MPAA tries gentler approach with pirates

— 11:51 AM on December 26, 2003

It looks like the MPAA is taking a kinder, gentler approach to combating online movie piracy than its musical counterpart, the RIAA. Rather than threatening movie pirates with immediate legal action, the MPAA is sending out a different kind of letter:

Jeff, who lives in New York and discussed his situation only on the condition that his full name not be used, received a letter from his cable company explaining that New Line Cinema had found a copy of "Freddy vs. Jason" available for sharing through his Internet account. The letter noted that the movie industry did not know his identity but could go to court to discover it and might eventually sue him. "It gave me a little scare," he said.
That the MPAA might eventually sue movie traders is hardly sensational enough for mainstream media coverage, so only those who are contacted directly might get that "little scare." However, the warning letters are only a small part of a larger strategy that has the MPAA backing education programs, technology research, and government lobbying.

I've seen a few of the MPAA's anti-piracy messages at the beginning of movies, and judging by the giggling in the audience, I have to question how many will take the industry's education efforts seriously. With any new copy protection technology prone to a seemingly inevitable exploit, lawyering may soon become the MPAA's only viable weapon against piracy.

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