Even if you haven't read the copyright disclaimer on a piece of software or media, most people know that it is illegal to reproduce another person's work without their expressed permission. Called piracy, this form of stealing can lead to litigation and serious consequences for those who partake in it.
But thanks to several loopholes in current copyright laws, it may not always be easy to hold those accountable for breaking the law. And even a court ordered injunction may not always lead to restitution of lost revenue.
Lions Gate Entertainment, makers of the "Expendables" franchise, was recently awarded an injunction against several operators of BitTorrent websites that are accused of hosting an illegally obtained copy of "Expendables 3." Claiming direct copyright infringement, the sites have been ordered to remove the content or risk legal consequences. But while some of the sites have already complied with the injunction, others have ignored the requests, which could lead to further litigation with unknown penalties.
If the websites are hosted here in the United States, it may be easier for a federal judge to order the restitution Lions Gate may seek. But this may prove difficult if any of the sites are hosted in other countries. That's because our current federal laws are unable to enforce jurisdiction is other countries.
Although the Stop Online Piracy Act, which was introduced to Congress in 2011, was supposed to fix this loophole and help enforce copyright laws against foreign-owned sites, the legislation has yet to pass both the House and the Senate. This could prove problematic for Lions Gate who points out that they may have missed out on millions of dollars in revenue because of the peer-to-peer networks.
Source: Courthouse News Service, "'Expendables 3' Pirates Face Injunction," Matt Reynolds, Aug. 12, 2014