U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero granted studios a temporary restraining order on Feb. 7 and a preliminary injunction on Feb. 17 to halt the distribution of movies on the sites, and to suspend the domain names through which the sites operate. The orders were unsealed on Friday upon studios’ requests.
The MPAA says that the defendants in the lawsuit operated a ring of six interconnected piracy sites. They also argued that ex parte relief was necessary because the defendants “operate at the shadowy margins of the internet, easily to disappear or move their operations beyond this court’s jurisdiction, thereby rendering plaintiffs’ enforcement efforts futile.”
The studios, in their legal filing, said that the precise location of the defendants was unknown, but believed that they were operating somewhere in Vietnam. The defendants did not show up for court hearings.
According to the studios, PubFilm’s sites were one of the most active pirate streaming sites in the country, with more than 8 million visits each month. About 40% of users were linked to U.S. IP addresses.
“The ring of large-scale piracy sites known as PubFilm/PidTV distributed vast numbers of stolen movies and television shows for streaming and downloading — all for the financial benefit of its operators, without paying a dime to those who worked so hard to make them,” said a spokesman for the MPAA. “By seeking legal orders to stop these illegal commercial enterprises, we are protecting the hard work of the millions of people who contribute to the American creative economy.”
PubFilm has been trying to move on to new domain names, according to TorrentFreak, and has even promoted its new location on Facebook and AdSense.