Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures and other studios were awarded $110.9 million by a U.S. judge in a case over pirated films distributed through the Dutch file- sharing Web site TorrentSpy.com, Bloomberg News reports.
U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper in Los Angeles issued the judgment on May 5, about five months after TorrentSpy owner Valence Media Ltd. was found liable for infringing 3,699 copyrights for movies and television shows. The site shut down on March 24.
The studios, including Sony Corp.'s Columbia Pictures and Walt Disney Co., are cracking down on file-sharing sites as Web piracy costs the industry $7 billion a year in lost revenue, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. The group sued TorrentSpy and founder Justin Bunnell in February 2006, claiming the site let users download and store pirated films.
The ruling ``demonstrates that such pirate sites will not be allowed to continue to operate without facing relentless litigation by copyright holders,'' MPAA Chairman Dan Glickman said today in a statement.
TorrentSpy failed to convince Cooper that the site was no different than a search engine and that it wasn't liable for the way people used it. Ira Rothken, TorrentSpy's lawyer, didn't immediately return a call for comment.
Cinematube.net, a site operated by Georgia resident Tien ``Timothy'' Tran, agreed this month to pay $1.38 million to MPAA members and admitted violating copyrights as part of a settlement with the MPAA.
Last month, the MPAA sued Pullmylink.com, calling the site a ``one-stop shop'' for copyright infringement. In February, the group filed a similar suit in China, accusing Shenzhen Xunlei Network Technology Ltd., an operator of file-sharing networks, of enabling piracy of movies including ``Spider-Man 3.''
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