MPAA Targets Peer-to-Peer Piracy

The Motion Picture Association of America Tuesday filed suit against individuals who operate peer-to-peer servers that help Web surfers illegally swap millions of copies of TV shows and movies.

Targets include operators of BitTorrent, 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, MPAA director of worldwide anti-piracy operations. One indication that operators truly control the types of files indexed on their systems is the refusal of some to post pornography, Malcolm said. Those same operators have “no compunction” against illegally posting files of copyrighted movies and TV shows.”

In addition to civil suits filed in U.S. and U.K. courts, the MPAA is working with rights-holder organizations and local law-enforcement agencies in several other countries to pursue criminal actions.

Officials in Finland, France and The Netherlands have already taken some actions.  MPAA also sent cease-and-desist letters to Internet service providers worldwide that host eDonkey servers and DirectConnect hubs. “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.

Tuesday’s filings follow other MPAA initiatives against online piracy, including educational outreach to parents, consumers, university administrators and students; anti-legislation to toughen penalties for piracy; support of criminal law enforcement initiatives; litigation against individual file traders; and development of new detection and piracy technologies.