Illegal 'Star Wars' Copies Hit Web

Videos purported to be illegal copies of the final "Star Wars (search)" movie circulated across parts of the Internet on Thursday, the same day the film opened in U.S. theaters.

Congestion from the crush of computer users trying to obtain copies of the film, "Episode III — Revenge of the Sith (search)," meant downloads were taking more than 40 hours even over high-speed Internet connections. It was therefore impossible to verify immediately that the movie actually was circulating or what the copies looked like.

The head of the Motion Picture Association of America (search), Dan Glickman, said reports that the film was available for free online was the latest example of how rampant Internet piracy was costly to Hollywood.

"There is no better example of how theft dims the magic of the movies for everyone than this," Glickman said. "To preserve the quality of movies for fans like these and so many others, we must stop these Internet thieves from illegally trading valuable copyrighted materials online."