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Film Industry Sues Small-Time Fileswappers

November 17th, 2004

The American film industry is suing some two hundred file swappers, some who have downloaded and traded as few as one movie.

The move has stunned industry watchers who are used to the recording industry’s position that it’s really only worthwhile to go after the larger downloaders and traders. It seems that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has decided to go after anyone they feel they can reasonable prove guilty, perhaps in an attempt to make an example of even the smallest downloaders.

“We need to nip this thing in the bud,” John Malcolm, director of the Motion Picture Association of America´s worldwide anti-piracy operations, told The San Francisco Chronicle. “One copy, he added, ´could easily become tens of thousands of copies available around the world. We do not believe that any amount of illegal use is sanctioned.´”

Apparently, the single file downloaders are only being targeted in cases where they have shared or downloaded unreleased movies. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Single-file defendants who are targeted by the movie industry will likely be people who were sharing a movie that hadn´t yet been released into theaters, said people close to the situation. The seven major studios, along with Lions Gate Entertainment, are all filing suits, for a total of more than 200.”

The suits could bring fines totally up to $150,000 per film downloaded. According to the Associated Press, there are 18 individuals being sued in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis. And other lawsuits have likely been launched in New York and other areas with high broadband adoption.

As part of its campaign, the MPAA “is offering a free software tool that people can use to identify and delete all file-sharing programs and illegally copied movie and music files on their computers. The software will not report evidence of illegal content back to the studios, the association said. The tool will be made available at www.respectcopyrights.org, a site run by the MPAA,” washingtonpost.com reported.

In addition, the MPAA is releasing several new television and newspaper ads similar to ads which have shown in theatres throughout the year. The goal of these new ads is let people know that if “you think you can get away with illegally trafficking in movies, think again.”

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