April 7, 2006
CANADIAN court UPHOLDS $468,000 U.S. JUDGMENT AWARDED AGAINST CANADIAN PIRATE SCAM SITE
Los Angeles – Echoing a judgment handed down in 2005 by a federal judge in the Southern District of New York against a Canadian company—Click Enterprises, and its president, Philip G. Evans, a Canadian Court this week affirmed that Evans and his company will be held accountable for $468,000 in damages owed to major motion picture studios for facilitating the illegal downloads of movies through multiple scam websites. Click Enterprises operated websites that sold “memberships” to customers by promising to help them find and download movies from the Internet legally. Instead, these sites simply facilitated illegal downloading via peer to peer networks.
“This week’s ruling sends a strong message to pirates everywhere – locating your piracy business outside the U.S. does not provide a safe haven from copyright law,” said John G. Malcolm, EVP and Director of Worldwide Anti-Piracy Operations for the MPAA. “As the judge in Canada recognized, when illegal activities are conducted on the Internet, they have the potential to cause harm anywhere and everywhere.’”
Evans, a Canadian resident, operated a number of pirate scam sites from Canada that targeted English-speaking consumers. These sites featured testimonials from “happy members” in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They were elaborately designed to trick people into thinking the sites were legitimate by displaying the film studios’ copyrighted motion picture images and marketing materials. Customers were charged a subscription fee in exchange for substantial assistance in locating and illegally downloading copies of the member companies’ movies from peer-to-peer networks.
“Consumers need to be on the lookout for these types of Internet scams,” said Malcolm. “Don’t let some movie pirate get you involved in copyright theft – there are plenty of ways to get movies online legally.”
The MPAA and its member companies have a multi-pronged approach to fighting piracy, which includes educating people about the consequences of piracy, taking action against Internet thieves, working with law enforcement authorities around the world to root out pirate operations and working to ensure movies are available legally using advanced technology.
A federal interagency report published in 2004 estimated that counterfeit and pirated goods, including those of copyrighted works, cost the American economy $250 billion a year. The MPAA estimates its member companies lost $3.5 billion last year due to hard goods piracy. A Smith Barney study conducted in 2003 said that the movie industry would lose up to $5.4 billion in 2005 including Internet piracy. Working with law enforcement around the world, the MPAA seized more than 76 million illegal discs last year.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) serves as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries from its offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Its members include: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.; Paramount Pictures; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Universal City Studios, LLP; and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
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For more information, contact:
MPAA Los Angeles
MPAA Washington, D.C.