In the exciting tale of a crack team of veterans assembling to take back what’s theirs from a bunch of entitled youngsters, Lionsgate has sent its cadre of lawyers after a group of individuals who recently shared a torrent of The Expendables 3. Since that leak, the file has been downloaded more than a million times—a number that could put a dent in the film’s box office when it’s finally released on Aug. 15. Or, at least, be a convenient scapegoat for any decline shown in this, the third iteration of the once-novel concept of aging action stars returning to shout quips at each other over the hail of machine guns.
The suit, filed against “John Does 1-10,” takes aim at the anonymous operators of sites limetorrents.com, billionuploads.com, hulkfile.eu, played.to, swantshare.com and dotsemper.com, and demands that they take action to “recall and recover all copies of the Stolen Film or any portion thereof that they have distributed.” But in a section that suggests it actually knows how the Internet works, Lionsgate also demands that these sites be shut down permanently, their domains locked and their operators’ assets frozen so they can’t set up shop elsewhere, with the threat that it could also target their ISPs and financial institutions with subpoenas. Also, Sylvester Stallone may tweet something nasty about them.
While going after torrent sites has proven problematic in the past—and ironically, this same sort of thing fell apart years ago, when the original Expendables leaked—the fact that the suit is also roping in businesses that can’t hide behind Internet anonymity could end up making this case a precedent for doing so in the future, depending on how it develops. If nothing else, it would be a really funny premise for The Expendables 4.