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2/24/2006
04:12 PM
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Search Engines Fight Copyright-Infringement Suits

Rather than sue just the file-sharing sites where illegal copies of movies are distributed, the Motion Picture Association of America is now targeting the search engines used to find the content.

Two search engines sued by the Motion Picture Association of America Inc. for allegedly providing links to illegal copies of movies and TV shows said Friday that they are forming a coalition to fight the lawsuits.

IsoHunt.com and TorrentBox.com said they would work together with defendants in MPAA suits and other file-sharing operators to battle the trade group.

"We will fight for the right for technological progress and the legality of the search engine itself," IsoHunt.com said in a posting.

The MPAA on Thursday filed seven lawsuits across the nation in an expansion of its battle against pirated movies and TV shows available online. Rather than sue just the file-sharing sites where illegal copies of movies are distributed, the MPAA is now targeting the search engines used to find the content.

Besides IsoHunt.com and TorrentBox.com, defendants included search engines Torrentspy.com, BTHub.com and NiteShadow.com. The MPAA also sued Ed2k.it.com, a site that provides one-click access to content on file-sharing network EDonkey; and newsgroups NZM-Zone.com, BinNews.com and DVDRs.net, whose members, according to the trade group, are providing links to illegal content.

The search engines enable users to find content on EDonkey or BitTorrent peer-to-peer networks.

IsoHunt.com said it didn't know why it was being sued, given its policy of taking down links to illegal content.

"It is sad that despite our best efforts in helping out copyright owners, in both disabling copyright infringing links to their works everyday while for others, helping them distribute their works globally and cheaply using P2P technologies, it is still not enough for the MPAA," the site said.

The MPAA is accusing the defendants of making it easy for people to find illegal copies of movies and TV shows, which the group views as not much different that providing the actual network for downloading the content.

"Website operators who abuse technology to facilitate infringements of copyrighted works by millions of people are not anonymous -- they can and will be stopped," John G. Malcolm, executive vice president and director of anti-piracy operations for the MPAA, said in a statement.

The MPAA has had some recent victories in its campaign against pirated online content. The group last week convinced authorities to shutdown the computer server running one of the largest file-sharing sites in the Netherlands, Dikkedonder. On Monday, Belgian and Swiss authorities closed Razorback2, the highest volume EDonkey server in the world, the MPAA said.

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