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Pirates 'Snatch' top movies on the Web

(CNN) -- The newest flick from British moviemaker Guy Richie, "Snatch," earned the dubious distinction of being the most-pirated movie on the Internet, according to a survey released this week.

The movie, a saga about gangster life in London, and nine other films were downloaded to one million or more computers around the world in June, a New York-based anti-piracy firm said.

Other hot movies in the hands of digital thieves include "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," "Pearl Harbor" and "Shrek," all current box office hits.

"The availability of first-run films on the Internet shows that the threat to the motion picture industry of digital piracy is very real," said MediaForce CEO Aaron Fessler.

The Motion Picture Association of America estimates that video piracy, including crude video copies, costs studios more than $2 billion a year, although the exact amount remains unknown.

Conventional means to bootleg

After "Snatch," the top 10 movies based on the frequency of illegal downloads in June were, according to MediaForce, "Pearl Harbor," "Traffic," "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," "Shrek," "The Matrix," "Gone in 60 Seconds," "Hannibal," "Gladiator" and "X-Men."

MediaForce said its service can scan the Internet continuously to identify Web sites, news groups and peer-to-peer networks such as Aimster or Gnutella that host pirated movies. Internet pirates currently resort to conventional means to bootleg movies -- they go into theaters and secretly videotape them.

The tape is then stored in a personal computer, using software to squeeze it into a format tiny enough to fit on CD. Pirates can then share the movies the same way song-swappers do, by exchanging files on Internet services such as Napster.

• Mediaforce

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