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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 August 2005, 07:39 GMT 08:39 UK
Movie industry ups piracy battle
Movie download
Illegal downloads are seen as a threat to the film industry
The US movie industry is pursuing its campaign to sue individuals it alleges are illegally downloading films from the internet.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) filed another round of cases, which could lead to fines of $150,000 (84,727) or prison terms.

The MPAA warned there would be no let up in the fight against piracy.

It follows the lead set by the music industry, which went after individuals who illegally swap songs online.

MPAA director for worldwide anti-piracy, John Malcolm, said people needed to learn that piracy was "harmful to the people who use their talents to create movies".

The US Supreme Court recently ruled that peer-to-peer file swapping networks such as Grokster may be accountable for the actions of their customers.

Individuals who copy or distribute a film over the internet are also acting illegally under copyright laws and can be sued for damages.

Mr Malcolm said that while the MPAA did not like suing individuals and spending money on lawyers, it had to continue in its quest to halt the "online distribution of stolen movies".

The industry association claims the film industry lost $3.5bn (1.9bn) in 2004 because of piracy, although this figure does not include losses due to file-sharing.

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