Small Film Producers Form a Group to Counter Piracy

PhotoSylvester Stallone, left, and Jason Statham, center, in "The Expendables 3," which was leaked to the web three weeks early.CreditPhil Bray/Lionsgate Canadian service providers, Mr. Gill said, now deliver seven times as many notices as their counterparts in the United States to those suspected of illegal downloading, a rate that they hope will discourage potential violators once they are told that they are being tracked.Jeremy Malcolm, a senior global policy analyst with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a web freedom advocacy group, said his group -- though often wary of Hollywood -- actually favors a Canadian-style system, which makes notification easier but does not force more immediate action on service providers."But we do feel it needs some fine-tuning," Mr. Malcolm added. He said some American companies were using the notices to deliver demands for damages much larger than those permitted under Canadian law.Millennium, whose chairman, Avi Lerner, is an impetus behind the task force, was particularly damaged last year by the online theft of "The Expendables 3," which leaked to the web on July 25, three weeks before its theatrical release. This month, police officers in London arrested a suspect in connection with the leak.But, Mr. Gill said, more than 60 million illegal viewings had already taken a heavy toll. In all, according to, "The Expendables 3" took in only about $206 million at the worldwide box office, down sharply from $305 million in sales for its predecessor. The box office in some countries, Mr. Gill said, fell by as much as 89 percent.Mr. Gill said the new task force would be more closely focused on piracy than the Motion Picture Association of America, which conducts a worldwide effort (and assisted in the recent arrest in the "Expendables" case), but must attend to the sometimes diverging needs of its six member companies, all big studios.And, Mr. Gill said, the group expects to press its aims with advertising or legislative initiatives that may be sharper than similar efforts by CreativeFuture, a Hollywood antipiracy group whose 350 members include the major studios, agencies and guilds -- along with Millennium and other companies."This is an aggressive game that's only been played aggressively by the other side," Mr. Gill said. href='' - -