MPAA studios take actions against major P2P server operators to stem global movie piracy
Hundreds of BitTorrent, eDonkey and DirectConnect Servers Targeted Worldwide
WASHINGTON, D.C, 14 December
The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. today announced that its member companies have filed suit against individuals operating servers that index millions of illegal copies of movies and TV programs used on computer networks such as BitTorrent. The MPAA and its members also are working closely with law enforcement and civil authorities around the world to shut down illegal servers on eDonkey and DirectConnect networks.
"The operators of these servers exercise total control over which files are included on their servers and even determine if some kinds of files aren't allowed," said John Malcolm, the MPAA's Senior Vice President and Director of Worldwide Anti-Piracy Operations. "For instance, some operators won't post pornography on their systems, but they have no compunction allowing illegal files of copyrighted movies and TV shows to flow through their servers. We are moving to stop that. The message today is clear: if you illegally trade movies online, we can find you and we will hold you accountable."
BitTorrent, Direct Connect and eDonkey are all examples of newer kinds of "peer-to-peer" file-trading networks that have proliferated online in recent years. These kinds of P2P networks rely on servers termed BitTorrent "trackers," eDonkey "servers" and Direct Connect "hubs" to index and efficiently deliver files of all kinds. The operators being targeted by these actions have helped online pirates steal hundreds of millions of illegal copies of movies and TV programs.
Beyond civil suits filed in U.S. and U.K. courts, the MPAA and its members are working with rights-holder organizations and local law-enforcement agencies in several other countries to pursue criminal actions against the people behind illegal file-trading servers based in those countries. Law enforcement officials in France, The Netherlands and Finland have already taken actions based on the information brought to their attention.
The MPAA and local rights-holder organizations are also sending cease-and-desist letters to Internet service providers worldwide that host eDonkey servers and DirectConnect hubs. The operators of these servers are among the Internet's biggest copyright violators, their networks are collectively used by millions of users to get instant and illegal access to hundreds of millions of copyrighted files. Cease-and-desist notices have been sent regarding servers in numerous countries on four continents.
"We cannot just sit back and let Internet pirates brazenly steal our movies and other intellectual property," said MPAA's President and CEO Dan Glickman. "Today's actions not only will protect creativity but also will bolster the nascent legitimate online market for motion picture distribution. The film industry believes digital delivery of entertainment holds great promise, if we can protect it from thieves long enough to give it a chance to grow. Our member companies are developing and supporting technologies that provide movie fans convenient, affordable and accessible ways to view great films."
These actions are only the latest in the MPAA's multi-pronged fight against online piracy. Other initiatives have included educational outreach to parents, consumers, university administrators and students as well as high school and elementary school children; anti-piracy legislation to toughen penalties; support of criminal law enforcement initiatives against egregious online and hard goods motion picture pirates; litigation against individual online file traders; and development of new technologies to detect and prevent piracy. The MPAA's member studios also have been strong supporters of, and investors in, legal movie download services and technologies such as MovieLink, CinemaNow and MovieBeam.
"Interpol is committed to fighting all types of piracy and counterfeiting," said John Newton from the Interpol Intellectual Property Crime Unit. "Whether motion picture theft takes the form of illegal discs for sale on street corners or of electronic files being re-distributed over peer-to-peer networks, piracy is an illegal activity. While criminal organizations are clearly involved in the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit DVDs, we are working closely with the motion picture industry to establish to what extent this is the case with peer-to-peer networks. We support the actions taken today by the Motion Picture Association and law enforcement agencies around the world to combat this form of criminality."
About Piracy in the Film Industry
The film industry will lose more than $3.5 billion to movie piracy this year, a total that does not include losses due to illegal file sharing online. According to a Smith Barney study, that number is expected to jump to $5.4 billion next year. By deeply cutting into revenues, movie piracy limits the choices for consumers at the box office. Sixty percent of all movies never recoup their production and marketing costs which average $102.8 million. Piracy also hurts the hundreds of thousands of individuals whose jobs depend on a vital movie industry including sound and lighting technicians, carpenters, theatre and video store employees.
About the MPAA
The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) serves as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries from its offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Its members include Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Universal City Studios LLLP, and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.