The MPAA Takes On Alleged Chinese Content Pirates

By January 20, 2015
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For a long time now, one of the most vigorous and unrelenting pursuers of anti-piracy laws in the United States has been the Motion Picture Association of America, and their efforts in that pursuit are pretty plain to see for anyone that goes to the theater to see a movie, or for anyone that watches movies on home media formats. It’s not uncommon to see an ad or two warning of the severe legal consequences to anyone found circulating movies illegally, and that’s including the FBI warning against the same behavior that also appears before you get to a DVD or Blu-ray’s main menu.

Within the country, the efforts of the MPAA and federal law enforcement have questionable effectiveness, especially considering that a great deal of internet piracy in everything from movies to software programs seems to come from a place pretty far from the MPAA’s reach: China. Now, though, the organization has renewed its efforts to combat piracy of American intellectual property that has originated from China. According to a piece from The Hollywood Reporter, the MPAA has filed suit against Xunlei, a video and music file sharing network apparently backed, at least in part, by Google. The suit, filed in Nanshan District Court in China, seeks for the service to immediately stop its infringing activity, pay damages to the MPAA, and issue a formal and public apology for the alleged behavior.

Mike Ellis, the MPAA’s Asia-Pacific chief, issued the following statement on the suit:

A healthy, sustainable and developing online video sector will greatly benefit audiences and movie and technology businesses, however this outcome is only possible if quality film and television content is respected and protected at every stage of the value chain. For too long we have witnessed valuable creative content being taken and monetized without the permission of the copyright owner. That has to stop and stop now. Content creators and rights holders will continue to exercise their rights under the law to protect their work and consequentially be able to provide the best possible experience for online audiences.

This isn’t the first legal hurdle that Xunlei has faced because of its alleged connection with piracy. Last year, the service agreed to implement new comprehensive system protocols that would supposedly prevent MPAA-protected media from unauthorized downloading. In 2011, it was forced to stop an initial public offering (or IPO) to the Asian stock market because of its links with piracy, and in 2008 it was sued by several movie studios for their continued allowance of illegal piracy for copyrighted works. While it reached an agreement with the MPAA, recently the organization has become unhappy with Xunlei’s supposedly more stringent protection of heir copyrighted works, which ultimately led to this latest suit.

For more on this story as it develops, keep an eye on GeekNation!

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Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation, Batman-On-Film.com, The Huffington Post, and Movies.com. He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.