Yesterday, the MPAA sued MovieTube, owners of some two-dozen-plus streaming sites, alleging copyright infringement, according to a story from The Hollywood Reporter. MPAA members 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, Disney, Universal, and Warner Bros. jointly filed a lawsuit in New York against a number of MovieTube-owned streaming sites. The group is asserting both copyright and trademark claims, and the complaint is filed against both John and Jane Does, and XYZ Corporations, as the MPAA is uncertain of exactly whom they are suing. In total, the MPAA lawsuit names 29 websites.
The complaint asserts that the defendants are both willingly and openly breaking copyright laws, and that they are deliberately hiding their identities while doing so; in other words, the MPAA is asserting that whoever owns MovieTube is blatantly and publicly criminal.
One of the defendants, who remains unnamed, purportedly posted a refutation of the MPAA's assertions on Facebook.
"Since many movies we linked are pirated movies, we understand you may have this concern. Our website linked those movies, so have partial responsibility called 'Copyright Infringement' according U.S. law. Luckily we are not a U.S. company so we do not need to respect U.S. laws."This may be true. The MPAA has tried to use the courts to exercise jurisdiction that American courts don't have in foreign countries before; it's one reason they've lobbied so heavily for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would effectively give them the legal right to prosecute copyright infringement committed by someone in any signatory. However, as the case of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom shows, as reported by the Inquisitr, being in another country isn't always a guarantee of immunity.
So how did "being immune to U.S. law" work out for MovieTube? One day after the MPAA sued them, all 29 websites named in the complaint have been shut down, according to a report from Heavy.com. They also report that at least one website may still be online and that the owners of MovieTube are still unknown, but the complaint requested a temporary injunction to disable all named websites and domains and MovieTube's registrar appears to have listened, whether by court order or upon their own initiative.
As the Inquisitr has reported previously, there is a lot of debate over whether piracy actually affects Hollywood's bottom line; some even say it's beneficial. But as far as the MPAA and its members are concerned, this surely represents a major victory in their anti-piracy efforts. If nothing else, it sends the MPAA's message loud and clear: steal our movies, and we will sue you, and your sites will be shut down.
[Image courtesy MovieTube, via the Apple App Store]