Unauthorized movie streaming sites have been a thorn in the side of Hollywood for many years.
Responding to this threat the MPAA decided to take one of the most prominent players to court earlier this year.
MPAA members 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, Disney, Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros filed a lawsuit against a group of MovieTube affiliated websites, which were operating from more than two dozen domain names.
In the complaint the MPAA listed several popular websites including MovieTube.cc, TuneVideo.net, Watch33.tv, MovieTube.cz, Anime1.tv, MovieTube.pm, FunTube.co, MovieTube.la and KissDrama.net, which were all believed to be operated by the same people.
Despite facing millions of dollars in damages, the site’s operators remained silent. They swiftly pulled the targeted sites offline after the compliant was filed, but never responded to any of the claims in court.
Due to this inaction the MPAA requested a default judgment at a New York federal court, demanding a permanent injunction as well as millions of dollars in damages.
This week a federal court judge ruled in favor of the MPAA, finding MovieTube liable for copyright infringement, federal trademark counterfeiting, and unfair competition (pdf).
The court agreed to statutory damages for willful copyright infringement in the amount of $75,000 per work, which brings the total to $10.5 million.
The default judgment also includes a permanent injunction that prohibits MovieTube’s operators from offering or linking to any copyright infringing material. In addition, the movie studios will now take ownership of all domain names.
Dean Marks, the MPAA’s Executive Vice President, is happy with the outcome and says it helps to protect the livelihood of movie industry workers.
“By shutting down these illegal commercial enterprises we are protecting not only our members’ creative work and the hundreds of innovative, legal digital distribution platforms, but also the millions of people whose jobs depend on a vibrant motion picture and television industry.”
“This court order will help ensure the sites stay down and are not transferred to others for the purposes of continuing a piracy operation on a massive scale.”
While shutting down the MovieTube sites is a significant win for the MPAA, they are unlikely to see any of the money that’s been awarded to them. The true operators of the MovieTube sites remain unknown and will do their best to keep it that way.
The full list of domain names that will be signed over to the MPAA is as follows:
MovieTube.tw, MovieTube.ph, TVStreaming.cc, MovieTube.sx, MovieTube.pw, MovieTubeNow.com, MovieTube.tf, MovieTube.co, MovieOnDrive.com, MovieTube.vc, TuneVideo.net, MovieTube.mn, MovieTube.cc, Watch33.tv, MovieTube.cz, Anime1.tv, MovieTube.pm, FunTube.co, MovieTube.la, KissDrama.net, MovieTube.so, MovieTube.click, MovieTubeHD.co, MovieTubeHD.net, MovieTubeHD.org, MovieTubeHD.tv, MovieTubeHD.us, MovieTubenow.in and TuneMovie.me.