MPAA files first suits against movie file-swappers

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has announced that it has begun filing lawsuits against people who use...

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has announced that it has begun filing lawsuits against people who use peer-to-peer (P2P) software to trade movie files without permission over the internet.

The MPAA filed an unspecified number of lawsuits in courts across the US, seeking damages and injunctions against the P2P users.

Under the US Copyright Act, people can be liable for as much as $30,000 (£16,200) for each movie traded over the internet, and as much as $150,000 per movie if the infringement is proven to be willful. The trade group announced earlier this month it would begin to sue file traders.

The MPAA also announced it will soon offer to computer users a free program that identifies movie and music titles stored on a computer, along with any installed P2P software. The information collected by this program would be available only to the computer's user, according to the MPAA.

Users can ask the program to remove infringing movies or music files and any P2P software, the MPAA said.

"Our ultimate goal is to help consumers locate the resources and information they need to make appropriate decisions about using and trading illegal files," Dan Glickman, MPAA president and chief executive said.

"Many parents are concerned about what their children have downloaded and where they have downloaded it from."

The MPAA also announced a new P2P ad campaign, to be distributed to about 10,000 US video stores. The Rated I: Inappropriate for All Ages video-store campaign is similar to an ad campaign that appeared in cinemas, newspapers, magazines and on the internet.

"Litigation alone is not the solution, but it is part of a broader MPAA effort that includes education and new technological tools among other components," Glickman said.

Grant Gross writes for IDG News Service

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