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Lions Gate makes push to recoup damages from hackers

For a lot of production companies in the film industry, the box office is where a bulk of a film's revenue comes from. In some cases, movies can flounder in the box office because of weak marketing campaigns that failed to generate the hype necessary to get people into the theater. But in recent times, even the best laid marketing campaigns aren't enough to stop hackers from releasing a film before it's scheduled to, oftentimes cutting into profits at the box office and later on as well.

As some of our more frequent readers may remember, this was the argument made by Lions Gate Entertainment in its July 31, 2014 complaint that sought to hold hackers accountable for the release of "Expendables 3." In our August 18th post we explained that the initial lawsuit sought an injunction against unnamed persons who were accused of illegally obtaining and releasing the film on the Internet through bit torrent sites.

Last month, Lions Gate took their request for relief one step further by amending their lawsuit to include the names of people they believe to be responsible for the leak. On top of the continued cease and desist order, Lions Gate is also seeking actual damages as compensation for "direct and contributory infringement."

Unfortunately, those who have been named in the lawsuit reside in other countries. As we mentioned in our August post, enforcing U.S. copyright law in other countries is difficult if not impossible without cooperation from the other country's courts. And because there is no international court system, seeking relief from non-American violators is even trickier.

Lions Gate may have found a way around this complication though by invoking the expectations of the Hague Convention. Countries who have signed this agreement promise to uphold the jurisdiction of any country who has also signed it. This means that Lions Gate may be able to seek and collect damages from violators in other countries because they will be held accountable by their own country's jurisdiction. This is the hope at least in a case that could have cost Lions Gate millions.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, "Lionsgate Reaches Across the Globe to Punish 'Expendables 3' Leak," Eriq Gardner, Jan. 22, 2015

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