Hollywood's legal battle against Internet piracy now includes illegal downloads of new TV shows. The Motion Picture Association of America Thursday filed lawsuits against six popular Web sites responsible for the illegal swapping of TV shows and movies by 100,000 people daily.
This is the first time MPAA's ongoing crackdown has targeted TV-oriented sites. Previously, the crackdown focused on pirated movies. Citing figures provided by Internet-monitoring company Envisional, MPAA said TV-show piracy increased by 150% in the past year. Each of the six sites rely on BitTorrent technology to greatly accelerate download speeds. "On these sites, anyone in the world can download entire television seasons in a single click, " said MPAA President Dan Glickman.
"There are thousands of people in the entertainment industry who are working to develop, produce and promote television shows. 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.”
MPAA officials said more than 90% of the sites they have sued have been shut down. "Since we began shutting these sites down, the time that it takes to download a file on BitTorrent has increased exponentially, which means the experience of downloading copyrighted films and TV shows is not what it used to be," said Glickman. "We intend to make it even worse. Protecting the television industry is essential."
The sites being sued are ShunTV, Zonatracker, Btefnet, Scifi-Classics, CDDVDHeaven and Bragginrights.