Pirates on the plank

ISPs hand over illegal downloaders to MPAA

The MPAA has found its pirates.

Org is expected to reveal in a call with reporters today that it has received the names from Internet service providers of a number of individuals it believes have illegally downloaded movies on the Internet.

MPAA and its member studios, along with Lions Gate, have filed three rounds of lawsuits against alleged pirates thus far, with the total number of suits estimated to be over 500. Because studio lawyers only had Internet addresses for its targets, though, it filed them as “John Doe” suits, asking ISPs to turn over information on their identities. ISPs had thus far been resistant to disclosing that information, as they had been with the RIAA when it filed suits.

Beyond the John Doe suits, MPAA will also discuss new tactics in its battle against piracy on college campuses. Org will announce that it’s going after illegal file swapping on universities’ private networks, where many college students trade music outside of publicly accessible peer-to-peer networks.

RIAA is expected to announce a similar legal initiative against college students in its own press call tomorrow.

Additional suits against college students are likely to raise the ire of “cyber-liberties” groups, as college networks are accessible by people more likely to know each other who may argue they are using technology simply to share files among friends. Studios and labels have long argued that rampant piracy on college campuses is training young people to believe they can get content for free.