MPAA Targets Video Search Sites In New Lawsuits
With the latest filings, in federal district court in Los Angeles, the Motion Picture Association of America has now targeted a dozen sites that allegedly provide links to allegedly pirated movies and TV shows. The MPAA maintains that each site functions as a "one-stop shop" for pirated material by making it easy for users to find and watch copyrighted clips.
On Thursday, Campusist.com's home page appeared to offer links to sites that offered clips from current releases like "Milk," and "The Day the Earth Stood Still." But at least some of those links took users to pages that said the content had been removed for copyright infringement.
So far, all nine of the sites previously sued have been taken down, and three of them agreed to pay fines. PullMyLink.com agreed in October to pay $371,000, while Showstash and Cinematube agreed in May to pay damages of $2.7 million and $1.4 million. The other now-shuttered sites are Peekvid.com, Youtvpc.com, Ssupload.com, Videohybrid.com, Movierumor.com and Fomdb.com.
Despite the wave of litigation, it's not clear that search engines are responsible for indexing copyrighted clips. Some digital rights advocates say that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act protects search engines from liability for copyright infringement, provided that the search companies don't know they are returning links to pirated material.
A few defendants, including VideoHybrid, are still fighting the cases, although the sites have shuttered. A lawsuit that presents some similar issues is still pending in federal district court in Los Angeles.