A Taiwanese attempt to run an online video on demand service without the permission of the Hollywood film studios has been shut down.
Dubbed a "pirate" site by Hollywood, Movie88.com offered access to a huge library of films for just $1 each.
The site's owners claimed that they were complying with Taiwanese laws, but the country's authorities helped to close the site down, according to the Motion Picture Association (MPA), an international trade group representing the interests of the film industry.
"Internet piracy is a crime with a global reach affecting every creator and copyright owner, consumer and the economy. We cannot afford to regard this form of piracy casually," said Jack Valenti, chief executive at the MPA.
But the movie site maintained that it had not heard from Taiwanese authorities, or received any court documents, and had simply been taken offline without warning by its Taiwanese internet service provider (ISP), HiNet.
In an email to financial journalists, Movie88's operators claimed that the moves were tantamount to execution without trial and an absolute abuse by the ISP.
A Movie88 statement said: "As a result, thousands of registered users who have paid some money to rent movies are stranded.
"We are now doing whatever we can to restore our access and protest against the outrageous act of HiNet. This must not be a precedent. Even if there are issues about our content, we must be given a fair trial."
Movie88 had posed an unexpected threat to the Hollywood studios' own video on demand services such as Movielink and Movies.com, which are still months away from a commercial service.
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