During the summer of 2014 LionsGate suffered a major setback when a high quality leak of the then unreleased Expendables 3 film appeared online.
Fearing a massive loss in revenue the movie studio sued the operators of several websites that allegedly failed to remove the infringing files.
Over the past year there has been little progress in the case as most of the accused site operators failed to respond to LionsGate’s complaint.
In a new filing at the California district court LionsGate indicates a desire to move forward by asking for a default judgment (pdf) against the operators of LimeTorrents and the defunct Dotsemper and Swankshare sites.
While the sites have nothing to do with the original leak, they allegedly failed to respond to a slew of takedown requests sent by the movie studio in the days after the film leaked.
According to the court papers LimeTorrents is operated by Javed Ashraf, who like the other two operators is not based in the United States.
“Prior to filing this lawsuit Lions Gate sent multiple demand letters to Defendant Ashraf demanding that he immediately cease his infringement but received no response, and the infringement did not stop,” the studio writes.
This inaction contributed to the millions of pirated downloads that occurred before the film officially premiered, LionsGate argues, accusing the defendants of causing “substantial and irreparable damage.”
The movie studio is now asking the court to issue a default judgment preventing the site operators from offering or linking to pirated copies of The Expendables 3.
In addition, LionsGate demands the maximum $150,000 statutory damages for willful copyright infringement from each of them, as well as compensation for attorney fees and additional costs.
Previously LionsGate settled with the operator of video hosting service Played.to. Without the other defendants showing up in court, it is also expected to win this case easily.
Whether the accused site operators will actually cough up the money is another matter.
At the time of writing both Swankshare and Dotsemper are offline, and have been for a while. LimeTorrents and TorrentDownload.biz remain operational though.
In fact, while LimeTorrents blocked the “Expendables 3” term from its search results, there are still hundreds of individual torrent download pages available that link to the film.
Update: Limetorrents’ operator Javed Ashraf informs TorrentFreak that the .com domain is locked, but that they will continue operating under a new domain name. He’s not planning to comply with the default judgement, if it’s granted.
“We already took action and blocked the keyword so we don’t have to pay them a penny for their own leak problem,” he says.