Parkville man is accused of piracy

Paramount says he shared movie online

October 08, 2005|By JULIE BELL | JULIE BELL,SUN REPORTER

Paramount Pictures Corp. has filed a federal suit against a Parkville man, saying he violated copyright laws by sharing the Samuel L. Jackson movie Coach Carter over the Internet.

The suit against Tze Ting Ng of the 8000 block of Kings Ridge Road is one of hundreds that Hollywood studios have filed since November against people it says use file-sharing software to swap movies for free.

Though each movie shared might not amount to much of a financial loss to the companies, they estimate that the cumulative losses from pirated and counterfeit goods cost the U.S. economy $250 billion a year.

The suit, filed Sept. 29 in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, asks the court to order Ng to not illegally share movies and to destroy all copies of Paramount movies that the company alleges he has illegally downloaded.

The company also seeks damages, which the Motion Picture Association of America said can run as high as $150,000 for each movie illegally copied or distributed through the Internet, providing that the infringement is found to be willful.

Ng couldn't be reached last night at the Parkville number listed for him. Information in a publicly available database shows that he was born in October 1971, making him about 34 years old.

Studios hit back

Hollywood studios are fighting back as people continue to use downloadable software such as iMesh, eDonkey and Grokster to share files of movies, CDs and other material parked in files on their computers.

The courts have not found the file-sharing software to be illegal, but movie studios and record producers - convinced that they are losing money to pirates - are going after individuals to stop the swapping of copyrighted material.

"We won't stand by while people steal valuable copyrighted material with no regard whatsoever for the law or for the rights of creative people to be paid for their efforts," Dan Glickman, president and chief executive officer of the Motion Picture Association of America, said in a statement.

"With these lawsuits, our message to Internet thieves becomes loud and clear - you are not anonymous, we will find you, and you will be held responsible: You can click but you can't hide."

Hundreds sued

Collectively, the MPAA said, studios have sued several hundred people since November.

While the particular details of how the studio investigated Ng were not available, MPAA spokeswoman Michelle Greeno said the suits generally subpoena records of Internet service providers to ferret out suspects.

Ng was found to have shared Coach Carter using iMesh software, she said.

David J. Davis, an intellectual property attorney at the Chicago office of Baker & McKenzie, said the strategy of suing people to halt movie piracy is a risky one for the industry.

"They're placed in the somewhat uncomfortable position of suing their own customers, or at least potential customers, which isn't the way to build goodwill," Davis said. "They're probably not going to gain a lot of goodwill if they start putting 16-year-old kids in jail for downloading movies."

juliana.bell@baltsun.com

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