MPAA Warning Greets Torrent Seekers

"You can click, but you can't hide," reads the message on the front page of LokiTorrent, ordered Thursday by Dallas Federal Court to immediately shut down. The warning rings especially true now that the Motion Picture Association of America has won a key court victory that allowed it access to LokiTorrent's visitor logs.

LokiTorrent, like many now-defunct BitTorrent Web sites, offered links to torrent files that are used to download and share illicit content. One of the most popular BitTorrent houses, SuprNova, recently went underground and launched a decentralized client called eXeem for accessing torrent downloads.

BitTorrent itself is a communications protocol that is commonly used to facilitate the distribution of very large files. However, it was not uncommon for these particular files to be copyrighted music, movies and television programming.

After successfully shutting down numerous BitTorrent sites, the MPAA touted its newfound access to the server logs.

"This should give us information about LokiTorrent visitors who were involved in flagrant piracy of filmed entertainment," said John Malcom, director of worldwide piracy operations for the MPAA. "We are going to look at all the information...and decide what the appropriate action is to take."

The MPAA said the information may possibly lead to suits against individuals, but the organization has not decided whether that is the route they'd like to take.

For its part, LokiTorrent said it had raised as much as $30,000 for court costs and legal representation to fight Hollywood. As one of the biggest sites, it received special attention by Hollywood lawyers.

It is unclear whether the MPAA will ever be able to completely stop online piracy as P2P developers continue to find new ways to decentralize the system giving users more confidentiality in what they are doing online.

However, the MPAA is determined to stop illicit file sharing. "Illegally downloading movies from sites such as these without proper authorization violates the law, is theft, and is not anonymous," the warning threatens. "Stealing movies leaves a trail. The only way not to get caught is to stop."

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