A New York federal judge has granted a default judgment against PubFilm, ruling that its string of websites infringed on studio copyrights and trademarks by illegally offering movies and TV shows for download.
Judge Victor Marrero awarded the studios damages of $19.8 million, plus attorneys fees, but the defendants never answered the complaint or appeared in the litigation in “any manner.” The sites already had been disrupted after he ordered domain name registrars and hosting providers to curtail services.
Charles Rivkin, the chairman and CEO of the MPAA, said PubFilm was “a ring of large-scale piracy sites that profited off stolen creative works without compensating creators. This is another major step forward in the MPAA’s global effort to protect the legal marketplace for creative content, reduce online piracy and support a creative economy that employs millions of workers around the world.”
Last year, the MPAA said that defendants operated a ring of six interconnected piracy sites “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.”
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. It was believed that the sites were operated out of Vietnam.