While the Expendables 3 isn’t exactly an Oscar winning masterpiece, or even the best movie in the series, it did gain widespread fame for the huge number of times it was downloaded after a near-perfect copy appeared online one month before its August 2014 release date.
Several people linked with leaking the movie were eventually arrested, and studio Lionsgate filed lawsuits against a number of file-sharing sites after they failed to respond to takedown requests. As Torrent Freak reports, a federal court in California has now ordered the operators of three of these sites to pay $150,000 each for copyright infringement offenses.
The alleged operators of the sites, who failed to appear in court, were ordered to pay the maximum statutory amount that can be awarded in these type of cases. The Judge said the high figure was appropriate because the studio likely suffered a substantial loss as a result of the leak.
“In light of the fact that the film garnered over $575 million dollars in worldwide box office revenues, the ‘value of the copyright’ strongly favors a high award of statutory damages,” Judge Wright noted. “Defendants hosted the anticipated film available online prior to its theatrical release for the purpose of enabling users to illegally download it, which more than likely diminished Plaintiff’s revenue substantially,” he added.
In addition to the fines, the judge issued a permanent injunction against Muhammed Ashraf (LimeTorrents), Tom Messchendorp (Dotsemper), and Lucas Lim (Swankshare), forbidding them from operating their sites and any other websites where the Expendables 3 is made available.
Just how much effect this judgment has remains to be seen. Dotsemper and Swankshare previously shut down, and their operators, who live outside the US, haven’t responded to the ruling.
The LimeTorrents operator, Muhammed Ashraf, seems equally unlikely to comply with the judge’s orders. “We want to keep the site up and running, and we don’t care about default judgment because we don’t have any faith in the United States,” he told Torrent Freak. "We already took action and blocked their keyword, so we don’t have a penny to pay them for their own leak problem."