A lawsuit filed last month by the MPPA and the major Hollywood studios against operators of an alleged ring of piracy sites has been unsealed, showing that those sites have been shut down by a judge’s order.
Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, Columbia, Universal, Disney, Paramount and Viacom are listed as plaintiffs in the suit filed February 6 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The defendants were the operators of “PubFilm/PidTV,” which the suit called “a ring of six interconnected large-scale piracy sites.” It called for the defendants to immediately cease and desist all use of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works and trademarks and directing domain registries associated with the sites to disable them.
Judge Victor Marrero issued a TRO halting the sites on February 7, and a preliminary injunction was issued February 17 based on the allegations. The suit says PubFilm/PidTV saw more than 8 million visits each month, 40% of which were linked to U.S. IP addresses. It said it believed the defendants were operating out of Vietnam.
The civil action seeks relief and damages for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin. As for statutory damages, it asks among other awards for $150,000 per infringed work.
“The ring of large-scale piracy sites known as PubFilm/PidTV distributed vast numbers of stolen movies and television shows for streaming and downloading – all for the financial benefit of its operators without paying a dime to those who worked so hard to make them,” the MPAA said in a statement today. “By seeking legal orders to stop these illegal commercial enterprises, we are protecting the hard work of the millions of people who contribute to the American creative economy.”