Major motion picture studios launched the first of a three-part initiative aiming to stem online movie piracy by filing an "initial wave of lawsuits" against individuals who illegally shared movies on

NEW YORK -- Major motion picture studios launched the first of a three-part initiative aiming to stem online movie piracy by filing an "initial wave of lawsuits" against individuals who illegally shared movies on P2P networks. The Motion Picture Assn. of America announced the lawsuits Nov. 16.

The copyright infringement suits against unidentified "John Doe" defendants were filed in courts across the United States; the MPAA declined to specify the number of suits or the targeted areas.

While the record labels tend to target heavy downloaders, the film industry may be widening the net. Simon Barsky, MPAA general counsel, tells ELW that anyone in the community of people who are trafficking illegal copies of films could be targeted, since a single copy poses a threat of widespread redistribution.

The RIAA praised the move. "The actions of our colleagues at the MPAA reinforce the message that stealing is against the law and can have consequences," said Mitch Bainwol, RIAA chairman/CEO.

The MPAA is also partnering with the Video Software Dealers Assn. to launch an ad campaign in December. The "Rated I: Inappropriate for All Ages" spots, featured recently in various media, will appear in about 10,000 video stores nationwide.

In addition, the trade group will soon make available via the Internet a free software program to help the public identify and remove infringing music and movie files, as well as P2P applications, from their computers.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

Print