The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has today (25 November 2014) arrested two men on suspicion of leaking action movie The Expendables 3 online before its official release date.
The star studded film features an array of famous actors including Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and Arnold Schwarzenegger and was set to hit the big screen in cinemas in the US on 15 Aug 2014. However, around the 25 July 2014 a high-quality version of the film appeared on the internet.
Detectives from the City of London Police unit arrested a 36 year old man at his home in Upton, Wirral and a 33 year old man at his home in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire with support from uniformed officers from Merseyside and West Yorkshire Police.
The pair are believed to have stolen the film from a cloud based system before uploading it on to the internet. In the UK it is believed the leaked the Lionsgate/Millennium film was viewed hundreds of thousands of times which subsequently has had a significant financial impact on Lionsgate and Millennium Films, costing them millions of pounds in the UK alone.
The investigation was launched following a referral from the movieâ€™s distribution studio, Lionsgate Films.
The two men were taken to local police stations for questioning before being released on bail until May 2015.
Head of PIPCU, Detective Chief Inspector Danny Medlycott said, “Todayâ€™s operation shows you the significant impact intellectual property crime has on our creative industries, with millions of pounds being lost as a result of criminal actions.
“The public need to be aware that piracy is not a victimless crime. By downloading illegal music, film, TV and books, not only are you exposing your own computer to the risk of viruses and malware, but you are also putting hardworking peopleâ€™s livelihoods at risk as piracy threatens the security of thousands of jobs in the UKâ€™s creative industries.â€
PIPCU is based within the Economic Crime Directorate of the City of London Police, the National Lead Force for Fraud. It is a specialist national police unit dedicated to protecting the UK industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content from intellectual property crime.