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Hollywood targets apps that use copyrighted movie content without permission

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The war against pirated material has been going on for ages, starting with music, then moving on to television and movies. Now, according to Reuters, Hollywood studios has set its eyes on their newest target: mobile apps that use and distribute unlicensed content from movies and television.

It’s not a tremendous surprise. The app industry is expanding exponentially, and by the end of this year, its value is expected to soar to an astounding $20 billion, up from $12 billion last year. Hollywood isn’t just going to sit by and lose profits to developers using its property without paying a licensing fee.

So far, New Corp’s Twentieth Century Fox, Sony Corp, Walt Disney Co’s Marvel unit, and Viacom’s Paramount are among the major studios that have filed complaints. Response to these complaints, particularly ones made to Google, has been nearly immediate. The corporate giant won’t comment on the particulars of the violations that have been made, but said that they review each complaint, and in the event of an infringement, the app is removed and the developer is contacted.

Apple also won’t comment and any specifics, but assures that it carefully vets each app before they make their way into the store. Though that doesn’t mean some don’t slip by. IP Lasso, a company that helps protect brands against fraudulent use of their content, said that, of 100 apps it surveyed that mentioned either the Academy Awards or the Oscars, 90 percent of them were available in either the Google Play or Apple stores. And those apps all contained potentially unlicensed content.

Not only is Hollywood going after apps with unlicensed content within them, but also apps that link off to off-app sites offering pirated material.

The war against pirated material is far from being over, if it ever will be. Every time corporations find a way to shut down one method, another quickly opens up.

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Joshua Pramis
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