MPAA takes online film piracy fight to another level

MUMBAI: This is an important measure in the fight against online film piracy in the US. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has announced that its lawyers will expand the campaign to prevent film piracy

The MPAA will work with its members and other film studios to file lawsuits against people who have illegally traded digital copies of movies over the Internet. From 16 November lawsuits will be filed against individual file-swappers across the US by MPAA member companies. The civil suits seek damages and
injunctive relief.

Under the Copyright Act, statutory damages can be as much as $30,000 for each separate motion picture illegally copied or distributed by an individual over the Internet, and as much as $150,000 per motion picture if such infringement is proven to be willful.

MPAA president and CEO Dan Glickman "Illegal movie trafficking represents the greatest threat to the economic basis of movie-making in its 110-year history. People who have been stealing our
movies believe they are anonymous on the Internet, and wouldn't be held responsible for their actions. They are wrong. We know who they are, and we will go after them, as these suits will prove.

"We all know that digital distribution is the wave of the future, and the studios have all supported legal download services in various ways. But we cannot allow illegal trafficking to derail legitimate new technologies that provide consumers with affordable, convenient access to high-quality movies on the Web. Trading a digital file of a movie online without paying its owners is no different than walking into a store and shoplifting a DVD."

California Governor and action movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger who is a member of both the Screen Actors Guild and the Directors Guild of America added, "I applaud the decision by the MPAA and its member companies to take strong action. I join the US Department of Justice, the State of California, the recording industry and others in making sure that people use the great promise of the Internet responsibly and ethically, and that motion pictures remain an important part of California and the nation's economy in the decades to come."

The governor had recently signed a bill making it a misdemeanor to swap movies or music online without revealing the trader's e-mail address. The governor
also issued an executive order banning the use of state resources, including computers and Internet access, to illegally swap copyrighted material.

Schwarzenegger added, "The movie industry has contributed immeasurably to California's economic strength. It has also helped many of my own dreams come true. We cannot let illegal movie piracy continue or it will cripple this important industry and seriously hurt California's economy. We must teach our children that the illegal downloading of movies and music is wrong, and that it has consequences."

A recent federal interagency report estimates that counterfeit and pirated goods, including those of copyrighted works, cost the American economy
$250 billion a year. In response to the report, the US Justice Department and other federal agencies have committed to increased law-enforcement and
prosecutorial efforts against pirated and counterfeit goods.

The MPAA estimates that "hard goods" movie piracy costs the film industry $3.5 billion a year. This total does not include losses from hundreds of thousands of illegal downloads swapped over the Internet each day.

The American film studios have embraced the digital era on many fronts while confronting its challenges. Those efforts have included building public awareness and expanding and supporting legal online movie services such as MovieLink, CinemaNow and Moviebeam.

Movie buffs already can see movies in many different ways, for many different prices, in many different settings. These range from theatrical releases in a state-of-the-art cinema to DVDs and VHS tape sales and rentals to video-on-demand services, pay-cable and free broadcast TVofferings.

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