Over the past few weeks movie studio Lionsgate has rolled out an unprecedented anti-piracy campaign to stop people from sharing leaked copies of The Expendables 3.
Aside from dragging six file-sharing sites to court, Lionsgate sent out hundreds of thousands of takedown notices to websites that linked to pirated copies of the leaked movie.
As a result all traces of the movie were completely wiped from many file-sharing sites. However, the movie studio still isn’t satisfied and is now going after individual downloaders as well.
Lionsgate has started sending takedown notices targeting people sharing the movie via BitTorrent. The notices are being sent to various ISPs who are urged to forward them to the customers whose accounts were monitored sharing the movie.
Interestingly, this also includes those who use remote servers known as BitTorrent seedboxes. While many believe that seedboxes keep them safe from the prying eyes of piracy monitoring firms, this is not always the case. Yesterday, a customer of the Canadian seedbox provider Whatbox received the following notice.
Via an email Whatbox urged the customer to delete the file in question, or face account suspension.
“A copyright complaint has been received for content existing on your account. To prevent account suspension, please delete the affected content within the next 24 hours,” the notice reads.
TorrentFreak contacted Whatbox, who explained that this takedown procedure is standard policy. As an Internet access provider it properly processes all incoming requests form copyright holders.
“When we receive a notice we check for the infohash and email the appropriate customer asking them to remove the file(s). Nothing is passed along to the copyright enforcement group except to confirm that the content was found and subsequently removed,” Anthony Ryan of Whatbox says.
“If a customer causes a large number of copyright complaints, we reserve the right terminate their service with a prorated refund and 24 hours of complimentary service to backup all their non-infringing files,” Ryan adds.
The above notice confirms that Lionsgate’s takedown efforts are now targeting individual downloaders, through their ISPs. The action appears limited to warning letters and at least for now there are no signs that Lionsgate will drag file-sharers to court.
Nu Image, another studio involved in the production of The Expendables 3, hasn’t taken any legal action either. However, they are more familiar with the topic than Lionsgate, as they sued a record breaking 23,322 U.S. Internet users for downloading a copy of the first Expendables film.
To be continued?