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MPAA Launches New Round of Lawsuits

13 Feb, 2006 By: Holly J. Wagner

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has launched another round of lawsuits against peer-to-peer (P2P) file traders accused of trading Oscar contenders, some of which have not even been announced for DVD.

Among the movies whizzing around the Internet are Capote, Good Night and Good Luck, Walk the Line, Syriana, Hustle & Flow, North Country, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Batman Begins, Memoirs of A Geisha, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, King Kong, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride and March of the Penguins.

Lawsuits filed Thursday in the Northern District of California, the Southern District of New York, the Northern District of Georgia and the District of Columbia are cases against “John Does” the MPAA claims have illegally swapped files online.

The cases are part of an effort begun in 2004 to enforce copyright laws and raise awareness about the consequences of Internet piracy.

The civil suits seek damages and court orders to stop trading copyrighted files. Under the Copyright Act, damages can be as much as $30,000 for each separate film illegally copied or distributed over the Internet, and as much as $150,000 per film if the infringement is proven to be willful. An individual who is criminally charged with copyright offenses under federal law may face up to five years in prison and up to 10 years for a second offense.

“In the wake of the Grokster decision last June, online users should know people who steal movies using peer-to-peer software are not above the law. There are plenty of legal ways to get movies online and through other means, like pay per view or satellite,” MPAA CEO Dan Glickman said.

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