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. 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: 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?