MPAA Wins Injunction, Default Judgment Against MovieTube

Major movie studios won a $10.5 million default judgment against MovieTube, the once-popular streaming service that shut down last summer.

Studios claimed that the site has been the source of large scale infringement, and have since been concerned that the owners and operators of MovieTube — identified as John Doe defendants — were creating new websites.

U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty also issued an injunction which orders that domain name registries such as VeriSign, Neustar, Afilias Limited, and Public Interest Registry transfer domain names to the studios’ control.

The injunction also prohibits “agents, servants, employees, confederates and any persons in concert or participation with them” from servicing the site via links, indexing and downloading, among other actions. Crotty also left open discovery via subpoena that includes third party vendors providing services to MovieTube.

The MovieTube websites drew 61 million visits in one month in the United States, Crotty noted, with an array of titles like “Spy” and “Jurassic World” listed on their site, under the category of “in cinema.” The damages were calculated at $75,000 per infringement.

The studios faced opposition from tech firms in their initial request for a preliminary injunction last summer, as companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Yahoo called it overly broad by subjecting third parties to court-ordered action even though they are neutral parties. The studios then withdrew that request, but sought a permanent injunction in a new filing earlier this month.

“By shutting down these illegal commercial enterprises we are protecting not only our members’ creative work and the hundreds of innovative, legal digital distribution platforms, but also the millions of people whose jobs depend on a vibrant motion picture and television industry,” said Dean Marks, the MPAA’s executive vice president, deputy general counsel and chief of global content protection. “This court order will help ensure the sites stay down and are not transferred to others for the purposes of continuing a piracy operation on a massive scale.”

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