Hollywood movie studios on Wednesday sued three Internet websites at a Los Angeles court, accusing them of helping to facilitate online movie piracy.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which represents six major Hollywood studios, filed the suit against campusist.com, movies-on-demand.tv and sswarez.com, seeking unspecified damages and the removal of the websites from the Internet.
According to MPAA, movies being offered at the websites include those recently released in theaters, like "Gran Torino," "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and "Twilight."
The three websites, which rely on advertisers to maintain their operations, don't host movies themselves but point viewers to sites where illegal downloads of copyrighted films and TV shows are available. They attract a total of 54,000 unique visitors every day.
John Malcolm, MPAA's director of worldwide anti-piracy operations, said that the movie industry trade group had every intention of continuing to shut down these sites.
"The people who are operating these sites are profiting from the theft of protected content," he said.
MPAA has filed lawsuits against nine other similar websites over movie piracy since June 2007. A Los Angeles judge earlier this year awarded multimillion-dollar judgments against showstash.com and cinematube.com for infringement of copyrighted movies and TV shows.
According to MPAA, the worldwide movie and TV industry loses about 18 billion dollars every year as a result of piracy, about 7billion dollars of which is attributed to Internet piracy.