October 10, 2003
Hollywood, Florida – Vowing to fight digital piracy and copyright infringement on the Internet, MetroGuide.com, Inc. (MetroGuide) has launched http://stoppiracynow.org (SPN), dedicated to stopping and bringing to justice content and domain name thieves, typosquatters, and those who deploy scumware. The newly-formed company behind the site, Stop Piracy Now, Inc., advocates what it calls ‘digital parity’ in legislation. Digital parity is the recognition that online cybercrime needs to be punished with the same vigor as its offline equivalents.
“Most acts of digital piracy have direct parallels with acts of white collar crime and theft that are both well-understood and policed in the offline world,” observed Mark Metz, MetroGuide founder and CEO. “Yet there is no 911 number you can call to say, ‘Help! Someone just stole a hundred grand worth of my digital content.’ If someone hauled out six-figures worth of CDs from the back of a warehouse, everyone knows that the police would arrive with guns drawn. Yet if someone rips off six figures worth of software or music online, the burden is on the victim to roll the dice in civil court.
My main objective with Stop Piracy Now is to work toward getting piracy recognized by both consumers and legislators as the serious crime it is,” said Metz.
The SPN venture has its origins in affiliated company MetroGuide.com’s stubborn refusal to be a victim of piracy. “After building our content, our site, our relationships and reputation for a decade, and having soared with the dot-com boom and survived the dot-com bust, MetroGuide found itself attacked from every angle by Internet pirates,” said Scott Rogers, Esq., general counsel. “Content created by us was stolen repeatedly. Domain names were stolen, hijacked, even misspelled in an effort to abscond with our customers. With the advent of scumware, entire pages of MetroGuide content were hidden beneath ads paid for by competitors!”
In the cases of content theft, MetroGuide took the offenders to court one after another. “We claimed the defendants that purloined our content used what they took to promote their own websites’ value,” said Rogers. “Since that value was the work product of our staff, not theirs, we demanded transfer of ownership of those websites. The courts have agreed, and many of those infringing sites against which justice has prevailed are now under new ownership. We call it ‘domain disgorgement, and it gets a pirate’s attention.”
MetroGuide has pledged to donate a portion of the profits from the disgorged websites to anti-piracy groups, organizations that support the rights of creative people everywhere to enjoy the fruits of their labors, and other organizations with similar missions.
“The simple truth is, if everything that people produce will be stolen with impunity, most people will just stop producing,” said Metz, emphasizing that Internet piracy is not victimless crime.
The Stop Piracy Now website contains background information on piracy, including an extensive glossary and links to resources about digital piracy. The company maintains a blog, which comments on recent piracy-related events and posts comments, both anti- and pro-piracy from readers.
“We’re fighting for the integrity of the Internet, which is undermined with every act of piracy,” Metz said. “If these acts were committed in a bricks-and-mortar environment, the perpetrators would be jailed and victims would see justice.”
MetroGuide, located at http://metroguide.com, is among the largest Internet providers of global travel information and reservations. Incorporated in 1996 and privately held, MetroGuide’s network of websites attracts more than two million unique visitors monthly to its quarter million plus pages of travel related e commerce sites.
Having financed its venture entirely through internal sales growth and with no outside capital, MetroGuide generates tens of millions of dollars annually in on line reservations through its proprietary database of more than 8,500 restaurants, and 36,000 hotels and destination resorts. MetroGuide stands at the forefront of the battle to combat digital copyright piracy, with multiple recent court awards.
For more information contact Scott Rogers, (954) 981-5850.