Sunday, January 09, 2005

Columbia, Disney, Fox, Universal, & Warner v. Does 1-10

The MPAA and the RIAA keep suing not only individuals sharing and exchanging music and movie files online, but increasingly so-called BitTorrent sites, which allow a very efficient, fast and highly distributed way to get large files easily shared among online peers.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) announced that the major Hollywood motion picture studios would be filing hundreds of lawsuits against individuals using peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing software to access movies online. In so doing, Hollywood follows in the footsteps of the music industry, which has filed more than 6,000 lawsuits against file sharers since September 2003.

The MPAA announcement comes on the heels of a recent study by the University of California, Riverside, and San Diego Supercomputer Center that shows that the music industry lawsuits have had no effect on the popularity of file sharing among US users, estimated at over 20 million.

Hollywood cannot credibly claim that file sharing is jeopardizing their profits. According to TIME Magazine's October 11, 2004, edition: "The studios can't exactly argue that file sharing is about to put them out of business. DVD sales, which grew 33 percent last year, and box-office receipts have never been stronger."

"In the end, what protects the studios from piracy is what attracts people to buy or rent movies in the first place -- a good product at a good price point," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "As long as you can rent a movie on DVD for $2, movie file sharing is not likely to take a major bite out of studio revenues."

Edward Webb, who runs a very popular BitTorrent site, Loki Torrent, has made for himself lots of enemies at the MPAA. But Edward has a lots of good friends and supporters, and he is now reaching out to his site audience to bring together enough financial support to fight backs the big media lawyers in court.

It is at the same time interesting to see that, Bram Cohen, the father of the BitTorrent software, does not stand on the side of Loki Torrent. He thinks that sharing copyrighted files via BitTorrent is indeed a loosing battle from the beginning and that if any online company is involved in any such type of activity, it should give it up as fast as it can.

Ed Felton - When is a Network not a Network?

Complaint filed December 14, 2004.

C&D Letter dated December 14, 2004.


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