Three film studios have sued four Ohio residents to stop them from illegally sharing movies online, part of a string of similar lawsuits filed around the country in recent years.
The Ohio residents have distributed the films "Hitch," "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" and "Good Night and Good Luck," among others, according to the lawsuits filed Thursday in U.S. District Court by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc. and two subsidiaries of Sony Pictures -- Columbia Pictures Industries Inc. and Screen Gems Inc.
The movie studios have been somewhat more creative in their approach to the problem, said Corynne McSherry, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based nonprofit and online free-speech advocate.
But the film industry's lawsuits are still a big club to use against individuals and aren't all that successful in addressing the overall problem, McSherry said.
"It's thousands of people who are essentially being terrorized and intimidated," she said. "Paying lawyers a lot of money to sue your potential customers is a really bad approach to growing your business."