Lionsgate Granted Restraining Order Over 'Expendables 3' Leak
A California judge orders six torrent sites to stop distributing the Sylvester Stallone film.
Lionsgate can't put the genie back in the bottle, but the film company has won a temporary restraining order against the anonymous operators of various torrent sites accused of circulating The Expendables 3.
The lawsuit was filed late last week against "John Does 1-10." Lionsgate reported in its lawsuit that on July 24 a digital file containing a high-quality reproduction of the film had been stolen and uploaded to the Internet. In a follow-up motion, Lionsgate told the judge that Expendables 3 had already been downloaded 2.1 million times, including approximately 247,000 times in the United States.
To counter the Expendables 3 leak in advance of of a Aug. 15 release for the film, Lionsgate's outside vendor MarkMonitor has sent about 2,770 take-down requests covering 10,846 unique host URLs.
But Lionsgate said it wasn't enough. The film studio told the judge that it wasn't merely concerned about the amount of potential revenue lost at the box office, but also its relationship with theatrical exhibitors.
"Lions Gate has established that it will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of immediate relief," responded U.S. District Judge Margaret Morrow in an order issued late Monday. "Among other things, Defendants’ likely infringement has stripped Lions Gate of the critical right of first publication, is interfering with Lions Gate’s contractual relationships with third parties, is damaging Lions Gate’s goodwill among consumers, and is depriving Lions Gate of revenue that will be difficult or impossible to calculate, but is likely far in excess of any amount that Defendants could repay to Lions Gate in damages even if the amount could be calculated."
The restraining order targets the officers behind limetorrents.com, billionuploads.com, hulfile.eu, played.to, swankshare.com and dotsemper.com — entities that are said to have ignored demands to remove The Expendables 3. These sites are enjoined from hosting or linking to the film, taking any action that contributes to the infringement of the film, and transferring the registration of their sites. The temporary restraining order is valid until August 8, although it's up to the defendants to show cause why the terms of the TRO shouldn't be entered as a preliminary injunction. The judge has also given Lionsgate the ability to contact the banks, payment processors and advertising service providers of the sites to basically freeze accounts.
Although the bulk of the downloads appear to have occurred outside the United States, Lionsgate was able to convince the judge on jurisdiction by, among other things, pointing to evidence that a good deal of the U.S. Expendables 3 piracy — 8.5 percent — happened in Los Angeles.