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Last Updated: Friday, 9 May 2008, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
Studios seek $15m Pirate Bay damages
By Jim Reed
Newsbeat technology reporter

The Pirate Bay logo
The Pirate Bay says it has 10 million users online at any one time

Hollywood movie studios are demanding $15.4m (7.9m) in damages from one of the world's most popular file-sharing websites.

The Motion Picture Association of America has filed the claim against Swedish website, The Pirate Bay, which lets users swap files using the BitTorrent network.

The claim is connected to a criminal prosecution brought in January against the co-founders of The Pirate Bay, Peter Sunde, Gottfrid Svartholm Varg, Carl Lundstrom and Frederik Neij.

All have been charged with conspiracy to break copyright law in Sweden.

Five "specimen" titles - the films Syriana, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Pink Panther, Walk the Line, and television series Prison Break - are named in the legal documents.

Prosecutor Hakan Roswall said The Pirate Bay was commercially exploiting protected work because it was financed through advertising revenues.

A trial date has not been formally set but is expected some time in September.

Grey area

The Pirate Bay's Peter Sunde told Newsbeat: "They want it [the demand] to sound like a big number to make people scared of file sharing."

I do wonder when this will end
Peter Sunde
The Pirate Bay

He added: "I do wonder when this will end."

The Pirate Bay claims to be the biggest site of its type in the world and says that it has 10 million users online at any one time and a million different files available.

Web research company Alexa rates it as the 102nd most popular website in the world - beating sites like Bebo, Dell and Reuters.

The site operates in a legal grey area.

It does not store copyrighted material but acts as a search engine pointing at video, music and software files stored on computers of users.



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