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Thursday, September 23, 2004
MPAA Hunts Illegal Download Websites


The film industry is hunting down sites selling illegal copies of movies by download - 'the worst elements of the pirate community'.

The Motion Picture Association of America says it has sued a company that sells Internet downloads of current movies like "I, Robot" and "Spider-Man 2" without permission.

The trade group said Click Enterprises, through a series of Web sites, tricked consumers into believing they were paying for legal versions of movies when in fact those movies are not legally available in download form.

"These parasitic Web sites, which charge consumers fees and counsel them to break the law, reflect the worst elements of the pirate community," said John Malcolm, MPAA director of anti-piracy operations, in a press release on Wednesday.

One of the Web sites identified by the MPAA, downloadmuch.com, offers unlimited access to a long list of movies and video games for $24.95 (14) per year.

The company, which says it is located in Naples, Florida, could not be immediately reached for comment.

The MPAA said it has sent cease-and-desist letters to similar Web sites based in the United States, Asia and Europe engaged in similar activity.

The trade group, spooked by the effect of Internet file-sharing on the music industry, has waged an aggressive campaign against movie piracy.

It has sued microchip makers to prevent them from making equipment to illegally copy DVDs, and rewarded movie projectionists for turning in people who make recordings in cinemas.

MPAA members include Walt Disney; Sony Pictures Entertainment; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Viacom's Paramount Pictures; News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox Film; Time Warner's Warner Brothers Entertainment; and Universal City Studios, owned by Vivendi Universal and General Electric.


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