Nearly two weeks after its upcoming action flick “The Expendables 3” was leaked online, Lionsgate was granted a restraining order against several sites hosting the offending torrent files.
U.S. District Judge Margaret Morrow wrote in an opinion late Monday that the studio had convincingly argued that the leak of the Sylvester Stallone-fronted flick would be a costly affair.
“Lionsgate has established that it will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of immediate relief,” the judge wrote. “Among other things, Defendants’ likely infringement has stripped Lionsgate of the critical right of first publication, is interfering with Lionsgate’s contractual relationships with third parties, is damaging Lionsgate’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 Lionsgate in damages even if the amount could be calculated.”
The restraining order commands people associated with torrent websites limetorrents.com, billionuploads.com, hulkfile.eu, played.to, swankshare.com, and dotsemper.com from infringing on Lionsgate’s copyrights or participating in any activity that would promote such an act. Banks and financial service companies are requested to “immediately cease transferring or disposing of any money or other assets residing in such accounts, cease allowing such funds to be transferred or withdrawn, and cease allowing any diminutions to be made by Defendants from such accounts pending further order of this Court.”
The film is the third in a franchise that has made $574 million worldwide thus far. According to experts, the leak will most likely cost Lionsgate and producer Avi Lerner significant revenue in ticket and home entertainment sales.
“There is significant potential for dilution of the film’s revenue, both at the box office and on cable, DVD and Blu-Ray,” Pierce O’Donnell, a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property at Greenburg Glusker, recently told TheWrap.
That said, not everyone believes that the piracy will end up being costly.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.