MPAA Targets MovieTube Websites in New Piracy Lawsuit

Legal action calls for ad service providers, social media services and others to stop facilitating websites streaming movies still in theaters.
The MovieTube brand name, according to the MPAA complaint, is being used by defendants to provide on-demand streaming.

The Motion Picture Association of America has a new legal target. On Friday, its members filed a lawsuit in New York against the operators of various MovieTube websites.

Asserting both copyright and trademark claims, Paramount, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, Universal and Disney begin their newest legal campaign without a specific idea who they are suing. The complaint is filed against John and Jane Does as well as XYZ Corporations.

But the complaint asserts that the defendants are providing on-demand streaming under the brand name MovieTube and purposely concealing their identities by hiding behind proxy registration surrogates. But if a Facebook page that's being cited is to be believed, the pirate sites operate oversees and are flaunting this.

"Since many movies we linked are pirated movies, we understand you may have this concern," one of the defendants is said to have posted on Facebook. "Our website linked those movies, so have partial responsibility called 'Copyright Infringement' according US law. Luckily we are not a US company so we do not need to respect US laws.”

Earlier this year, one MovieTube site posted Disney's Avengers: Age of Ultron ahead of its release in the United States.

Hollywood studios are taking note of the sites streaming new films. The defendants allegedly use "meta-tags and keywords designed to maximize the MovieTube Websites’ visibility and priority in search results from Internet search engines."

The relief requested could be what's worth watching closely in this action.

Among other demands, the studio giants are demanding that "third parties providing services used in connection with any of the MovieTube Websites and/or domain names for MovieTube Websites, including without limitation, web hosting providers, cloud services providers, digital advertising service providers, search-based online advertising services (such as through paid inclusion, paid search results, sponsored search results, sponsored links, and Internet keyword advertising), domain name registration privacy protection services, providers of social media services (e.g., Facebook and Twitter), and user generated and online content services (e.g., YouTube, Flickr and Tumblr) be required to cease or disable providing such services to (i) Defendants in relation to Infringing Copies or infringement of Plaintiffs’ Marks; and/or (ii) any and all of the MovieTube Websites."

Attorneys from the MPAA and Davis Wright Tremaine are handling the litigation. Here's the full complaint.

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