In a ruling that came as much as a surprise as bullets and one-liners flying in the Sylvester Stallone-led action franchise, Lionsgate today firmly shut down the online leaks it knows about of its upcoming The Expendables 3 pic. Less expected, the studio also widened its sphere of inquiry to some of the biggest tech companies in the world. The quick, all-business granting of a motion of preliminary injunction by U.S. District Judge Margaret Meadows this afternoon in a downtown LA courtroom comes almost two weeks after versions of the flick started to appear during Comic-Con for download online. It also comes just four days after Lionsgate were given a temporary restraining order by Meadows against a half-dozen torrent sites that were hosting the pic, which officially comes out on August 15. The temp restraining order expired at 4 PM PT today.
Lionsgate’s attorney Dennis L. Wilson was in the courtroom when the decision was announced today. Equally as unsurprising as the ruling itself was that no one was there for the defendants, none of whom filed any opposition to the permanent injunction. However, when questioned by Meadows about communication with the defendants, Wilson did say that his firm had been in touch with the counsel for Played.to. The Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton lawyer added that Played.to has offered to cooperate in making sure the film was no longer available via their platform. They were smart too, as this case could cost it and all the defendants a planeload of damages — especially if Lionsgate feels strongly that it has suffered at the box office when the pic comes out next week. Going after actual and statutory damages in their July 31 lawsuit, Lionsgate were additionally granted the right earlier this week to freeze the bank accounts of the offending parties in the interim.