Mass piracy with The Expendables 3 burned them last year, and this summer Avi Lerner’s Nu Image and Millennium Films aren’t going to stand by to see the same thing happen again. The companies have filed a copyright infringement suit in Oregon against over a dozen individuals who they claim have pirated spy thriller Survivor tens of thousands of times.
“The motion picture Survivor is being wrongfully distributed on the Internet through the BitTorrent network and is now being widely pirated limiting its ability to gain access to and benefit from conventional market outlets,” says the August 20 complaint filed in federal court in the Beaver State over the pic starring Milla Jovovich, Pierce Brosnan and Dylan McDermott (read it here). “Plaintiff comes to court seeking relief as the motion picture Survivor has been downloaded through BitTorrent hundreds of thousands of times with over 10,000 instances of piracy traced to locations in the State of Oregon.”
Having just the IP addresses of the infringers, the complaint seeks to subpoena records from Internet service provider Comcast on who the 16 John Does named actually are. Asking for an injunction plus legal fees, the plaintiffs say that they will forgo asking for the allowed damages of up to $150,000 of each of the John Does named and take just $750 if they’ll cease and desist their Survivor activity immediately.
Unfortunately, as The Expendables 3 case last year showed, getting such action can take time and downloading a film takes minutes. Millennium and Nu Image reckon they lost $161 million from the 60 million and more downloads of the Sylvester Stallone-led sequel, which tanked on the domestic front. In the end, this lawsuit might give Survivor more press than anti-piracy traction if the courts don’t move fast – and being that the complaint was filed on August 20, so far they haven’t been so quick.
The James McTeigue-directed Survivor came out in May in limited release and VOD from Alchemy, the fairly freshly minted spun-off distribution arm of what was formerly Millennium Entertainment. The pic was shipped on DVD this summer. Since then it has popped up on the Popcorn Time software for illegal download. As an exhibit in the filing illustrates, the film is prominently displayed on the durable and downloadable software’s movie front page, along with dozens of other films. Part of the reason this complaint was filed in Oregon is that state law could, in a certain reading, essentially render that even having software like Popcorn Time a crime.
“It’s time that we hold people responsible for their actions,” Lerner said in a statement today. “Copyright infringement is illegal. As creative content producers, we can’t be expected to continue to look the other way while the livelihoods of talented filmmakers and craftspeople take a hit again and again.”
Survivor Productions, the affiliate of Nu Image and Millennium created for the thriller, is represented by Carl Crowell and Drew Taylor of Crowell Law in Salem, OR.