MPAA files lawsuits against six BitTorrent sites

MUMBAI: Six BitTorrent sites hosting links to others with illegal copies of TV shows have been targeted in lawsuits by the Motion Picture Association of America.

It is a shift in focus for the MPAA. Since it started legal action against file-sharers in December, its targets have been film indexing sites.


A recent survey said that TV programme downloads had risen by 150 per cent in a year.

About 70 per cent were using BitTorrent sites, according to the Envisional research. Of the total downloaders, 18 per cent were within the UK, according to the survey.

In March this year, TV downloading made headlines with the appearance of the long-awaited new series of 'Doctor Who' on the net before it was even broadcast.

The MPAA claimed that it was very worried about the issue.

According to the MPAA, every television series depends on other markets-syndication - international sales - to earn back the huge investment required to produce the comedies and dramas in those markets, and are substantially hurt when that content is stolen.

This is the first time that the MPAA has specifically gone after TV-oriented networks in this way, which it says are used by thousands daily.

It has, however, targeted BitTorrent sites before and has filed 100 lawsuits against operators of BitTorrent server sites since December.


Copies of popular US shows, such as Desperate Housewives and 24, regularly appear hours after they are first aired on networks in the US, and are downloaded by fans around the world eager to see the latest episodes.

Because TV programmes are usually shorter than films, they are processed - or digitised - quickly.



People with increasingly faster broadband connections can download episodes in very little time. But the MPAA says its action to hit those running servers which link to copyrighted material has slowed this.

The percent of working servers has dropped by more than 40 per cent since it started action, said the MPAA.

With BitTorrent software, server sites do not host the files being shared. Instead, they host links, called 'trackers' which tell people where to go to get the files.

More than 90 per cent of the sites that the MPAA has sued so far have been shut down entirely.

The sites which have been closed, such as LokiTorrent, UK Torrent and s0nicfreak, now carry warning messages from the MPAA that read: 'You Can Click But You Cannot Hide.'

The MPAA plans to encourage legitimate download sites instead. Several TV companies are experimenting with legal peer-to-peer based downloads, including the BBC.

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