Free State Foundation President Randolph May released a blog earlier in the month about a massive pre-release piracy of the movie, “The Expendables 3.” At least 2.2 million people had watched the movie before it had even hit theaters. But now that the movie has been out for over a week, let’s see how it did.
Not that well.
According to a New York Post article, “The Expendable 3,” which cost $100 million to produce, has made only $16 million. Because of the leaked version, Lions Gate Entertainment, the movie’s production company, likely lost “tens of millions of dollars” it otherwise would have garnered. It is now suing the websites that posted an illegal version.
While it cannot be predicted how much money the movie would have made but for the pre-release leak onto the Internet, there is clearly still a piracy problem that can severely hurt production companies and artists.
A company like Rightscorp is a good example of how some aspects of the piracy problem possibly can be addressed without government intervention (see the website for more information). Some copyright violators simply do not know that what they are streaming or downloading happens to be an illegal pirated version of a song or video. “The Expendables 3” might have been more obvious than usual because the movie had not been released yet. There is certainly an educational aspect to video and music piracy that should continue to be addressed. For example, maybe part of the answer is teaching students about piracy in computer classes.
Given the amount of money companies and artists are losing from piracy, there seems to be a valuable opportunity for more innovative ideas that can continue to educate Internet users about the harm caused by theft of intellectual property.