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Online pic pirates face more lawsuits

MPAA wagers more battles against piracy

WASHINGTON — The MPAA fired another salvo at pic piracy on Thursday, announcing a third series of copyright lawsuits targeting illegal movie downloading and file-sharing.

As the countdown to Oscar night enters its final phase, MPAA officials noted that at least three nominated films — “Sideways,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Spider-Man 2” — are among countless movies allegedly being sold and traded without authorization on the Internet.

“In a few days, movie fans everywhere will be riveted to the Academy Awards broadcast celebrating the year’s best films,” said MPAA topper Dan Glickman in a prepared statement. “The awards recognize the artistic achievements and creative labors of thousands of hard-working people in front of and behind the camera. The films stolen in these latest cases show that every corner of the industry, down to even the smallest productions, is at risk.”

In November the MPAA filed its first series of suits accusing approximately 200 people of illegal downloading. Last month the org followed with another round of suits of about the same number. MPAA did not disclose the number involved this time.

MPAA senior veep and antipiracy chief John Malcolm said the earlier suits are proceeding rapidly.

Though the movie industry has yet to determine the amount of revenue it loses to illegal downloading and file-sharing, a study released last month by the Informa Media Group estimated such losses to be about $850 million annually. The industry estimates it loses about $3.5 billion every year in hard-copy piracy of DVDs and videotapes.

Lions Gate Films joined the seven major studios in bringing this latest round of lawsuits.

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