Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA) Thursday announced the beginning of a third round of anti-piracy campaign targeting people who upload or download pirated movies, including films nominated for the upcoming Academy Awards.
MPAA officials declined to say how many suits it had filed or whether the illegal copies were made by video camera taping in theaters or by copying videos or DVDs that are given away by the studios this time of year to win Oscar votes.
John Malcolm said exact numbers are unimportant because whether it is one or a thousand pirated movies, any number is unacceptable. So far, the defendants have been identified only as John Does.
“When rampant online theft occurs, these films become that much harder to finance…we cannot and will not let that happen,” MPAA Chief Executive Dan Glickman said.
Movie trade groups estimate that the industry loses more than 3 billion dollars a year to pirated videotapes and CDs, and additional 858 million dollars to Internet file swappers, Malcolm said.
Movie piracy is even making it harder for some films to attract financing, especially smaller independent films, he said, adding that the MPAA will seek sanctions of up to 150,000 dollars per pirated movie.
As in previous lawsuits, the MPAA must first go into federal court to seek subpoenas ordering Internet service providers to reveal the names.
Among the movies alleged to have been pirated is the Academy Award-nominated “Sideways”.
Earlier this month, the MPAA filed lawsuits against computer networks utilizing a software technology known as BitTorrent, but these new suits were against end users, or people who actually downloaded the films.