Pirates mine Oscar’s gold

Nominated pix see spike in illegal downloads

Everyone knows about the B.O. bump an Oscar can bring, but it turns out there’s an Oscar bump for pirated pics as well.

New data from BayTSP, which tracks Internet piracy, shows illegal downloaders are just as interested in the Oscar seal of approval.

Most months, the top 10 movies being offered illegally online are ones that appeal to the young male demo. Thus in February, “Alien vs. Predator,” “I, Robot” and “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” were among the most popular.

But in March, the pirated movies list included an unusually eclectic mix: “Hotel Rwanda,” “The Aviator,” and “Sideways” all hit the top 10 for the first time.

None had been popular with pirates before, but their one common trait was multiple Oscar noms.

No word yet on whether Internet geeks have started boycotting merlot.

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