Studios To Sue Online Movie Swappers

(antiTainment) The film industry seems to be following the example of the music business in battling online piracy. On Thursday, Dan Glickman, president and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, unveiled a plan to start filing lawsuits against people that swap illegal copies of movies online. 

Glickman revealed the plan during a press conference at UCLA. The MPAA, the trade group that represents the major film studios, is similar to the music business trade group (RIAA) that has battled piracy by suing individual file swappers since September of 2003.  Glickman told reporters that the MPAA will begin filing lawsuits against online pirates in the next few weeks. 

In a little over a year, the RIAA has sued more than 6000 people for illegally trading music online. Most of those cases are settled with the offenders paying the trade organization a settlement fee between $2000 and $15000 each. 

Because the losses for films are potentially much higher than music when they are pirated, it is conceivable that the lawsuits will seek much larger damages or settlements. That issue has not been publicly discussed by the MPAA at this point. 

One big departure for the MPAA however will be that anyone that trades movies online may be a target, instead of the RIAA model of going after people that offer large libraries of illegal music files. Glickman told USA Today in an interview that "Anybody who uses the technology to steal our property may be targeted. We want to get across the point that people are not anonymous on the Internet. "

Glickman, the former Secretary of Agriculture, took over the post as head of the MPAA two months ago. The industry on a whole does not appear to be suffering the same losses as the music business. However, Glickman told USA Today that he believes the film industry loses $3.5 billion annually because of piracy. 

Want More?: Click here to read the USA Today interview with Glickman.