Seven film studios, including Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner's Warner Brothers, asked a Manhattan federal court to shut down "MovieTube," an online service that they accuse of brazenly violating their copyrights.
In a suit filed July 24 against dozens of unnamed people and companies, the studios say the defendants are behind 29 websites gathered under the "MovieTube" name that stream pirated copies of films and TV shows.
According to court papers, a notice on a Facebook page affiliated with MovieTube acknowledges that the streaming constitutes piracy and adds "luckily we are not a U.S. company so we do not need to respect U.S. laws."
MovieTube, which bills itself as "the search engine for free movies," posted a notice on Facebook July 11 saying: "In case MovieTube is blocked by your broadband provider, we will release a new domain every month."
The studios say that all content available to users through the MovieTube websites is "selected, aggregated, organized, streamed and made available for viewing" solely by the websites' operators.
MovieTube also uses Twitter to promote the sites, according to the complaint.
The MovieTube websites make their money by carrying ads, the studios said. They accuse the defendants of both copyright and trademark infringement.
The studios asked the court to issue an order to shut down the websites. The filmmakers also want the MovieTube domain names transferred to them.
Any third parties providing services to MovieTube, including social media sites, should be required to stop, the studios said.
Additionally, the studios are seeking damages of $150,000 for each work whose copyright is infringed, and $2 million for each infringed trademark.
An attempt to reach MovieTube for comment through its Facebook page wasn't successful.
~ Bloomberg News ~