Gone is the day when it was just mp3s being illegally traded over the Internet; its movies too now, and has been for some time. Since someone first ripped that DVD of "The Matrix" and posted it on IRC, or whatever, trading of full blown movies has exploded in popularity. If you think about it, its really not hard to believe - a rip of a 1.5 hour movie from a DVD is about 700 MB, which poses little challenge to the kinds of home broadband connections that exist in abundance these days. And like the mp3s before them, it was only a matter of time before their owners struck back.

"Hollywood's top studios tried to knock the wind out of the sails of Internet movie pirates yesterday, filing the first wave of lawsuits against people they say are illegally sharing online copies of films."

What kinds of potential penalties are we talking about? Well, as much as $30,000 for each movie traded over the Internet is not out of the question, as well as $150,000 if the infringement is proved to be wilful. And it doesn't take a genius to work out whether it’s wilful or not when your bit torrent site is called torrentmovies.com or something. Expect to hear more about this.