Authorities launched a major antipiracy effort this week against websites offering free movie downloads. Internet piracy has hurt the movie industry by offering free versions of new movies, often soon after they are released in theaters. This week, “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” opened and now “watch eclipse online for free” is ranking as one of the most popular search terms. The latest Twilight movie has already broken the record for the largest midnight gross ever, but authorities are concerned about the corresponding boom in pirated copies of the movie.
Intellectual property authorities shut down nine websites this week: tvshack.net, movies-links.tv, filespump.com, Now-movies.com, planetmoviez.com, thepiratecity.org, zml.com, ninjavideo.net and ninjathis.net. The sites now carry the logos of the law enforcement agencies involved in “Operation In Our Sites,” the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (NIPRCC). In addition to seizing domain names, the agencies also obtained residential search warrants in New Jersey, North Carolina, New York and Washington.
The confiscated websites also now display an explanation for their seizure. Intellectual property rights authorities and experts are reminding the public that digital theft is not a victimless crime and ends up hurting everyone by costing regular people their jobs. Some point out that the long-term outcome of the operation is hard to predict because Internet piracy is difficult to find and control, let alone stamp out. Experts say that in order to be successful, the operation has to be able to sustain the current level of enforcement over time. Some believe that the costs of this kind of enforcement will be passed on to consumers in order to offset the piracy and the cost of stopping it.
Watch ‘Eclipse’ online for free? Major antipiracy effort launched (The Christian Science Monitor)