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Lawsuits Against Movie Pirates Begin

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A trade group representing seven major movie studios is filing a first wave of lawsuits against individuals they say are offering pirated copies of films using Internet-based peer-to-peer file sharing programs.

The Motion Picture Association of America announced the federal court actions this morning, but did not say how many defendants are being sued or where the lawsuits were filed.

The lawsuits seek injunctions against the defendants.

The copyright law also provides for penalties of up to 30-thousand dollars for each motion picture traded over the Internet, and up to 150-thousand dollars if such infringement is shown to be willful.

The Motion Picture Association says it also will make available a computer program that sniffs out movie and music files on a user´s computer as well as any installed file sharing programs.

The M-P-A-A says the information detected by the free program will not be shared with it or any other body, but could be used to remove any “infringing movies or music files” and remove file sharing programs.