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Lionsgate Takes 'Expendables 3' Pirates to Court

1 Aug, 2014 By: Chris Tribbey

Weeks before The Expendables 3 hits theaters Aug. 15, a high-quality version of the Lionsgate film has appeared on Bit Torrent sharing sites, leading the studio to sue the operators of the websites.

The suit, filed July 31 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, goes after 10 unnamed operators of the sites billionuploads.com, limetorrents.com, hulkfile.eu, swankshare.com, played.to and dotsemper.com, accusing them of taking a single, stolen digital version of the film, copying it, and sharing it with hundreds of thousands of people.

Lionsgate sent several letters to each site demanding copies of the film be removed, and filed the suit after the letters were ignored.

“Each of them have unlawfully distributed, reproduced, performed and otherwise exploited copies of the stolen film to users in the United States (and elsewhere) and have used Internet Service Providers located in California and/or elsewhere in the United States to carry out their unlawful activities alleged herein,” the suit reads.

“Defendants have willfully, intentionally and maliciously distributed, reproduced, performed and otherwise exploited the film without Lionsgate’s authorization, consent or approval and in violation of Lionsgate’s exclusive rights under the Copyright Act.”

Along with monetary damages, the suit seeks to have the sites shut down, and to turn over all copies of the stolen film and “all servers, hard drives, flash drives, solid state drives, optical discs, mobile devices, personal computers and any other medium within their possession” that carried the film.

The suit also asks that ISPs cooperate in helping stop the film from being shared, and that banks, payment processors and advertising service providers “cease transferring or disposing of any money or other of defendants’ assets, cease allowing such funds to be transferred or withdrawn, and cease allowing any diminutions to be made by defendants from such accounts pending further order of the court.”

The damage could mean millions in lost revenue for the studio, which pulled in hundreds of millions in box office revenue for the first two films. The Bit Torrent tracking news site Torrent Freak reported that the film had been downloaded more than 100,000 times within the first 12 hours of it appearing online.

And burned DVDs of the film are already on the streets. In North Hollywood, two men were seen selling copies of Expendables 3 outside of a Dollar Tree store on Lankershim Boulevard.

In 2009, a New York man uploaded an illegal copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine to the Internet, a month before the film hit theaters. He was later sentenced to a year in federal prison, and the Bit Torrent site he upload the movie to, Megaupload.com, was shuttered by federal authorities in early 2012.

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