Executives at Voltage Pictures, the company which financed Kathryn Bigelow's war drama, are suing 5,000 BitTorrent file-sharers, accusing them of copyright violation by unlawfully accessing the picture, which was leaked online six months before its U.S. release date in 2009.
The suit lists the defendants by their Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, with lawyers planning to subpoena Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to identify the offenders, who will be asked to pay $1,500 (£1,000) to be released from their liability.
They face paying up to 10 times that amount if the case goes to court.
The suit, filed in Washington, D.C., reads: "A Defendant's distribution of even one unlawful copy of a motion picture can result in the nearly instantaneous worldwide distribution of that single copy to a limitless number of people. The Plaintiff now seeks redress for this rampant infringement of their exclusive rights."
The Hurt Locker won six Academy Awards in March (10) including the coveted Best Picture Oscar, but only grossed approximately $16 million (£10.7 million) at the U.S. box office.