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MPAA Battles Video Pirates

3 Jun, 2005 By: Jessica Wolf

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and other watchdog groups took a couple of stabs at video pirates in the past two weeks.

Before Memorial Day, the organization shut down the Elite Torrents peer-to-peer Internet site that housed thousands of movie titles for illegal download, including new theatrical releases such as Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith.

Last week, the MPAA announced it would fund the installation of 10 new security cameras for the Los Angeles Police Department to use in areas of the city where pirated videos are often sold.

Piracy is an ongoing battle, said Kori Bernards, spokesperson for the MPAA. Sites like Elite Torrents function all the time, providing illegal downloads and serving as a method of creating packaged pirated goods.

Operation D-Elite, the full-court press against the Elite Torrent P2P site from the MPAA, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, and FBI task forces, served search warrants to prominent members of the site.

The MPAA has been able to shut down 90 percent of the BitTorrent-type sites against which it has filed lawsuits, according to the organization. BitTorrent-type sites require links to be posted on a Web site and typically utilize “tracker” software, located on a central Net-connected hub, that directs traffic. It is these central hubs that have been the targets of the lawsuits.

The MPAA estimates the film industry lost about $3.5 billion to movie piracy last year in the sale of hard-packaged pirated copies alone. Add illegal file-sharing to the mix, and the loss for this year could hit $5.4 billion, according to a Smith Barney study cited by the MPAA.

The MPAA estimates that about 90 percent of pirated DVDs come from content filmed with a camcorder, Bernards said.

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