Movie2K Offline: MPAA Confirms Multi-Year Effort By Studios To Stop Film Distribution On Pirate Site; Investigation Underway In Germany

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The Motion Picture Association of American, or MPAA, scored a big victory last week after six of the UK’s top Internet Service Providers blocked access to the streaming-movie portal Movie2k. The MPAA confirmed that the pirate site has been down since May 21, following an order by the UK High Court last month.

Movie2K could soon find itself in legal trouble again, this time with German authorities, who have begun an investigation into the site’s illegal activities. So far, UK ISPs BT, Sky, Virgin Media, EE, TalkTalk and O2 are blocking access to Movie2K.

“Movie2K provides access to a wide variety of content, including films and TV programs, without permission, and has failed to remove the copyrighted material despite requests from rights holders,” said Kate Bedingfield, the MPAA’ vice president of corporate communications in an email. “The Court ruled that blocking is appropriate and proportionate in the circumstances.”

The motion picture and television industry in America supplied approximately 2.2 million jobs and paid more than $137 billion in total wages in 2009 nationally. More than 272,000 of those jobs were part of the business of producing, marketing, manufacturing and distributing motion pictures and television shows. There were about another 430,000 jobs  in related businesses like movie theaters, video retail and rental, and other legal online operations, according to the MPAA.

The association stated in a letter to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative in 2011 that copyright infringement affects all workers in the industry and their families. This is because piracy leads to reduced income, job loss and a reduction in benefits such as health and retirement, the MPAA wrote. For years, the U.S. government and others have been working to crack down on illegal movie-streaming websites, and have sought help from the MPAA in identifying such sites.

“The criminals who profit from the most notorious markets throughout the world threaten the very heart of our industry, and in doing so they threaten the livelihoods of the people who give it life,” wrote Michael P. O’Leary, the MPAA’s senior executive vice president of global policy and external affairs. “These markets do not represent a problem that lies on the far horizon, they are here now and they are here in volume.”

In that same letter, O’Leary listed dozens of websites that illegally host or link to others that provide illegal access to movies and TV shows. Among those sites were Movie2k, which the association said was generating more than 723,000 monthly unique viewers at the time.

What’s Next For Movie2K?

Movie2K users in Germany may also experience problems with the illegal site soon. According to Bedingfield, the German Society for the Prosecution of Copyright Infringement has communicated with the local authorities about the streaming portal’s “criminal activities.”

“It is possible that the site operators have voluntarily taken the site off-line or that they have been compelled to do so by German authorities,” Bedingfield said. “We welcome the fact that the site now appears to have been taken off-line.”

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