large quantity of commentary and analysis in it. However, I didn't, because an editorial would tend to look at a general triend, giving examples of issues that are part of that trend. However, this article is about a specific story (extortion racket over unproven 'piracy' losses) so it comes in as a news article. The line is indeed blurred though, as I've said on many occasions.

What people don't seem to realize, when they disparagingly say "editorial" is that an editorial actually takes much more time and effort to write than a straight news post and has a lot more content in to chew over for the reader. Plus, our dear reader needs a longer concentration span to take it all in, too, ahhh.
Posted on Reply
#24
TheMailMan78
Big Member
lol Who said I supported SOPA? Of course I don't support it. But the difference between me and almost everyone on this forum is I make my money from copyrights. I'm a professional artist. Its how I feed my children. So every time someone enjoys my work without paying for it you are in fact taking food from my kids. Think not? Then why should I be a professional artist if NO ONE PAYS ME. Savvy?

No I'm against SOPA and all this jazz because they are using piracy as an excuse to take away rights. Most people on here are against it because they might go to jail for STEALING for a change. I'm for that aspect. You should. If I could trust the government to enforce laws without invading personal rights I would be for SOPA. But alas I can't. This is why I'm against it. Not some fairy tail Robin Hood fantasy. I do enjoy the fact you all assume I'm for it. It really shows how shallow your argument is to attack me personally.

I also find it very amusing people who live in nations with face recognition cameras in major city's don't have an out cry for that but the second someone wants to stop their illegal downloading practices they scream about personal rights. Really? lol

Like I said the sloth of pirates have spoon fed the US goverment a reason to invade my home. Nice job guys.

by: digibucc
amen brother! if you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to fear! ;) i mean, i don't get what the big deal is! what they should do, is just put cameras in anybody's house that's suspected of being a pirate. who has to suspect them you ask? i don't know... do you suspect anyone?

anyway - once that part's figured out, you just watch the cameras. then you know who is pirating and not. hey that could fix a lot of other problems too!

and the great thing is, if you are "joe six-pack" or any other good citizen, all they'll see is you eating your cheetos doritos and mcdonalds, watching survivor or dancing with the stars, and drinking a beer. that's what a good american does so if you're a good american you should have NO problem having a camera in your face while doing it.

/sarcasm
As usual you missed my point man. Seems like you and I do this from time to time. lol
Posted on Reply
#25
HalfAHertz
Ok analogy time:
Let's say I'm an architect and I design a building. I'd like to think of myself as an artist because I bring beauty into people's lives. It get built and I get paid for the design. Then it's out in the public and it's really nice and people take pictures of it. I get paid only once and it would be considered silly or even crazy if I went around and asked every person, who made a picture of my building, for money ...

The internet is PUBLIC - once you put something on the internet EVERYONE can see it.

I don't see why some mofo has to make money every time a song they made song is played on the radio or because a picture they drew was shown somewhere while I get paid only once...

They get to be lazy and do nothing WHILE GETTING PAID FOR IT while I have to spend countless sleepless nights and take the responsibility of people's lives and yet get paid only once. Why are they considered more important than me?

If I am a doctor and I save your life, I'll get paid only once - I'm not going around asking my patients for a monthly subscription because they're alive thanks to me...

you get a job done - you get paid for it once. You do another one - you get paid again. End of story.
Posted on Reply
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