Internet piracy has effectively changed the landscape of show business forever. As far back as file sharing and Napster, artists – and those who represent them – have had to contend with people who use the digital frontier as a means of acquiring their work for free. This issue very much extends to the film industry, and – regardless of your stance on the matter – continues to rear its head; most recently, the battle between the Motion Picture Association of America and MovieTube has taken a dramatic turn.
THR reports that the Motion Picture Association of America – also known as the MPAA – has renewed their efforts to take legal action against MovieTube websites – who were responsible for a high profile debacle involving the piracy of Avengers: Age of Ultron back in July of this year. The MPAA seems to be going for the throat with their demands. Altogether they are seeking $10.5 million in statutory damages, as well as a permanent injunction against the defendants.
The forces behind the MovieTube sites have proven to be something of a hydra for the MPAA, as shutting down one site has merely led to threats that more would be created in their place.
This has happened before, just a few months ago the MPAA conducted legal action against the myriad sites that fall under the MovieTube banner, but to no avail. While so many parties could benefit from MovieTube being shut down, service providers such as Facebook and Google became worried that such legal action could implicate them in the process, despite the fact that they were not directly compliant with the illegal activities taking place. These companies fired back with the assertion that the MPAA did not need to follow through with such a lawsuit because – at the time – MovieTube itself had already been shut down, and that was the end of it.
Boiled down to the nitty gritty finer points, right now a company such as Facebook would not be held at fault if you illegally uploaded or shared a download of a copyrighted movie on their site. This matters because if the MPAA gets their way, a precedent could be set in which they will have the legal authority to find sites like Facebook accountable for this type of activity.
If that sounds like a complicated mess of legal jargon and vague details, that’s pretty much because that’s exactly what it is. This has proven to be an increasingly complex matter that lacks any clear-cut answers. We will keep you updated on any and all developments that arise from the matter, and will leave you with a warning to be careful what you upload to the web in the near future; it could have some stiff consequences.