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H’w’d chases TV cheats

MPAA files lawsuits against six Web sites

Hollywood is expanding its war on piracy.

Motion Picture Assn. of America Thursday filed lawsuits against six Web sites that enable illegal downloads, primarily of TV shows.

Sites are connected to BitTorrent, a sophisticated file swapping network that is quickly becoming the preferred means for downloading video online due to its high speeds.

MPAA has already filed suit against a number of BitTorrent sites that enable movie piracy, 90% of which have already shut down. Though worldwide demand has stayed high, MPAA lawsuits have slowed the number of downloads now that there are fewer outlets to connect to BitTorrent.

Popular television shows typically appear online immediately after their first airing, if they aren’t leaked ahead of time. Downloaders in the U.S. are often most interested in HBO programs they can’t access without paying a subscription, but TV piracy is also popular overseas among those who don’t want to wait until an American program reaches their shores.

“Every television series depends on other markets — syndication, international sales — to earn back the enormous investment required to produce the comedies and dramas we all enjoy, and those markets are substantially hurt when that content is stolen,” said MPAA topper Dan Glickman.