Following the lead of the big record labels' trade association, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) said it will also step up antipiracy education efforts, including working closely with colleges to create student "codes of conduct" and taking out newspaper and magazine advertisements.
The group said it isn't ready to file lawsuits against individual movie-swappers, as has the, but that step may not be far off.
"We hope this ramped-up information (and) educational campaign will cause those who are taking films without permission to stop their illegal activity," MPAA Chief Executive Officer Jack Valenti said in a statement. "But we will keep all of our options open, including legal action."
Online movie-trading through peer-to-peer networks such as Kazaa or eDonkey, while never as prevalent as song-swapping, has become more of a concern to studios as broadband Internet connections and DVD burners have moved into the mainstream.
Between 400,000 and 600,000 films are illegally downloaded each day, the MPAA said, quoting industry estimates.
College campuses are ground zero for illegal downloading, becauseto high-speed Internet or LAN (local area network) connections through their school's network. Studios say such activities have cost them billions of dollars and thus have targeted universities to help curb file swapping.
Ads that warn why piracy is illegal and of its impact on the economy will be placed in daily newspapers, consumer magazines and more than 100 college newspapers, the MPAA said.