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PIPCU arrests two in Expendables 3 movie leak investigation

Two men arrested on suspicion of leaking action movie The Expendables 3 online before its official release date have been questioned by detectives from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and released on bail until May 2015.

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 investigation was launched following a referral from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) on behalf of the movie’s distribution studio, Lionsgate Films.

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.

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.

Matthew Etre , U.S. Embassy London's Attaché for U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) said: ““These arrests should serve as a warning shot across the bow of online pirates.

“Internet crooks don’t pay wages or taxes. They don’t fund pensions and healthcare plans. They don’t invest in new movies or write new scripts. All they do is get rich at the expense of those who do and we’re determined to hold them accountable.”

Head of PIPCU, Detective Chief Inspector Danny Medlycott said, “Today’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 people’s livelihoods at risk as piracy threatens the security of thousands of jobs in the UK’s creative industries.”


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. The operationally independent unit launched in September 2013 with funding from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) until June 2015. It was recently announced that PIPCU will receive a further £3 million from the IPO to fund the unit up to 2017. ​