6:04pm PT by Austin Siegemund-Broka
Pierce Brosnan's 'Survivor' Triggers Piracy Lawsuit from Producers
Avi Lerner's war on piracy continues.
The mogul filed suit in Oregon through a production entity for Survivor, the Pierce Brosnan action movie his Nu Image and Millennium produced in 2015, against 16 users of the software Popcorn Time for illegally streaming the release.
Sometimes called the "Netflix of BitTorrent," Popcorn Time provides an interface for streaming movies and TV over BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer file-sharing platform often associated with piracy (though the company denies the reports).
The complaint states in boldface, "Popcorn Time exists for one purpose and one purpose only: to steal copyrighted content." Nu Image and Millennium claim Survivor has been downloaded "hundreds of thousands of times," with over 10,000 illegal downloads in Oregon.
The producers do not identify the defendants, referring only to "John Does 1-16." They plan to subpoena the defendants' internet service provider (ISP), Comcast, to identify the alleged infringers, states the complaint.
They want the defendants enjoined from pirating copyrighted works and seek statutory damages under federal copyright infringement laws. They state in a release they would be willing to settle with any of the 16 Popcorn Time viewers for $750, the minimum damages amount for copyright infringement under 17 U.S. Code § 504.
The company partnered with the U.S. Copyright Group to sue 23,322 alleged pirates of The Expendables, the company's Sylvester Stallone franchise starter that earned a surprise $103 million in the U.S. The lawsuit was dropped after a judge questioned whether defendants nationwide should be sued in a single courtroom.
Since, the lawsuits have generally targeted many fewer defendants, around 10 or 20. Nu Image felt the effect of piracy three years later with The Expendables 3, which earned only $15.9 million its opening weekend after a copy was illegally downloaded millions of times, prompting a lawsuit from distributor Lionsgate.
“It’s time that we hold people responsible for their actions. Copyright infringement is illegal," said Lerner in a statement. "As creative content producers, we can't be expected to continue to look the other way while the livelihoods of talented filmmakers and craftspeople take a hit again and again."