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Online Piracy

April 13, 2010
Faced with a pandemic of online piracy, Hollywood studios and the major record labels have pressed governments around the world to make it easier for them to enforce their copyrights. In particular, they've tried to shift responsibility for infringements from the individuals who commit them -- who are legion and hard to identify -- to targets that are easier to hit. And gradually, they have been succeeding. The latest example is a hotly disputed British law that sets new rules for digital broadcasting and the Internet.
March 20, 2009 | Todd Martens
The stark realities facing the independent music sector threatened to cast a pall over the hard-partying revelry as the South by Southwest music festival began its second full day Thursday. Executives who gathered for the confab said they were grappling with the same sorts of fallout from the worsening economy and breakdown of traditional business models -- declining album sales, online piracy and rampant layoffs -- that have been afflicting their corporate counterparts for the last decade.
April 7, 2007 | Dawn C. Chmielewski and Marc Lifsher, Times Staff Writers
The music and movie industries are lobbying state legislators for permission to deceive when pursuing suspected pirates. The California Senate is considering a bill that would strengthen state privacy laws by banning the use of false statements and other misleading practices to get personal information. The tactic, known as pretexting, created a firestorm of criticism when detectives hired by Hewlett-Packard Co. used it last year to obtain phone records of board members, journalists and critics.
July 28, 2006 | Dawn C. Chmielewski and Charles Duhigg, Times Staff Writers
Record labels and movie studios won their long fight against one of the most notorious networks for online piracy Thursday, but the deal is unlikely to slow the worldwide trade in bootlegged songs, movies and television shows. The entertainment industry's settlement with the operator of Kazaa was hailed as a milestone because it ends an era in which backers of file-sharing networks could make millions of dollars luring people to their services with pirated goods.
January 27, 2006 | From Bloomberg News
Ten men were charged with violating federal copyright laws as part of an investigation into online piracy of movies, games, software and music, federal prosecutors said. The men from eight states were charged in San Jose as part of an investigation called Operation Copycat, the U.S. attorney's office in San Francisco said. The probe targeted "warez" groups -- the first sources for pirated entertainment distributed online. The 10 men will be formally charged Feb.
July 1, 2005 | Jon Healey, Times Staff Writer
Law enforcement officials in 11 countries swooped in on more than 20 groups accused of being key suppliers of pirated goods online, arresting four people and seizing computers stuffed with bootlegged movies, games and software. The Wednesday raids, dubbed "Operation Site Down" by the U.S. Department of Justice, targeted high-level "warez" groups, the secretive online communities that obtain and distribute pirated computer programs and other digital goods.
June 28, 2005 | Jon Healey and David G. Savage, Times Staff Writers
The Supreme Court gave the entertainment industry a new legal weapon against Internet piracy Monday, ruling that companies that actively encourage people to download free copies of music or movies can be held liable for their users' illegal acts. The unanimous ruling sets a new standard for distinguishing legitimate innovators from those who deliberately profit from online bootlegging. This guideline is a landmark for copyrights in the Internet era.
May 13, 2005 | Jon Healey
The Motion Picture Assn. of America escalated its battle against online piracy, filing lawsuits against six websites that allegedly helped people download bootlegged TV shows. The studios' trade group claimed that the sites enabled users of BitTorrent software, a popular file-sharing program, to find and copy TV shows and other copyrighted works. Five of the sites were registered in the United States and the sixth, which specialized in Spanish-language programming, was registered in Spain.
November 24, 2004 | Jon Healey
A federal judge in Los Angeles has ordered Malaysian businessman Tan Soo Leong and his California-based company, MasterSurf Inc., to pay $23.8 million to the major Hollywood studios for online piracy. Without the studios' permission, Leong operated a website,, that let users watch hundreds of hit movies and classic television programs online for $1 per viewing.
November 17, 2004 | Jon Healey, Times Staff Writer
Hollywood studios sued more than 200 alleged online movie pirates Tuesday, seeking damages of up to $150,000 for each film offered or downloaded on file-sharing networks. The Motion Picture Assn. of America disclosed few details about the suits, which were the first such actions by the industry. The suits were brought against "John Does" across the country. Some defendants were accused of sharing only one film. "There is no kind of a safe harbor for illegal conduct," said John G.
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