Hollywood Sues Advertiser at Movie Piracy Sites

A company that worked with sites that linked to copies of Hollywood blockbusters has become the target of a new lawsuit. The legal action filed by Disney and Warner Bros. says that Triton Media was guilty of both contributory and inducement of copyright infringement when it assisted several sites with advertising and referrals.

There have been many innovative anti-piracy strategies over the years, from simple scare tactics to high profile hammer-blow aggression, from ISP pressure to the more recent attempts at domain name seizure. This week, a new tactic has been witnessed in the United States – an attack on those who provide financing for file-sharing venues – the advertisers.

In a complaint dated 23rd August and filed in the U.S. District Court in California, movie giants Disney and Warner Bros revealed their intention to go after Triton Media, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based company they claim “owned, operated, provided advertising consulting and referrals for, and/or provided other material assistance” to nine movie-centric sites.

The Complaint

The sites – freetv-video-online.info, supernovatube.corn, donogo.com, watch-movies.net, watchmovies-online.tv, watch-movies-links.net, havenvideo.com and thepiratecity.org – are said to have a primary purpose to provide “their users access to content that has been unlawfully reproduced, distributed, publicly performed, and/or publicly displayed.”

The content listed includes Ratatouille and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End for Disney, and The Bucket List, Fool’s Gold and Smallville for Warner Bros.

While the majority of the sites listed above merely offered links to Disney and Warner movies, the lawsuit states that two – supernovatube and donogo – are sites that actually stored the plaintiffs’ movies. Interestingly it states that donogo (currently offline) was actually owned and operated by Triton Media. Readers will recall that thepiratecity.org recently had its domain name seized as part of the FBI-run Operation In Our Sites.

The lawsuit states that Triton Media is guilty of both contributory copyright infringement and induced copyright infringement and as such the plaintiffs “are entitled to the maximum statutory damages as permitted by federal copyright law”.

Although details are scarce at the moment, the part that Triton played in the sites’ operation will prove key in this case. Definitely one to watch in the months to come, as the implications for other US-based advertisers could be huge.

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