'Expendables 3' Piracy Suspects Arrested in U.K.


Two men are suspected of uploading a copy of the film to the Internet three weeks before its official release

Two men have been arrested in the north of England on suspicion of leaking copies of The Expandables 3 online before its release.

The pair were taken in by U.K. anti-piracy police and are suspected of stealing a high-quality copy of the film from a cloud-based system before uploading it on the Internet.

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The film began circulating online on July 25, ahead of its official U.S. release on Aug. 15. It was downloaded more than 10 million times, something the film’s studio Lionsgate has said had a huge financial impact on the film. In its opening weekend, The Expendables 3 took in $16.2 million at the U.S. box office, well below that of the previous two franchise installments.

"Today's operation shows you the significant impact intellectual property crime has on our creative industries, with millions of pounds being lost as a result of criminal actions,” said detective chief inspector Danny Medlycott, in quotes published by BBC News. Medlycott heads up the London-based Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, which deals with piracy.

"The public need to be aware that piracy is not a victimless crime. By downloading illegal music, film, TV and books, not only are you exposing your own computer to the risk of viruses and malware, but you are also putting hard-working people's livelihoods at risk as piracy threatens the security of thousands of jobs in the UK's creative industries."

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Speaking at the American Film Market earlier in the month, The Expandables producer Avi Lerner claimed that what happened with the third installation of the action series was a prime example of the effects of piracy on the industry.

"Everyone wants to hide what happened on Expendables 3," he said, "especially the domestic distributors. 'Don't talk about it!' But I'll tell you there is about $250 million in box office we lost."

In September a lawyer representing Millennium Films revealed that he had been sending out letters to those who had downloaded film illegally, urging them to settle.

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