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Online Movie Download Woes Continue in Hollywood

Posted on in White Collar Crimes

expendables3

By Attorney, Christopher Strohbehn

The music industry of the 1990’s has seen a lot of changes as cassette tapes replaced vinyl records and cd’s replaced cassette tapes. However, perhaps the most impactful change of that decade could be contributed to the growing popularity with digital music replacing cd’s, causing the music industry revenue to plummet to an all-time low. In 1999 Napster made its debut as a free online file-sharing service.  While the free downloading service was eventually deemed illegal, in the interim, music sales  took a drastic hit.

Unfortunately, the music industry isn’t the only one suffering from illegal downloads. The movie industry is also seeing the affects of Internet piracy. After its recent debut in August, Hollywood’s movie “Expendables 3” experienced dismal box office sales. According to the show’s directors, illegal downloads of the movie are the cause. On July 24, 2014, just before its official release to the box office, “Expendables 3” illegally appeared online. Within 12 hours, over 100,000 copies of this movie were illegally downloaded.  A recent online article by Torrent Freak suggests that Nu Image, the company behind the movie, claims the loss has been devastating. The CEO of Nu Image, Avi Lerner, claims the stealing of such intellectual property has cost the movie box office $250 million.

What can be done to stop the piracy? Sincere lobbying efforts in 2012 for SOPA anti-piracy legislation proved to be futile, according to Lerner, as he feels the US Government seems scared of Google’s power. So, they’ve taken matters in their own hands for retribution. Lionsgate, the distributor of “Expendables 3”, has won a restraining order against six sites guilty of posting pirated copies of the movie. In addition, Millennium Films has decided to pursue the individuals who have illegally downloaded this movie which will involve obtaining a subpoena against ISPs in order to reveal the identities of those who hold various IP addresses.  

In addition to movie leaks, Marvel has experienced a trailer leak to their movie “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” and their request for a subpoena against Google has been granted. To help Marvel find the person responsible for this leak, the court has ordered Google to produce any information that would identify a user or pseudonym name for John Gazelle. This subpoena also requires Google to include the IP addresses of other accounts associated with that person including YouTube, Google+ and Google Drive accounts.

Although going after individuals and Google may send out a message that these types of downloads equal stealing, until there are firmer, punishable laws for internet piracy, illegal downloads will continue. Until then, movie makers can only keep trying and pursuing in hopes of ultimately finding some justice in the end.

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